Purchasing My First Press


I am in the market for my first press and have found one that looks promising. It’s an 8x12 Old Style Chandler & Price press. When I asked the seller if it was motorized or treadle operated he said it was manual which I assumed meant there was a treadle.

After looking at the picture I can’t see the treadle. I am a complete rookie but I thought the treadle operated presses had a “pedal” located near the floor? If the press wasn’t motorized it would definitely come with a treadle, correct? Perhaps it’s just missing…how expensive and difficult would it be to replace one?

Any advice is appreciated…I’ve attached a picture.

image: c6f1_1.jpg


Log in to reply   9 replies so far

A new treadle for you press can be sourced from Hern Ironworks.

See that gear sitting on the right skid under the press? Someone had the main shaft and flywheel off the press recently and hasn’t put it back together properly. Make sure the woodruff key is present. It could be that they have the treadle there too. It can’t hurt to ask!

If not, you need the treadle, the hook and the hinge pin. You’re looking at $135 plus crating and shipping.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

And if the main shaft has been out, better check just to be sure that it has the “crank” in it for the treadle hook - there’s a small chance it may have been replaced with a straight shaft, which won’t work with a treadle. Whereabouts are you (or, rather, the press)? Perhaps you can find someone more experienced, relatively local, to look over the press for you.

Dave Robison, San Jose Printers’ Guild

You can’t go too far wrong with a C&P OS 8x12, assuming the parts are all there. Even then it’s possible to replace most parts…there’s a lot of them still out there. It’s capable of doing lots of nice printing.

One thing to check for excessive wear. Open the press up and grab the platen solidly with arms and hands, then give the platen a vigorous shake to see if anything is loose. Ideally it won’t budge. If it does that indicates a lot of wear (probably from poor lubrication) You can live with a little movement, I have happily for 10 years or so, but a lot of movement and associated clunking noises indicate a pass. I was lucky my 8x12 OS came with both treadle and split ink table.

wow beautiful press!!! it looks new

Thanks for all the input…very helpful! I am located in Dallas but the press is in Ohio unfortunately. I’m pretty nervous buying something without seeing it in person. I’m excited and ready to get started but also don’t want to get in over my head!

Best to see it in person or ask someone nearby to take a look. You should be able to find one in your area; they’re not uncommon.

Then again if it is a bargain it might be worth the risk of paying for shipping. It does look like a clean press. Shipping, if you’re not planning on picking it up yourself, will be pricey.

I’m surprised that no one has commented on the big No No in the photo. You should never leave the rollers on the press and never on the ink disk. This will flat spot the rollers and lead to all sorts of inking problems. If you must leave the rollers on the press for a short time then roll them to the bottom.

I ask the seller if the press work an this is what he toll me..
“Can’t say for sure. The mechanics work. Nothing in the way of refurbishing has been done. I imagine it would need new rollers. I wouldn’t know how to refurbish it, or go about getting rollers. But, I suspect there are people that could get it up and working.”
- srhosu -

Hmm, the fact that the seller doesn’t know much about it concerns me too. I expected that new rollers would be required because he said it has been sitting for 20 years but I’m afraid there could be other issues that my beginner-level skills wouldn’t be able to address. I think I better pass on this one.