Vandercook 32-28E

Out of the blue I happened on a 32-28E Vandy in an old run down building. Looks mostly complete but it looks to be set up for a different kind of plate not the standard type high of a Universal III or other sought after Vandy for letterpress printing.

Is this a press that can do normal type high with removal of whatever is on the bed? It does not seem to have a bar at the roller end for lock up. Just 4 points sticking up that I would assume be used for a punched plate like offset.

If any one had info other than what is up on the Vandercook site in the model section giving the description I would greatly appreciate it!



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Hey Cody,
That’s a great press. It probably just has a base sitting on the bed. You could certainly take it off. You’ll probably need a dead bar to close off the form area at the foot of the bed.

Get some pictures!

This is the one at Peter Koch’s shop.

Also speak to Casey McGarr- he has one too.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY


Thanks for the info!

One I saw I think is missing the feed board. Everything else looks intact. Also found out they might have a Vandy Univ-3 that they may think about letting go of. here are a couple of pics.

That totally didn’t attach the pic! Let me try something else!

hope that works! I Don’t think the Vandy 3 had a feed board either! Almost like the presses were modified in a way for special printing.

The company that used them did some printing of labels and corrogate boxes 30 years ago. now they just sit in a corner.

These presses need to be saved! The feed boards are no big deal really- I can take measurements off my Uni III and I’m sure Casey would measure his on the 32-28 if necessary. The Uni III is nicer than one I have and use every day.

They might be sitting there somewhere though- just taken off to make space.


I agree on saving them! They are unfortunately not in my immediate area here in KC but I may be back out to where they are in a few weeks and will try and do some dealing then to see what type of numbers they are asking for them. I will have to e-mail Casey in a few days to see what he thinks about his 32-38.

Thanks for the response Dan! I appreciate your input.

So what’s happened with all this? Are you taking those presses (Plural)? If not, will you be letting anyone know where they are? I may be interested in a Uni-III- it’s pretty much my dream press.


Mark - unless your interested in purchasing the whole building you will just have to wait to hear how things go.

Hi Cody, do you mean all the contents or the “brick and mortar” building with all contents?


Love to give you more info but they are not in a rush and I already have some plans brewing.


The handle that lowers the rollers down onto the inking cylinder is broke, really important you get that fixed.

The press usually came with a chase that sat in the bed of the press, no lock up bar. You would lock up inside the chase. It took a lot of furniture to lock up forms when I had mine.

The 32-28 I had also came with two bases that I kept because they are perfect for imposing type in smaller chases, and for mounting photopolymer.

Look underneath and make sure the chain drive is on the big gear. If it’s there then put on some leather gloves and see if you can pull that big arse chain. You will notice there are many oiling points underneath the press for the gearing assembly.

Also, check the roller assembly and see if each side is consistent with each other (knobs, screws, etc.)

Fritz has a schematic for this press that will help you.

The motor in the back rear is probably a 3 phase, see if you can pull the belt if it has a belt.

It weights about 4500 lbs.

Look at the opposite side of the operator, this is where the motor that runs the ink cylinder by a chain, see if it turns.

Call me if you need to discuss anything, I printed on mine for 4 years and know the press pretty well.

Casey McGarr
Inky Lips Letterpress
McKinney, TX

One more thing. I replaced my 32-28 with a Universal lll and it was the best move ever. I loved the 32-28 but it was too big and took a lot of ink, type, furniture, etc… Just trying to find a place to dry the big ole sheets was a hassle. Okay, not trying to neg you out. It’s a great find. Good luck.

cool thanks! This may be an acquisition that could take till the end of the summer. Hopefully not, but should include the Universal 3 that is tucked back in the building as well.

I totally agree with the space required for drying prints!!! The ones I do on my sign press with my 18 x 24 blocks took some creative space management to dry them all so they did not touch. Even then they did bump each other and offset a bit.

Pulling up some OLD stuff! Well here is an update…

I FINALLY was able to talk with the owner. For being a “small town” people sure don’t know their neighbors. I finally got a real estate agent to call the owner (the place is still for sale) and see if he would be willing to sell the presses.

Press 1: Vandercook Universal III
Looks to be in excellent condition. Only seems to be missing the feedboard. One form roller is abused on each end about 1.5 inches in. Rolls down the bed on trip fine. Dirty but usable. Has frisket roller up top but no feed board. No biggy I can make one of those. Was hard wired in so no available plug to test the unit. It also had the adjustable bed! A definite keeper in my book. I should be discussing price with him on this press this Monday hopefully.

Press 2: Vandercook 28-32E Seems to have all the pieces including feed board. Rollers look good. Handle to drop the rollers is broke but there thankfully. Reasonable clean but no way to test it for power because it needs 3-phase. The guy showing it to me said he thought it was only 2-phase but did not know. I will discussing the price with him on this press as well on Monday.

With the press being so LARGE I don’t think I will keep this one even though I would REALLY like to. I have poster ideas that this would be perfect for!! So this one might be the flip press to cover any parts that the Vandy-Uni-III would need.

There are some extras there too that I am going to negotiate for. 2 Hamilton cabinets with ALL matching drawers. They are empty. About 10 drawers of wood type, some looks unused. A cabinet of metal furniture that would be most useful also.

Cross your fingers! I need some good juju to get a good price on all of this treasure!

Hope your patience will be rewarded. Reading the 2-year old string on this is a tease to the rest of us tresure-hunters! Good luck!

emthree - thanks. I plan on making my offer on Monday. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about these gems.

It’s gonna be a long weekend! Fingers crossed for you, Cody.

Just wanted to say I know what it’s like staying awake thinking about whether or not you will actually get your press. Good luck and keep us posted!

It is official, they are both mine. I am going to make some custom dollies so I can roll them out of the space and onto my trailer in one piece. Feed boards are already off. I hope to have them moved by the 10th of June.

They didn’t want to sell the type cabinets though. Wish they would have!

Hi - I have a 32x28 and know most of the bunch that own the others, Peter, Tracy, and also the press at Colorado College. Peter Kruty used to have one in Brooklyn… The larger the cylinder on a vandercook , the more “forgiving” it is on impression…so this one is very tolerant of used type, imperfect packing, and variance in “type-high” stuff….I have had mine and printed on it for 25 years..There are those on this website that will tell you they know more about this press but, honestly, I doubt it. I machined a steel bed to Box Car specs and have been running photopolymer, wood type, woodcuts, and handset on this press. I also made a plate to run plate lithos and that worked beautifully. There are two versions of the press.. one version has electronic switches that change the direction of the cylinder movement and the other has a chain drive that cycles around and around..the weakness of the electronic version is the switches corrode and need to be replaced…the weakness of the chain drive is that the master link of the chain can’t really stand the stress and needs constant supervision. I have specs and instructions. Ke Francis

Ke Francis Thanks for the info! I will send you an email once I get it home. This one has the huge chain underneath. I don’t know if that is what you are referring to chain drive or not. I would love any specs and instructions that you have on this monster!

It may take a few weeks to get it out of the building that I bought it from due to our recent tornado here in Joplin, MO. The building my presses are in were not hurt but the streets around it will take some time to get cleaned up.

I am trying to get the presses out of the building on the 10th of this month. I dropped off the payment today and measured the 32-28E’s feet so I can make the dollies support the big press correctly.

The Universal III will be loaded with their forklift and unloaded with a neighbors tractor at the house.

We dug around the building and found most of the pieces for both presses. Turns out I have a feedboard for the Universal III and an extra roller in the cabinet underneath! Can’t believe it! I might not need anything for this press to get it running!

Well the Universal III is safely home and I wired it up last night for a test. Motors are working fine and it travels smoothly and quietly under its own power. I am missing the lock up bar and the shaft for adjustable bed. It could use a couple new form rollers if I want to print at max size.

32-28E is safely in storage. All the pieces appear to be present except for a cover plate on the carriage control. It does have a broken handle that drops the steel rollers but will weld up easily. I will try and do a test for the motor this Saturday by wiring it to my 220 portable generator. This press is larger than I expected. I will probably be selling it once I get the motors tested and some video footage taken of it running.

Its Fancy,

I purchased a Dead Bar and Foot Bar from Fritz at NA graphics for my Uni lll, the Foot Bar has ears on each end that fits into the notches below the gear track at the end of the press bed. Instead of a lock up bar the Foot Bar becomes stationary thus using your furniture and quoins for lock up.

Inky Lips Letterpress

image: FootBar.jpg



Thanks for your post! Too many years with a C&P. I am just getting caught up in the wonderful world of Vandercook.

I have a TON of new (to me) metal Challenge furniture that I picked up with the presses so a Dead Bar and Foot Bar would be a great solution.