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I’m not sure I understand the greedy usage here. Maybe you mean that you’re uninformed and would like further information before the purchase of a base?

You have received good advise from Boxcar and Elum. They both are very knowledgeable.

Make sure you have room for quoins and dead space to avoid hitting the “gauge pins” not paper grippers unless your using an automatic press.

What about the jobs you don’t set with crop marks, will you still use the base?


Gauge pins are the issue as Casey has mentioned.
I occasionally print 6x9 linoleum cuts on my 6.5 x 10 Craftsmen Superior press. One of the biggest problems is that I don’t have any way to set up registration. I am forced to set my paper down on the gripper bars because there is no room for a gauge pin. It would be much easier to have a larger press (purchased, but not moved), or a smaller image to print. I too will be buying an aluminum base for both of my presses. I will not buy any larger than boxcar recommends, because I understand that I must have space for the guide pins.
Before you buy from either of the letterpress suppliers, read the Dolcepress blog. She made her own base for much less.


This may not be good advice re: making your own base. The Boxcar Base is guaranteed to be within .001 of spec and parallelized. Elum makes the same claim. You will not get this by farming out the production to your local aluminum stock supplier. And, it is important to be so very close in spec if you care at all about your work. If that is not all that important, well then, go ahead and make your own and save a couple of bucks, and suffer with the sucker, job after job.


I’m not suggesting that anyone compromise quality for price. Instead, every person should shop for the best deal on equal quality. Please read this post on Dolce Press.
I believe that any machine shop worth it’s salt can machine aluminum to .oo1 spec. If not, they would have a terrible time machining engine parts etc. I know that Boxcar is trusted, and guaranteed. This does not negate the ability of others to offer similar products.
In this tough economic time, we should all be willing to invest a little time to find the best deal on the best product.

I would stick to the Boxcar recommendations. If you use gauge pins and grippers you just don’t have room for a larger base. I have several bases ranging is size from 2.5”x4” to 9”x12”. I find that the smallest possible base works the best. Also, tabletop presses don’t have the inking system or the impressional strength to print a full size sheet well. In fact most floor model platen presses don’t print full sheets well.


Sumner is dead right on this. If you want to print as big as the chase area on your 6.5 x 10 then you should get yourself a press that is at least an 8 x 12.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

I have a 9X12 Craftsmen Monarch tabletop and use the recommended 6X9 deep relief Boxcar Base.


Thanks for the suggestions. I am going to stick to Elum & Boxcar’s recommendations. That’s why I titled this post ‘greedy’, because I am. But now I see that I can’t be and must stick to the small size, no big deal, just wanted some opinions on it.

— Andrea