suggestions for moving a c&p old style 10x15, pretty please?

I’m about to embark on moving my c&p old style a couple of states south (from new hampshire to rhode island) & am eager to hear any suggestions for transport that any of you might have…from the ideal trucks & equipment to rent to small scale (but reliable) riggers in that area that you may know of.

The press was originally moved by dick & bill at shaughnessy a few years back & i just found out that they are no longer in business which is sad.
But, this also means that the press is still strapped VERY securely to a pallet in the spacious drive-in-able garage that they left her in.
They had disassembled certain press-parts for the move that i put back together in order to use the press in the past few years but i’m having a tricky time remembering what they had taken off, so, tips on whether to remove the inking disk or just wrap it very well would be appreciated as well.

I know this is broad but what do you all think?
& thank you!

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riggers i have used for years collins and son out of bridgewater, massachusetts, you should be able to get a quote before you commit, rigging is not cheap but these guys are good, i’ve used them 6 or 8 times and never had a problem. the problem is that the rigging costs more than the press is worth, you can strip them and move them in a pickup truck. good luck dick g.

great, thanks!

I have a C&P that I regularly take to an antique show near me. I mounted the press on an aluminum dolly that came from a “Photostat” camera of the ‘70’s. The dolly is about 6’ long and 32” wide of very solid welded aluminum girders, each four inches wide. The dolly wheels (with brake levers) are mounted on axels that allow them to pivot up and down to maintain level for the originally mounted camera. (It was a heck of a camera!)
The press is located at the back of my Studio. To move it I roll the whole affair to my deck and onto my utility trailer that parks level to the deck. I strap it all in place and have blocks screwed around the dolly wheels.
Needless to say I go very slowly to the fair, which is about a 5 mile drive. Once there I set up my type cases for display and start pumping the pedal. I print right from the trailer like a parade float. My only problem with this whole set up is the occasional swing of the trailer springs at times like when I leave the road to enter the display area.
I have found a few big volunteers can easily hold everything steady as I enter the field very slowly.
A couple of points to note…When I bought the press at auction I called the local tow truck to lift it onto my trailer. His bumper hit the road before the press left the ground. When I got to my Studio I had a Backhoe pick it up and take it right inside through the barn doors that were later removed in renovation.
The first three or four years I did this I always went up on Saturday and back home that night. One year I had to leave it at the fair until Sunday to go get it. That year they presented me with the plaque for the most interesting antique award and said…”Finally you left it the two days needed to qualify!” I didn’t know anything about the qualifying, I was just having fun. Good luck.
Franklin Centre, Quebec

This is something that we have been thinking about! I’m just about to buy a C&P 10x15 and are thinking about how to move it easily. We’ve been wondering why no one has mentioned buidling a dolly for it to sit on….

From what I can see there are 3 concerns:
1) weight
2) height
3) balance

the weight can be easily overcome. Extra heavy-duty casters can carry 750lbs a piece, so a 1500lb press (plus the weight of the dolly materials) is significantly less than the casters are rated for.

the height can be overcome by having a platform to stand on while running the press (treadling would possibly be an issue, but an adapter could be made for the peddle as well).

the balance I would think could be overcome as well. It seems that the skids typically extend backwards from the rear feet quite a ways. I assume that this is because the press has a rocking motion while running and could tip itself backwards? So if the dolly extended backwards that should be solved as well, no?

So my plan would be to make a steel dolly the same width/length as the skids, with 3 sets of casters. 1 set under the front feet, 1 set under the rear feet and 1 set at the back of the dolly frame. I should mention that the casters are locking and that we also plan to make a block that will basically encapsulate each wheel once the press is in place so that there is no movement possible. This would also be completely removable as I don’t wish to actually modify the press at all.

Does this sound reasonable or is there something that I am missing?

My husband is in the Navy, so we have a move coming in 2 years and another 4 years later…. it seems that if this solution works, it would be worthwhile for use to ease in moving.

when moving the c&p you should close the press, this brings the bed forward , i usually tie the press closed. remove the feed and delivery boards also. good luck dick g.

My 8x12 C&P OS was on a frame with 4 casters when I bought it and it made the move a piece of cake. (although one of the casters was shot and we spent considerable time going in the wrong direction as a result!) I had to rent a 24 foot Budget truck as that was the smallest truck that had a lift on the back. I put it in the front corner of the cargo area and lashed it to the rails on two sides and it never moved the whole trip. (48 miles) I have a few pictures, if you’d like to see them let me know

I’d love to see some photos.

do you leave it on the frame when printing? if so, does it rock at all (just wondering if the skids being so long in the back is necessary)?

It can be used while on the dolly but it’s too high off of the floor. The skids are just a bit longer than the dolly, not sure if you can see it very well in the pictures.
Also, dick g is right - I didn’t know it at the time but the press should be closed and secured. Mine was open when I moved it but the flywheel was secured. Good luck with the move

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see, now… your skids are about the same as the spread of the 4 feet.
this is the press I’m buying. The skids are quite a bit longer as are others I’ve seen. I assumed that there is a rocking of the press from the momentum built up each time it opens/closes. Is there not? can I trim these skids and just have to worry about supporting the press at each foot without any balance issues???
sorry if these are dumb questions, but this is my first big press so I’m just learning about it.

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i’d leave the skids long, it makes a good place to mount a motor.

Yes, those are nice burly skids - I’d leave them on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any rocking on mine, even when it’s on the dolly. (by the way - the three pictures that I posted were in the wrong order. My Son and his friend were giving the thumbs-up after we finished moving the press to its new home)

The skids do not prevent “rocking” of the press as it cycles; because the press does not move out of place during use. Mostly the skids make it easier to move the press when you need to. A few 4 foot sections of iron pipe and skids under the press allow a person to move an 8x12 alone, though its usually safer for a second person to be around if for no other reason than to run for help if something goes wrong.

The skids only need to be as long as the press frame itself though as a couple of folks have mentioned longer ones make it easier to mount a motor behind the press. I don’t recommend motors on a C&P for beginners, preferring a treadle. Its harder to get a motor to go as slow as the treadle allows.

If you have to move the press out of a basement, the longer skids can actually make it a bit more interesting to move as they provide a bit of flex during the transition between level on the floor and going up the stairs.

Skids also raise the press off the floor a bit and for taller operators make it a bit easier to work at the press safely.

Since you are a beginner, and it appears, in New England, I’d recommend you find one of the numerous New England Printers and get a few pointers on how to run it safely

thank you all for your help!

I’m actually not in New England… I’m in South Carolina.
I totally understand the dangers with a large press. The woman who owns the press has agreed to spend some time with me to show me the ropes. There is a motor, but I plan on treadling until I get the hang of it and then move up to the motor.

thanks again, everyone. If we and up doing casters or a dolly I will post pictures of what we did and how well it worked.

it is possiblke that the extended skids were used to mount the motor at the rear of the press, otherwise there is little reason to extend beyond the feet of the press. You should see no rocking of the press off its feet as it operates, although some have been known to creep across the floor from vibration.

I just moved a c&p 10x15 today. Actually, just bought my first press today. Move went well. But it is dangerously heavy. It wouldn’t take much of a mistake to to get into trouble real quick. I happen to have my own good sized utility trailer and engine hoist. Got lucky at the site I purchased it from. Had to roll it about 12’ through a set of double doors, onto a concrete porch, which happened to be within a half inch of being the same height as my trailer deck. I used a floor jack to put pipes under the skids. Going onto the trailer I hooked a come-along winch to the front of the trailer and just pulled it on. I had a strong friend with me too. Really need too people for moving pipes, prying, etc…

I lag bolted the press right to the wood floor of my trailer and strapped it down on all four corners. Loading took two hours, but that included loading up miscellaneous other stuff that came with it.

As expected getting it down off the trailer was the hard part. The engine hoist worked, but not all that well or safely. It was pushing it’s limits and was too tippy. The press wants to go over to the flywheel side if it’s still on. If you can get the flywheel off that would help a lot. The legs of the engine hoist were constantly in the way. With a combination of 2x10’s, chunks of 4x4’s, and jack stands, I got it steadied in the air, and drove the trailer out from under it, then I gradually lowered it down pulling wood out a little at a time. Took a couple hours to get it on the ground.

I think most people would be better paying the professionals unless they have a lot of tools like I do and have some experience moving heavy stuff.

My press came with a motor and no treadle, however it also came with a speed controller. The motor is powerful enough to start the press up from a dead stop without any trouble. I hear of other people having to give the flywheel a spin. And the speed controller will run the press at any speed from stopped to full out, and it’ll run at a barely moving crawl.

Also came with relatively new rollers, two sets of old rollers, four chases, a cabinet of furniture, a lot of lead, some type, shelves, granite stone, black ink, cleaners. Everything I need to get started.

The press was still being used periodically, and had mostly only done one thing since the 1950s, print many thousands of ribbons for a large christian bible school camp. The owner was getting too old and they recently outsourced the printing. But I think it had an easy go of it over the years printing such a small percentage of the chase, and onto such a soft surface. The old guy also apparently oiled it well as the press is very oily and in need of a good cleaning.

I do have one question to start, would it be ok to power wash it, or would that get too much water into the nooks and crannies?

cast iron and steel plus water equals rust, i would only wipe down the press, leave the years of gunk in there, if it runs good that all that counts. good luck dick g.

A lot of the cast iron parts on the C&P will rust almost immediately if you get them wet. A good rub-down with rags and a degreaser like simple green can take off a lot of the surface crud. Clean out the oil points with a Q-tip and lube it with some 10w-50 oil to clean them out. After flushing it out use a thicker weight oil to keep it lubed. If you do a search of the forums here you will find quite a few posts on cleaning and maintaining the press.

Congrats, by the way. You are going to love your press—just mind your fingers when using the motor.

Dollies - unsafe for old platen presses
- and unsafe for old platen press movers as well:

Any but a very well-engineered custom-made - and substantially oversized dolly is likely to be unsafe for moving C&P and similar presses.

I would most definitely NOT recommend putting an 8x12 or 10x15 on a dolly. It’s just not safe - in any way. First, it raises the press up too high to use or to move - the center of gravity is already high on a platen press.

Plus, then you have to deal with the complexities and danger of getting it up onto and then down off of the the dolly.

I keep a small 5x7 Golding Pearl on a dolly and roll it around my shop now and then. This one is light, but is as top-heavy as the larger platens. And, more than once, I’ve had to grab it to keep it from falling over when one of the wheels hung up on something as small as a piece of gravel or small ridge on the cement floor.

And, must admit - I do have one old 8x12 on a very heavy duty 6” wheeled cart, and it moves okay, but not so much better than the pipes for it to be worth the trouble of ever loading it back on to the dolly once I finally get around to getting it back down to the ground

If you’re moving a press on a dolly, any troublesome wheel - or even just a piece of grit on the floor - can make the entire load stop dead in its tracks - even though the mass of the press wants to keep moving.

This could lead to a very dangerous toppling of the press, and serious injury to anyone (less than 300 pounds) who tries to stop it from going over once it’s made up its mind to.

And, if the press is left on any but steel dolly wheels, they can flatten over time and then they become worse than useless - downright dangerous. I once had to deal with such a press. It had been stored for too many years on a dolly with rubber wheels, and one had been flattened. When a friend tried (real hard) to move the press, he almost toppled it over!

The first thing I did with this press was to jack it up, get it off of the dolly (a dangerous undertaking itself) and get it onto fresh 2x6 planks and put a pipe underneath it. From that point on, the move was a breeze. I rolled it about 100 feet across the barn this way - in about ten minutes.

Slower, but much more reliable - and infinitely safer!

I have moved quite a few C&Ps and I strongly recommend 2x6 planks permanently - and securely - bolted to the base of the press. Then get yourself 3 inexpensive pieces of steel pipe.1-2” diameter x 36-48” long. You can buy 3-4’ lengths pre-cut at just about any hardware store.

And beware of lag bolts - especially old ones that have been in a plank that’s been under a press for any period of time. The wood softens and these lag bolts come out of old, oily wood very, very easily! I have seen this over and over again on old presses that I have pulled from damp basements and garages.

Better to buy some new wood, drill holes and counter-sink carriage bolts from the bottom. Worse case here is that you may have to cut an old bolt if it spins when you try to remove it ten - or forty years from now.

Raise the front (or back) of the press using a floor jack or j-bar, then slide one of the pipes under the planks - almost to center - enough that you can easily rock the press and lay the second pipe under the other end.

Position the third pipe so that as you roll the press, it rolls onto the third pipe. Then take the one you just rolled off of and put it in front for the next transition.

I have used this technique for 40 years, have moved dozens of presses - and I move presses around the barn this way all of the time - and I have not lost one yet - or had anyone injured while helping me.

One person can easily - and safely - and efficiently move any press up to a Heidelberg Windmill across a smooth floor using pipes this way.

When you come to any transition of angle or surface, stop and use the J-bar or floor jack to raise the front of the press. Don’t try just forcing it over a bump or up a ramp. PULL it up the ramp with a come-along or chain hoist - and be sure to attach it to the lowest point you can attach to.

If you want to roll over a lawn - or some gravel - just lay out some more planks to roll over - it’s easy and you can reposition the planks to give you a safe and adjustable track to roll over.

Don’t pull it over.

Don’t push it over.

Keep the press as low and stable as you can.

Just roll it along - slowly and safely. Don’t get hurt - and don’t let your press be damaged, either…

- AR

talk about old platten press movers, good to see you back on this list alan, dick goodwin from ma.

wow, thanks so much for all this advice!
hopefully (fingers extra crossed) the move will go smoothly…

The only thing I can say is if it starts to topple… dont’ try to save it unless you are “Hoss” enough. or it will give you a VERY bad day!

the press can rebuilt for money.. you not so much….


Hi Arie, Just was interested how to get the pipes under the skids with only one person. Does the press just tilt forward and the metal pipes can just be slipped under? Need to move mine in my studio and have been contemplating the process so I was very interested in what you suggest. Thanks.


Grab a jack a jack it up, one side at a time. Place a block or support under one side, the lower the press down and repeat for the other side. Build up until you can get a pipe underneath (or a few for that matter), and then remove the supports. You’ll be ready to roll and won’t need help jacking. Will probably need it for pushing the press though!

Diameter is really important here as it can make the pushing a lot harder or easier.

I recommend finding a safe tow-truck operator to work with. A winch and a hydraulic tilt-bed truck make things really easy.

As Vrooooom says a floor jack is very handy, though I just tend to lift the front up and slide in an iron pipe when there is enough clearance. Remove the jack and roll the press forward until it is just before the tipping point of the weight shifting from back to front. Insert second pipe in the front just under the skids and roll forward until the rear pipe is just about to roll out from under the press. Then place the third pipe just under the skids at the front and roll forward. Bring the back pipe up to the front and repeat until the press is at it’s destination.

All this assumes you have a level floor and any doorways are big enough to get the press through. Pipes I use are standard thick walled cast iron water pipes about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Once the press is up on pipes, it’s fairly easy to move forward and/or back. If you need to go around a corner, angle the front pipe in the direction you want to go and push as before. If you have a really tight corner, you may need to leave just one pipe under the skids and horse the press in the direction you want to go. Be very careful not to push the press off the pipes…if your toes (or anything else) are sticking under the skids at the time if comes off, it will hurt. Steel toed boots are recommended.

When you get to the destination remove the last pipe by jacking the front of the press up and carefully remove the pipe. Lower the jack and you’re done.

ps. beveling the undersides of the ends of the skids makes it a bit easier to get the next pipe into place.


Something worth adding to your guide regarding the use of trailers with ramps: it would be a good idea to block up the end of the trailer, the end closest to the ramps. Most pickup trucks are rear wheel drive, with the parking brakes on the rear wheels. It doesn’t take much weight on the far end of a trailer to lift the truck’s rear wheels off of the ground, creating a free wheeling truck-trailer-half-loaded-pres combo.

My wife’s grandfather was loading a tractor on a trailer attached to a truck pointed uphill. As soon as the tractor put enough weight on the trailer to lift the rear wheels of the truck off the ground, the whole mess quickly started to roll quickly down the hill. He ended up coming to a messy stop a few hundred feet from his starting point in a cluster of trees. Apparently the experience was the kind that is followed up with a trip to the laundry room.