How many hours to restore a press?

There may be an opportunity to acquire a Linotype and a 10x15 C&P with it. Here’s the question: how long will it take to do a restoration of either? I realize that an individual’s experience will vary due to lots of factors like what parts to replace or repair or find, rust and dirt build-up, and so on and so forth. But how many hours total did you spend restoring your press?

I saw a post on here where someone mentioned restoring a Miehle Pony in something like 300 hours. Information like that is incredibly helpful to someone restoring an existing press or thinking about buying a new one.

Thank you for your reply and thank you to for this wonderful Web site!

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Your question is good, but you leave too many variables open. For example, If the 10 x 15 press is running, and was used recently, It may only require cleaning. (2-5 hours)

If the press was broken, and pushed to the side years ago, The repair must take place first. (5-50-100 hours) Then a more intense cleaning may be required. (5-20 hours). Paint is next (2-10 hours) depending on your preference, and how far you take the press apart. Pin-striping and detailing (?hours) Don’t forget wiring for your motor, and time learning to operate your new toy.

Next is a very important question. Do you want a museum quality restoration, or do you want a clean and functioning press? Both are valid goals, but they each have very different time lines.

I’ve been working, in my free time, since March, and my press is really coming together.
I don’t work every day, and I took a couple months off for summer break. I don’t have an accurate count, but I figure somewhere around 100-200 hours so far. The reason I don’t keep track is that this is a labor of love, and a hobby for me. I don’t look at it as a job.

If you want a more accurate estimate, you might want to show us pictures. We all love seeing pictures.

Good luck


Hi j archibald,

Just to add another data point, I “restored” a Vandercook No. 4 in just over a month, working about five or six hours a day. So that would be about 175 hours. I put “restored” in quotes since all it really needed was a good cleaning, and by “good” cleaning I mean that I did take a few of the assemblies apart to get at the grime and old ink. The only thing I repainted was the feed board, and that was easy since it’s just a flat piece of sheet metal. I had no prior experience with such a project. Here’s what-all I did.

Best of luck! Enjoy the work and post some pics!


As for the Linotype, the model will be a factor. A relatively simple Model 5 would be one thing, something with auxiliary magazines or a mixer is another matter entirely. The machine has to be kept clean, and dirt or dust or surface rust will inhibit smooth operation. There are still a few places to get replacement parts, but a lot of things just aren’t available anymore. So a late model machine that comes with a good amount of spare parts (and mats) is worth a closer look. They are still around, but often offered only after the brass mats and even magazines have been sold for scrap.

boundstaffpress: Thanks for listing the hourly time needed for each process. You sound like a real pro! As for the machinery I’m looking at, all I’ve been able to do is a visual assessment. Here is a brief list of what I saw: all mouse-eaten rollers, significant but not excessively deep surface rust, missing motor, no belt but structurally intact. I’ll attach photos as soon as I can.

Devils Tail Press: Paul, this information is like gold to me. When my friends who built a Pietenpol aircraft (900 hours) or are restoring a steamboat (1,000+ hours), there’s an instant understanding of the size of the project. Your Miehle interested me because I saw one several weeks ago that is available. I may contact you off post about whether it is worth pursuing.

As for that Hoe press, I think you can take it with you. I have heard that those presses had a reputation for getting their printers out of every hole.

BarbHauser: On my calculation, 175 hours in a month is a labor of love! I look forward to seeing your photos here in a minute.

parallel_imp: thanks for the tip. I’m looking at a Model 8. Mechanically, it appears to be complete. Honestly, I don’t think I want to do a total tear-down on this one. There are degrees of “restoration” and leaving a machine showing some age is a good thing. There is a fellow named Ron in Wisconsin who drives a mechanically sound Model T with a complete, rusted touring car body and it looks more “restored” than some of the over-worked examples I’ve seen.