Is the Adana 8x5 a good press?

I am a total noob and I want to get my first tabletop platen press. I found an Adana 8x5 press that has been restored but I don’t if this is a good press and I don’t know how much one of these is worth.

Can you give me some insight?

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I have never operated an Adana, but from what I hear it’s a similar setup to a Kelsey, but runs smoother. I have seen printers who have done some great work on an Adana 5x8. I say if it’s in your budget, go for it. Tabletop presses often go for more than floor models because they are easily moved and convenient to start with. I wouldn’t be surprised if a really nice restored one was going for around 2000. You are only limited to a small printable image size, probably around 4x6, but that’s usually enough for a beginner. Good luck!


Thank you Emily, I really appreciate it!

Emily talks about $2000. That seems to me a lot of money for a second-hand 8x5. I paid as little as 150 € for a machine and three weeks ago I bought another one for 350 €. They’re not scarce, searching on E-Bay will do the trick. And there isn’t much to restore to a machine that was still built until the 1970s. Try Caslon in the UK, for a refurbished machine.

Thank you Thomas, I will certainly keep my eyes peeled. Do you know how well this letterpress actually prints? I know the C&P Pilots are really sought after but it makes them SOOO expensive.

I just want to make sure I’m not getting a piece of garbage if I do decide to get one.


kjr928. A lot of the printing depends on the printer. Adjusting packing, and rollers, getting the inking sorted out. Seen by the amount of presses manufactured by Adana over the years and the amount of presses still available and in use – and my personal experience with several of them 8x5s, 5x3s, Hs2 etc. – I would say: yes, it’s a good press in it’s own category.

Consider my Pilot which is for sale.
See the for sale ads in Briar Press, recently posted.
William of Rockley, NSW

I’ve had my Adana 8x5 for a little less than a year and am very happy with it so far. There are some limitations – you won’t get the sort of fine, detailed work that a Vandercook or C&P can produce, for example – but I’ve been able to work around that.

I agree w/ Thomas in that $2,000 is rather steep. I purchased my Adana through Caslon in the UK: Although refurbished Adanas are available stateside, I preferred paying a couple hundred dollars more for the peace of mind knowing I’ll get a squeaky clean, ready-to-go machine (and tech support). Roy Caslon was extremely helpful.

Good luck!

I started printing with an Adana 8 x 5 in 1960 and have never had a problem that wasn’t down to my own stupidity.
It is easy to use, reliable and safe.
If you need help getting up and running then I am always willing to talk printing with anyone.
BTW it isn’t a Letterpress, that is an adjective and describes the type of printing, it is a Printing Press or Printing Machine.

have a look for on the internet they may be able to help.