Can an 8x12 C&P be in an apartment?

I recently acquired a C&P 8x12 with a motor. Now it’s currently stored in my parent’s garage. However, I don’t live near my parents, and in fact, live in a city so it’s apartment living.

My question is, is it possible to have the press in an apartment? Does it have to be ground floor or basement? I heard if you put a large piece of plywood down, it’ll help distribute the weight (the press being about 1000 lbs).

Also, do you think it’s something I have to/should disclose with the landlord/property manager that I have a 1000 lb antique printing press in my apartment? :)

Log in to reply   12 replies so far

The short answer: it depends on the apartment.

How old is the apartment? What are the floors like? Any chance you know what the floor joists are like?


Follow your gut. You already asked the right question. You are just asking the wrong people. Try the Manager.


An interesting discussion here on Briar #16888. A normal bathtub with water to the overflow drain weighs approx. 350#, put in a human and you are halfway there.

Not that i haven’t done similar things, but i would discourage doing this.

A hand-press is perfect for a apartment, but a floor press will rumble everything in a earshot…….

find a cheap rental space, maybe share it…..
otherwise you might find yourself sleeping between the composing stone and your oven, cozy, until your manager kicks you out.

General live loads for an apartment building are optimistically about +/- 70 lbs/sqft. Machine shops are twice that. That being said, there’s a big difference in construction between a brownstone and a loft that was once a warehouse or industrial facility. Knowing what type of apartment would help, but my gut feeling is that it is a bad idea.

Thanks for the insight. Asking the manager would probably be best.

But what if I found a ground floor or basement apartment (English Garden Apt) ?
Then I should be OK with vibration and weight?

I have seen a whole shop on the 3rd floor of a old building with an 8x12 C&P before which had led to believe it is possible.

Yes, I am also trying to find a studio space but it’s quite difficult/expensive in Washington DC.

Look for a place with concrete floors, or an old industrial building converted to lofts. Either should have plenty strong floors. Also, if you do move it into an apartment on wooden floors and you are not on the ground floor, get 4 vibration-absorbing pads to put under the feet of the press. That way any vibration during operation should be dampened and not noticeable to those under you.


i own 3 kluges, also own 4 rent houses. if a tenant moved a letterpress inside, i would have them evicted!


Is that how you got your presses? Evict and conquer?


-James Beard
Vrooooom Press

It would best to rent a small space in another business.
If you know someone that own a copy business or small offset printing business they might love to rent space and have you do some letter press work for them.

No matter the floor structure the fumes will permeate through out the building and there will be property insurance issues.
Follow Aaron David’s advice or locate someone with a private residence with a detached garage or workshop for rent.

Thanks for the advice. I currently have a tabletop in my apartment and there’s been no complaints yet about fumes. I have also seen an 8x12 C&P in a residential apt. in the spare bedroom as well (on the ground floor). That’s why I thought it’d be no problem. I don’t have a huge shop to set up or anything.

I would ideally like to find a space for it in a garage, studio space, etc. so I’m going to keep exploring with that as well.