Perfect press to print 5x7 invites

Hi. I am interested in purchase a press that will provide a deep beautiful impression for 5x7 invitations. I prefer a C&D press but I am open to other options. Would a 6.5 x 10 C&D press work?

Thanks in advance for all your advice.

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Letter Preservations out of Cincinnati has a restored Craftsman 9 x 12 tabletop for sale right now! Allot depends on how much of the 5 x 7 area you plan on printing! I think you mean C&P or Chandler & Price! Good Luck!!

LOL. Yes, I do mean C&P. Thanks!

Can you provide their website? I can’t seem to find them. Thank you?

We restore Tabletop presses.
We have Pilots, Craftsmen, Sigwalts, Kelseys etc.
Please take a look at our website


A 12x18 Kluge. :D

At that size, in order to stay versatile and keep your options open, I would recommend a floor model press. The premium on tabletop presses makes floor model presses often cheaper, if you can locate one within a reasonable distance.

$1600 for a Kelsey 5x8?!?!?!

That’s a bit much Inkspot.

I say if the market will respond at $1600 then so be it. By the looks of it the refurbish, throw on new rollers, and it looks like they throw in some extras. I watched a Golding (better press, I know) with shot rollers and looking to be in rough shape go for close to $1700 on ebay recently. You root through the some of the classified here and you can see the prices climb. If someone will pay it, it’s not a bit much.

I’d concur with Vroom. While it may seem immense overkill, a 12 x 18 or, better yet, 14 x 22 press will give you unlimited impressional power for the 5 x 7 window, allowing you to do work that would have to be reserved for a cylinder (reverses etc). While they are more of a bother to move, you will be happy. Otherwise, and they’ll cost more, look for an 8 x 12 floor press or a 10 x 15. A good floor press will be hard to outgrow. Happy hunting.

P.S. $1600 would easily buy just about any floor model press out there—short of a Windmill—including rollers!

Mike and Vrooooom, you have a great point. Some of us though just aren’t lucky enough to have the space, or may need to move again in the future.

And yeah, for $1600, finding a nice floor model would not be that hard, especially if you have a way to move it.

On that note though I have a question. It may be totally irrelevant but it has intrigued me for a while. If you’re using a 14x22 to print a 5x7 invitation aren’t you using up a ton of ink for such a small area?

A “ton” of ink in letterpress is the difference between a pea sized scoop and a chickpea sized scoop. Most of my ink will probably expire/dry out before I can use it all, even with a floor model press.

Conversely, think about a tabletop press. With a smaller disc, you’ll more likely need to add precise amounts of ink during a run to maintain the correct density of ink. It’s a lot easier to add too much ink to a small area like that, whereas a floor model press is a little more forgiving as long as you let it cycle on the disc. So, I think it’s a more economical use of the ink once you get the hang of it.

Out of college, I had trouble deciding if I wanted to pursue letterpress further or screen printing further. I decided on screen printing to start with, because the space requirements aren’t huge and neither is the start-up cost. Letterpress, on the other hand, was too much like the record collecting community; too little supply, and too much demand. But I waited, and passed on several smaller presses that I thought weren’t worth the money, until I came across my Kluges 20 miles from Austin. Simple tow-truck rental, and I had them.

I would still recommend screen printing to someone looking to get started in printing. Or maybe block printing. Depends on your orientation. But I’d say letterpress requires a little more experience.

If someone were to come to me today and ask how to get started in letterpress, these are the points I would raise:

1) How much money are you willing to spend? Double it.
2) Are you going into business / offering commercial services?
3) *Important* Do you really want to be a printer? Do you really want to be a letterpress printer?

For space, I began with a 13x20 garage with no floor. Gradually, I added a subfloor and then moved 2 Kluges ink. It’s enough space for me to do what I need to do, but eventually I’ll rent a dedicated space I imagine.

Ultimately, when I was looking for a press, I knew I wanted to print for a long time and I knew I didn’t want to spend a boatload of money (hey, I’m a poor printer!) on a press that couldn’t do what I needed it to do, no matter how portable it might be. The end “cost” of such a press was too high, in my mind, especially if it turned me off letterpress.

Sorry for the ramble; I shouldn’t Briarpress before coffee….

Great ramble Vrooooom. Interesting on the whole ink thing. Being a devout minimalist I only assumed a big press would be using more ink, even if it was the difference between a pea and a chickpea. You gave me food for thought today.

And yeah, I second point #1. Double what you think you’re going to spend. That should be it’s own sections within discussions.

I recently printed 10,000 napkins. I used 1/2 pound of ink….not a ton of ink.(one.ton=2000 pounds). If you hear your ink “sizzle” then you must have a “ton” of ink on your rollers, in your fountain, on your hands, and pretty much all over everything in your shop.
As to the original post…you get what you pay for. You can buy a letterpress for $$$ or $. Your choose your course…headache/ heartache or plug and play.

A couple of years age i had a napkin job in my shop, the customer called me Friday at noon looking for the job, i said i would run them Saturday, he said very funny the event is tonight. So i didn’t look like an idiot i told him to pick them up at 5:00, there was a rather large solid on them, as i put the last of the 5000 into the carton in came the customer and off went the napkins to the event. Anyone who used one of those must have had a green ink smear on their face, maybe that’s why i never got that job again. Girl with a kluge, did you run them on the windmill? Dick G.

One other advantage of a large ink disk is that it allows the ink to “work” before printing. This works off some of the solvents which allows the ink to set up faster on the sheet. Of course this can be a problem with fast drying inks in the summertime, so adjustments will have to be made. It takes a lot of cranking on a hand press to acheive the same result.

If you are not bucking for heavy impression, a Pearl No. 3 Old style, or corresponding New Style is about the mininum press you could get by with, but they are (the Old Style anyway) fairly portable and light treadle floor presses.


I would suggest either solid tabletop press like the C&P Pilot, or a treadle/foot operated Golding Pearl #11. Nothing larger. Getting a large C&P platen press (8X10 or larger) maybe an overkill for what you need.

If you are on the East Coast, then visit LetterpressThings. The website has a list of presses for sale:

See under “Equipment for Sale”.

Of course I did silly rabbit. I put drier in the ink too. I didn’t want to run the powder unit because the only powder on a napkin should be from the donut. By the way it was edible ink/food grade ya know ;) Email me if you want more details.

And as to the original post again, I wouldn’t (not that anyone couldn’t) want to hand feed all the napkins, invitations, envelopes, etc. for one simple wedding suite…but of course I’m lazy.