Newbie with some general and low-tech set up questions

Hello everyone!

First post here for me. Let me start by thanking everyone for a great resource on the net. Seems like there’s vast knowledge, enthusiasm and the whole site has a great feel too it. :)

I’ve long been interested in typography and typesetting. Ever since I saw a documentary where they built a replica of Gutenbergs original screw press I’ve been itching to try out letterpressing.

The idea of getting hands on has been growing and it’s about time I did something about it.

Sadly, in Sweden where I live there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for simple letterpresses. I actually a haven’t found any at all for sale. My plan is, at least initially to craft my own, very low-tech letterpress.

I don’t necessarily feel this is a bad thing for me though. I have no intentions of doing runs of more than a handfull and I think the added labour would add to the finished prints for me.

I’m thinking I should be able to make a decent screw or lever platen press from hard wood with steel reinforcements.

I’m only really interested in printing text from movable type. I’m guessing I would make things quite a lot easier for myself if I built the press to accomodate a commercial chase?

I would very much like to be able to make decent prints in A4 (~8” x 12”), full text. What size roughly would the platen have to be? Is it feasible to press that size on a DIY press?

I’ve searched around, but can’t seem to find many documented projects where people have built their own letterpresses. If anyone has any links to plans or uilds for inspiration I’d be very greatfull.

If anyone else is located in Sweden or any of the nordic countries for that matter and happens to know of any supply/resource-shops please, let me know. :)

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Check the yellow pages on this site, i know there is some stuff on building a press, maybe there is someone close to you, good luck Dick G.


A few weeks back there was a thread here on Briar Press about presses in Germany. It seems letterpress is alive and well there, and that presses are available. Also, I have seen some on

Perhaps you could consider buying one from Germany. Just a thought :-)

Hi Johan
You are welcome to contact me with your questions regarding letterpress – I might also be able to help you to find a press here in Denmark :-)
All the best & Gott grüß die Kunst