Press moving near Baltimore/DC

I’m hoping to get some advice on hiring someone experienced to move an old Gordon 8x12 (actually a Gordon/C&P “transition”) press from one basement to another. I’ve attached a photo of the press (w/the wooden tray removed).

The gentleman I bought this press from, an experienced printer, took the thing completely apart to move it into his basement years ago, and he says we could do the same. However, I’d prefer to disassemble it just enough to get it through my 28-inch basement doorway (after going across the yard, through a 32-inch outside hatch, and down 5 steps).

I think the two of us can carefully remove the parts that need to be removed to allow it to fit through the door, and I think I can get it reassembled, but I think I need professional help with the rigging and moving. And I’m hoping for someone who knows presses, or who knows something about moving heavy antique machines.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!


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Here’s that photo.

image: press.jpg


I t will cost you more than the press is worth to hire a rigger to move it, if the man your buying it from is willing to help take it apart maybe he will help you put it back together again. Once it is stripped down you should be able to lay planks on the stairs and cover them with plywood then using a rope and a truck pull it up the stairs, most of the parts could be carried out, 2 or 3 guys should be able to handle it. Good Luck Dick G.

Another possibility: strip the press of everything that comes off easily or sticks out and could get broken off by impact. Take the drive shaft and flywheel off for sure. Using a ratchet tie-down strap tie the press closed. Rent an appliance dolly (they’re meant for moving heavy stuff up steps) and strap the press firmly onto it. Get two 2x6 boards long enough to span the steps out of the basement, and use a comealong to pull the press up the steps (don’t attempt to do it with straight muscle — it’s too heavy). Once out of the basement you can load it into a pickup using the same 2x6 boards and the comealong, and reverse the process at the other end to unload and get it into the next basement.


R.Hardy - Bob and Dick G. give excellent advice. I have personal experience in both methods for moving presses and press-sized objects - using a winch or motive power. … As a further improvement, don’t use a rope for pulling. Use rope for tying down loose objects, instead. Rope under tow will stretch and may break under strain. Also, there are incorrect ways to tie/lash rope. … My preference is to use chain for pulling. In lieu of chain, use cable on a winch but make sure everyone is clear of the cable within the range that it could snap, before you pull. A snapped cable will whip and cause bodily harm at a minimum. You also may be able to use a tow strap. But you need to know the maximum breaking points of your tow lines and be sure your project falls under those limits. … Bob is 110 percent correct: Don’t use straight muscle. Plan ahead. Don’t rush the move. Think safety first. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Dick G, Bob, and J Archibald, my sincere thanks to each of you for the words of advice. The good news is that I can get the press right out the wide door of the first basement and into a pickup fairly easily: no stairs. It’s the basement on the receiving end that is my concern. Based on what you’ve said, I wonder if an appliance mover would have the skills and the equipment (a comealong or a winch, towline, etc.) to pull this off? I feel as though I got such a good deal on the press itself (another topic altogether: I wonder if I really did?) that I can afford to spend a little on a professional move (for safety, peace of mind, and the good of my back). A millwright seems like too much…but maybe an appliance mover?

Again, thanks!

R. Hardy, years ago i bought a windmill that needed to go into the basement, there was only half an inch on the top and both sides of the press, i hired a guy to move it in. When he came i asked where his crew was and he told me i was his crew, i don’t think he weighed more than 100 lbs. I told him i didn’t know anything about rigging, he said all you have to do is hold the rope and let it down an inch at a time. We double wrapped the rope around a tree and by doing this i could hold it by myself and let it down a ramp an inch at a time. Nine hours later the press was in the cellar, when my mom sold the house the windmill went with it. That double wrap of the rope really works. Dick G.