Excelsior-Press WARNING

If you are a person interested in buying a press from Lou Colavecchio, a.k.a. Excelsior-Press.com, you are earnestly warned AGAINST doing so. This note is being offered as a follow up to previous discussion strings that can be found below these additional links being offered for your consideration:









The discussion strings/links above should give you some serious insight and should be taken seriously. At the very least, if you are planning on buying from Lou, consider what has happened and been well documented above as well as what is laid out below. Try to break this down using common sense and trust your instincts. If, after all of that, you still feel comfortable making a purchase, caveat emptor (buyer beware). One more point: It is important for you to keep in mind that there are links out there with pictures of Lou’s previous work. These presses admittedly look good. He has taken the time to disassemble and paint all of those that are shown publicly on the web. He buys new rollers and shines the steel to a bright finish. However, another common sense check: How many of the 140 that he claimed he did last year (see ref. below) are available for viewing anywhere? Of those that are shown, how many are accompanied with test proofs to prove the serviceability of the machine? The selective pictures of Lou’s work are deceptive because while the presses do look extremely nice, there is no way to tell if the presses function correctly, which is the consistent complaint about his presses. In fact, there seem to be a handful of people—a handful—that are happy with their presses. It seems that in some cases, Lou may have done the work correctly. Unfortunately, he seems to have chosen to gouge the majority of the others and the customer issues/complaints also seem to prove that out. More on that later.

Having said that, here’s more from the source—on Lou’s website, he has added the following captions:


“UPDATE! Excelsior Co. now has enough Pilots to start our own airline !!”

—considering he’s taken deposits of $1500 and held them four to five months before casting delivery (meaning some of the metal parts that will be assembled into the press), that’s not worth celebrating. It’s almost as if he’s celebrating that it happened at all. If you’re in business to sell a printing press (or anything metal), receiving castings for said press/product isn’t a topic worthy of posting on your website in celebratory fashion. Also consider that Lou has not built any working prototypes of his machines (impossible without castings, and even after receipt of castings, they still need to be machined, finished, assembled, interfaced, and operated as a whole machine). If you know any engineers in the mfg. world, ask them if that ever happens. Answer: No. Why would a company proceed to production of a product BEFORE they knew that the press/product works? They wouldn’t. That’s right, based on Lou’s updates; he indicates that he hasn’t pulled the operator handle on even ONE of his finished prototype or production presses. For the layperson, this would be equivalent to buying a car with a re-built engine that the seller designed and installed but didn’t test before installing and selling you the car. I wouldn’t buy that car, would you? The only thing Lou did was mach up a press in plastic and beg for the unsuspecting public to finance him (through $1500 deposits) to have castings made….castings which may or may not fit together and work as advertised due to not testing them. I wonder what he will do if it doesn’t operate as advertised. My guess will be that he’ll stick it on the buyer, ask for payment and once he has it, spin his way out of it—as he has a pattern of doing (see links above for that history).


“Please Note: The presses depicted in these photos are sample models. They resemble the finished metal press almost exactly with the exception of the steel rods, most of which are one half inch or more in diameter. The rods used here are substantially smaller since we did not want to weaken the plastic model by drilling too large a hole in the plastic.”

Wow…so, in his words: “They REPRESENT the finished metal press ALMOST exactly WITH THE EXCEPTION OF the steel rods, …”

In other words, his language reveals that he doesn’t have a finished metal press, just a plastic press which may or may not “represent” the metal press. Yikes…



Not only ‘not accepted.’ but …”not accepted on presses!” What’s the emphasis on that? Don’t try to pay Lou legitimately, in a way that can be tracked, verified and has recourse? Generally, why not? Repeat, but most likely because PayPal would track payments and protect the buyer by refunding money if a case was opened due to non-delivery, among other reasons. Not accepting a legitimate payment source that tracks and resolves issues is a very large red flag.



Interestingly, they used to be $3,995.00 on Excelsior-press.com. Honestly, your guess is as good as mine on this one but I’ll take a stab at it: Business is dwindling because people are learning about his reputation and he’s trying to counter that with web-site captions and price reductions. If I’m right, this speaks to a guilty conscience and a desperate attempt to keep potential customers interested.


“Last year we sold over 140 letterpresses, and dozens of other items. We received a 2” stack of thank you notes, and only one complaint. True it was a very vocal one but still only one. I think that’s impressive in anyone’s book.”

The one complaint is the top link in this discussion (technically, I make two and if you include the complainants that I’ve delivered, more like between six and ten…and those are only the folks who have come forward and that we can verify to this point). 140 presses? Doubtful. What we can infer is that a majority of his sales (regardless of how many there were) resulted in a negative transaction (as chronicled in this discussion). If there is a 2” stack of thank you notes, I can honestly say that I would reconsider some of the things I’m writing if ALL of those two inches of notes were scanned and made public (waiting…). But—in trying to sell/advertise your customer’s high satisfaction level, why would you even bring up “…only one complaint.”? Over-compensation. Direct response to the damaging but true overtures from a dissatisfied customer. Who points out that there is “only one complaint” about their products? People that are very concerned about that complaint, that’s who…in an attempt to minimize it.

Stay tuned…

….Happy Letterpessing…


Log in to reply   7 replies so far

Isn’t this the same as http://www.briarpress.org/27050 ?

The willingness of the letterpress “gurus” to show their ignorance of practices they have blindly followed for decades, and the fact that they don’t have the slightest clue that there is a world out there- a big world where new things are constantly being discovered. Sucfh as grinding metal. Hell it isn’t more than a couple of hundred years old. No wonder nobody knows anything about it.

My success in providing my customers the best presses on market seems to irk so many people. I wish they could spend a day here with me.in my shop. I am no genius. I don’t know any other way to provide the best presses in the country other than working near 24 hour days, paying attention to the smallest detail. My customers receive a press that is far superior to that which came out of the factory. And most recognize it and are thankful. But it sure aggravates a lot of old timers out there who think that a coat of paint constitutes a restoration. restoration. So here’s the latest from one of these geniuses. This poor guy has had his head in the sand for the last century::

1 more thing—ur web-site & ebay advertisements r funny. PLEASE keep advert-ing “grinding” of metal surfaces…please…pls keep spoutin’ off about stuff

- whatthetom Click “respond” to reply through Messages, or

Blanchard Grinding, technically referred to as Rotary Surface Grinding, quickly removes stock from one side of a part. Abrasive stones are used to remove stock from the work piece. Magnetic materials are held in place with an electromagnetic chuck. Dimensional tolerances of approximately 0.001” parallelism and flatness per foot of diagonal of part are achievable on Blanchard Grinders. Surface finish typically will run 63 microinch rms and as high as 32 microinch rms with certain material. Using significantly greater horsepower than other grinding methods, Blanchard Grinding removes large amounts of stock quickly and efficiently.


Why does these posting come up every few weeks or so?

Given all the publicity, I would be very surprised if anyone else is going to send a deposit on one of Lou’s new presses. Any chance we can just sit back and wait to see if the ones that have already been ordered are delivered (and work) before we rehash Lou’s criminal history all over again?

A note from an “old-timer”:

We are not confused about the benefit of grinding metal, in general…such as the turning of brake rotors that have been causing your brakes to pulsate. This is a necessary fix. NOTE: “NECESSARY FIX”. See how much effort Lou put into the response to include technical details that might be germane to a machinist for some metal-machining operation but are totally irrelevant when it comes to press restoration. In other words, the numbers that Lou throws around—the technical speak—is all just a distraction to make his operations sound legitimate. How about a further explanation of how those tolerances (which he only indicated are possible when grinding metal—not necessarily beneficial to presses) will positively affect the press and its capabilities. Notice how that’s missing? If he includes that in subsequent notes, it will be because he’s taking cues from this complaint to strengthen his argument. Grifter. Please remember, Lou has plenty of background in machining but zero background in printing and an understanding of letterpress function and printing processes—which would translate directly to understanding what does and does not need to be done to presses to make them print properly after a rehab.

No, a paint job is not all that is necessary, however, and I say this again, what Lou wants you to believe is that “grinding” and many other mysterious machining techniques are necessary when they really aren’t. Not only does Lou drive up the cost of his services, he also tries to minimize the services of “the old-timers” (who certainly don’t know anything after doing this for 40 years…jeez…how could we?) Once again, common sense check: Who has money to gain from this? Also, how is it that so many people have been successful in restoring presses without the techniques Lou suggests “improve” the press? Last and once more—how about less technical machining data and more evidence of actual usability of the presses? How about some test proofs from each of the presses you’ve sold?

Don’t hold your breath, folks…it’s never going to happen…though I would welcome it—especially if it included Lou’s customer’s sign-off of said proofs.

Be careful…

Sorry to add more, but this should be very telling. Please refer to Lou’s last paragraph of the note he sent. Lou did not write that note…and surprise…no attribution. These links are likely where that copy came from:




I suppose what we’ll here from Lou is that he was only forwarding consumable information, right? That he never intended to convey it as his own? More distraction, more verbal currency…keep your eyes on the ball, folks.

Also, Lou, no one is irked by you trying to make a living selling presses or trying to sell high-quality re-habs. There are many people out there doing that—isn’t it funny that they don’t catch the flak you do? There is a reason—they do it well and with honor, integrity and honesty…you don’t. Also, if all of your presses are superior, why so many complaints? Just do us all a favor and find a new profession—this community is not going to let you drag all of the rest of us into your sink-hole…exist there yourself and stop pretending that you are part of this community, which is honest, earnest, helpful and trusting. You are an affront to these values and we won’t tolerate it. You and anyone directly or indirectly associated with you should understand that you are now tapping a dry hole.

Best of luck.