Is this a good press for a beginner?

Hello! This is my first post. I am a first time buyer and am looking to buy a press. I have never letterpressed before. Does this look like a suitable press, in good condition? Are there any specific questions I should ask the seller? I do know it needs new rollers, though. Thanks!

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I had seen that listing too. At the moment, it certainly seems like a reasonable price for a nice little press. I have two larger Craftsmen presses and like them. Lots of people claim that they’re not quite as well made as the presses they imitate (which might be true; don’t have enough experience in comparisons to say definitively). This one, I believe, is based on the Golding and/or Sigwalt 5x8 models.

One advantage they certainly have over comparable models is that Craftsmen Machinery Co. is still in business. While they no longer manufacture letterpress printing presses, they still have some parts for many of the presses they used to make and could probably provide you with the rollers you’d need to get this one up and running.

One nice little advantage to this press in particular is that since the action of the lever is transferred to the platen by going under the chase bed instead of around the outside of it (like in C&P Pilots and most other Craftsmen presses), you can print larger sheets on it without the arms getting in the way. This in no way changes the size of the press’s available printing area, but if you practice up on registration, you might be able to use that feature to your advantage on some projects.

Here are a couple of Briar Press threads I came across
concerning similar presses to this one:

Also, where are you located? If the seller is shipping that thing, make sure he/she is very careful about the crating/packing. There are enough sad stories about brittle cast iron breaking due to rough handling in transit.

Good luck in your press search.

Thanks for all your info/advice! I am located in Ohio. The thought about shipping crossed my mind too, so I did send the seller an email asking the method of their shipping. Does anyone have any recomendations on what would be the safest way to ship? Thanks again!

Alan Runfeldt at Excelsior Press offers this advice on packing:

Depending on the part of Ohio you’re in, you might consider driving to pick it up just to be sure.

as a buyer of a portable press, not as nice as this one, just plan on the price skyrocketing in the last few seconds. Hope you get it!


Did you win your press?