What’s best and cost effective?

Hi fellow artists,

At my university in my art studies I just discovered letterpress!! I’m so excited, and I’d really like to have my own to continue working with the beautiful trade that is letterpress, but, as new as I am, I don’t know where to look to purchase a beginner press?

I realize there’s a classified page, and I was looking through some of the Kelsey presses, but they are quite over budget at this time. Does anyone have any insight to a company that provides affordable yet reliable table top machines? Any and all insight is greatly appreciated.

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OK - where are you located?

You will want to seek out regional resources like Museums, workshops, and equipment dealers; but in order to point you in the right direction, we need to know where you are.

Thanks for the response! The Phoenix metro area in Arizona

I have also just discovered Letterpress and am interested in the same questions - only question i would like to add is the ability to cover 8”/10” paper as well as small stock such as business cards and all sizes between - what machine would be best for this? - i am in the tri-state NYC,NJ,CT area..
much thanks, Alex

Table top presses are relatively expensive because they are portable - you often have to pay as much for a Kelsey 6x10 as you would a floor model platen. You may want to visit a printing museum and get a better idea of what is involved. The press is often just half the cost - you will need lots of other bits to make it all come together (type, furniture, ink, spacing, polymer base, cabinets, cutters, etc.).

There is no “best size” or “best kind” of press - platens work differently than cylinders, and each has advantages and disadvantages. A very desirable starter press is the 8x12 C&P platen, which can cost between $800 - $1200, depending on location and condition - but you should never outgrow it.

#tparks1 - The International Printing Museum in Los Angeles (http://www.printmuseum.org/) is a very good resource for equipment. They have regular sales, and a source of good information and connections.

#strayframe - you are very lucky to be close to John Barrett’s “Letterpress Things” in Chicopee MA (http://www.letterpressthings.com/), as well as the South Street Seaport Museum in NY. The Museum of Printing in N. Andover MA (http://www.museumofprinting.org/) also has regular sales.

thank you so much for your help, I’m truly grateful!