Advice please about buying an adana 6x4

Hi there,

I’m new to letterpress (I’ve taken a class using a tabletop c&p and the big heidelberg but that’s it) and i’m thinking of buying this adana 6x4:—Good-Condi.... I can’t go visit it as it’s in England and I’m in the Czech Republic. I was also looking at an 8x5 which is of course quite a bit more but still less than if you purchased one from Caslon. Since I’ll be moving back to the US in a couple years it seems easier to ship a 6x4 than an 8x5 and for that I’m willing to sacrifice the smaller print space. I don’t see a lot of adanas in the US (as I believe they were only made in Great Britain) but I’m hoping it would be able to find any replacement parts online once I’m in the US. Does anyone have any advice about a beginner using the adana 6x4? Thank you!

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Ask the person who is selling it what version it is by looking at the casting at the handle end. If it reads H/S 2 it is an early iron main frame weighing about 15 kilo and if it reads H.S.2 it is the later alloy body version weighing about 10 Kilo.
In addition to the missing ink disk the pawl that pushes it round is missing and there are no packing clips.
Without a disc it cannot be checked for wear at the socket in which the ink disk sits. One problem is previous owners not oiling the spindle, the socket/spindle wears away and the disc then rocks as the rollers go over and the disc won’t turn as it is rubbing on the bearer chase.
The disc would be about £40 from Caslon and about the same for rollers + postage. The pawl you will have to get manufactured and for packing clips I use the small plastic air control clips from my local aquarium shop.
If you don’t mind not having a complete press you can hand roller your forme. I know a person who uses their Adana No2 to print lino cuts and he hand inks.
The manual for the press you will find on this site.

Hi LindseyC,

I really would not recommend buying this for a first press. First, it is pretty expensive and seems a bit of a rip-off for an old dirty incomplete HS2. I would be worried that more is missing than is stated or that it is very worn. It is also quite difficult to hand ink these small vertical platens (as others have found out on this site); there is little room to get a hand roller in.
Spare parts for the HS2 are not that easy to find on ebay, although Caslon may have some, but they will not be cheap. Thus, I would recommend you go for a complete 8x5: not much larger and only a little heavier, but much more capable and better built than an HS2.

Hi LindseyC, I just wanted to back up what the others have said - this seems very pricey for a HS2, I’ve bought two of the same model on eBay in the last couple of months and haven’t paid over £80 for either of them, and they have both been complete (i.e. with the ink disc, but not rollers).

I use Elli Evans for rollers - here:
They are good quality and a competitive price.

I would go for an 8x5 to start with - a bit more robust, and easier to get ones head around. It might be that mine are just temperamental, but I find my 8x5s more responsive and somehow less cumbersome than my HS2s.

Again, watch out with the prices of 8x5s as there are some that get listed for ridiculous prices (£500, £800, and I even saw one for £1000 last week!). I bought one 8x5 for £300 with a load of kit, and then my second one was £150, it just needed cleaning up a bit, so it really is worth looking around a bit and keeping an eye on some before plumping for one.

Give me a shout if I can be of any other assistance. I haven’t been going very long myself, but I have a pretty good idea of the prices these things come out at online.

Thank you all so much for your insight. The same seller has an 8x5 for about 450 GBP and there’s another for sale now for 475 but from what I’m hearing I should aim for lower than that so I’ll keep an eye out. I would think I’d be able to find something in the Czech Republic as they have a very beloved historical Czech Printer and a huge printing exhibit at their technical museum but nothing so far. Thank you all again, very much appreciated!

check with the museum you mentioned, a lot of old equipment lives there and it attracts old printers, ask around the museum and you might find someone who knows where to find a press locally.

Also keep an eye on the British Printing Society website - you might want to post a wanted advertisement on their forum. Traditionally the BPS was very Adana orientated (especially eight-fives) and their monthly magazine continues to advertise Adana presses (especially eight-fives) quite frequently. These advertisements seem to be either GBP100 / 150 (often with additional equipment included) or, occasionally, pressses are offered free to a good home.

Bear in mind that replacing missing roller spindles / cores, missing trucks / roller runners, and missing chases can add quite a bit of cost to an apparent bargain press.

Perfect - I’ll definitely check that out. Thank you all for being so helpful!

if you buy the 8 x 5, in a couple of years it surely would have paid for itself, sell it before you go to the States, you will save freightage, do this and with your earned income, and experience could go towards a C and P for example when you arrive.

sent you some emails re several presses on at the moment, incl an Adana, plus small tiegel etc eg Boston