C&P die cutting - thoughts? (+ pics)

I bought my first standing press - a C&P 10x15! The person I purchased it from also has a C&P 12x18 - made in 1913, moves freely, was kept oiled despite being stored unused for many, many years.

It has a refurb tag on it, and based on what I know it may have never been used for a run after being refurb’d. The two presses were given to a high school to use in a print class, but were deemed unsafe. This guy purchased them at scrap price from the school in the early 70’s and they have been sitting ever since - oiled but never used. The presses have surface rust and were (poorly) painted at one time. They some TLC - new feedboards, etc. but nothing beyond my abilities or willingness.

We could only haul the10x15 on the trailer that we took with us, but I was so saddened to leave the 12x18 all alone and most likely destined for a scrap heap somewhere.

I don’t see a need for two C&Ps…. unless I use one for printing and one for die cutting. I spent some time going through the forums here reading everything from “you would be crazy to die cut on a C&P” to “I’m not sure why more people don’t do it.”

So the real questions here…
1. Is it worth acquiring a second C&P just for the purpose of die cutting?
2. Any thoughts on a starting offer to make for this 12x18? There is a motor, no treadle. Will need a few things (as mentioned above).

I don’t want to see this thing get hauled away for scrap! I would love to have these two lovelies sitting next to each other for my own use. But I also want to be realistic on if I would actually USE them both, and if the 12x18 it is suitable for die cutting purposes or not. If it’s not realistic I am going to try to find someone else interested in giving this 12x18 a home.

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Log in to reply   11 replies so far

If it is destined for scrap..offer a bit more than scrap. The 12x18 is certainly capable of die cutting. Takes up a lot of floor space, though so you may want to be sure you’ll do enough die cutting to make it worthwhile.

The other possibility is to buy it with the intent of passing it on to another printer. I’ve certainly done that often enough and usually broken even or maybe a bit ahead.

Nothing to add. Just wanted to second what Arie said.

Don’t let it go to scrap.


I have a vibrator for a 12x18 C & P if you save the press! Please don’t let it go to scrap!!

Bill - Please elaborate on what a vibrator is for on a press. I’m sure you can imagine what a Google search returned, even when I looked for “printing press vibrator” and “vibrator part for printing press” and “letterpress machinery vibrator.”

It is a metal roller that helps distribute the ink more evenly. A vibrator is what the press mechanic called it at the time.


Bill - Thank you - very helpful!

So is the general consensus that this would be a good press for die cutting? Or that I should find it a new home?

I would give it a good home & save it from the scrap yard
James ‘Mac’ McGraw

It’s a fine press for die cutting… if you plan to do enough die cutting to justify a dedicated press (and the space it requires).

If you decide you don’t need it please try to find someone who might.


If you ever start to play with linoleum block and wood type, you’ll be wishing you had that 12 x 18. Yes, it’s bigger and eats space, but it will almost double the impression force available.

If nothing else, you’ll have trading goods, and will have made somebody elses day, down the road.

Give it a good home and I’ll send the vibrator along!