Help Needed with C&P 8x12 Platen Press


I have always had a deep rooted obsession with letterpress. I have interned at a Studio in Brooklyn, as well as taken a few beginners courses. Finally, I took the plunge and just purchased a C&P 8x12 Platen Press. I am still VERY new to the letterpress world and am searching for someone to come and take a look at my press and tell me if anything is / what is required to make my press fully operational, as well as provide a tutorial of sorts on how to use my particular press. I have attached photos and am in based in Manhattan. All and any help is most appreciated!

Thank you—

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One of the first things to know is to never park the rollers on the ink disc, or on the printing form in the bed — they should always be left in a location where nothing is touching the roller surface, to avoid deforming them.

You should have no trouble finding someone to show you how to get the press ready to print (it looks to be complete) and how to get yourself ready to print with it. You could also check with the Center for Book Arts in Manhattan — you can take workshops or courses there to learn.


The Arm, I think they are really close to you, they give lessons and have classes, you should be able to get contact info in the yellow pages on this site. Good Luck

Nice looking press. Is there a treadle for this press? I don’t see it in the picture. Hern Iron Works manufactures them, or you could make a wooden one.

Congratulations on your new press. Looks like a beaut. I’d recommend 2x4, 2x6, or 4x4 skids under the feet once you get it off the pallet. I bevel mine so the press is easier to put up on pipes for easy transport on a flat surface.

You’ll need either a treadle or a motor to make it operational. Personally, I like a treadle, but the archives will provide plenty of info for/against either.

Find the oil chart and get some 30 wt non-detergent oil and use them often.

Set some type; put some ink on the disk and see what happens.

Thank you for all of the advice! It definitely looks like there is no treadle in the picture above, but I have attached another to show that there is. Odd!

The oil chart is a bit over my head at the moment. What would be ideal, is if I could find someone willing to provide somewhat of a private tutorial for my particular press? To help me learn the ins & outs, technical terms, etc. I will continue to look into more classes in the mean time.

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That certainly is a treadle. The oil chart is not that intimidating just hold it in your hand not holding the oil can.

You’re welcome to come here for a few show and tell sessions, but East Lansing is a bit of a hike from Manhattan.

C&P’s are beautifully simple yet fickle workhorses. We love them as much as a fanciful Heidelberg.

You’ll see little holes for the oiling ports at basically every point where a shaft and cam connect. Oil at those points, give some hand turns in a couple full rotations in each direction then a quick wipe to get any excess oil off. Oil and paper dust make for a near concrete substance if left alone long enough.

The most important part is to play with is. Don’t ever push it too hard, but enjoy it. Love it.