Press change

I’ve been printing for the last five or so years on Vandercooks and have a 320G in my studio. I’m looking to downsize (I’d love an SP15), but as you all know, smaller cylinder presses are more expensive and harder to come by these days.

That said, a C and P has recently become available to me and I was thinking about trying it out. I think I know some of the inherent differences between the two, but I’d love to hear some folks weigh in on the pros/cons of either, and on the safety factor of a motorized 8x12 platen.


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Hi W…. there are a lot of differences between the Vandercook World, and the C&P world. Since you are an experienced Vandercook printer, I’d recommend staying with flatbed presses. Yes, the small ones are rather pricey….. but that would allow you to use all of your skills to best advantage. One press you could look into would be a Poco proof press. they aren’t Vandy’s… but they are still great.

The problem I have with recommending motorized C&P’s is that they are a lot more prone to bite you badly than a Vandercook. I’ve seen a couple of fingers lost on those beasts through the years…. so I’m always cautious about them.

One good alternative to a motorized C&P is a nice Pilot or Craftsmen tabletop. They are GREAT. I found and refurbed one a few years ago….. and wouldn’t trade it for all of the tea in china. It does whatever I ask it to do….. and seems a lot safer to me.

A variable-speed C&P is easy to learn and progress with.

At treadle-speeds, a C&P can easily double your output; at a moderate clip, it might deliver 3x or 4x the goods in the same time.

If your business is keeping you up late printing, the C&P might be the next level. No posters or broadsides like the vandy, but still has the zen of craftwork with production volumes.

I am a MBO guy. Management by Objective.
What you wish to print should dictate what press you use.
There is some crossover between the cylinder press and the platen. The platen press was designed to be a production press. The Vandercook evolved from a proof press.
If you do not need to do large solids and do not do smash printing, the 8 X 12 C & P is a very sweet press. If you obey the rules, it is safe. Roller skates and sharp knives and boiling pots on the stove can be dangerous. There are rules.
I learned to print on a 10 X 15 in school many years ago. They would not be allowed today. We learned rules and followed them. No one was hurt. You must respect the machine. It has no feelings for you.
It would be very best for you to learn from an experienced and safe pressman.
Say where you are and perhaps you can make a good contact. I am in California and teach printing.
Get some ink on your shirt.

All equipment in a small or large print shop will hurt you. I have been hurt a few times using a Vandercook by forgetting my hands was in the way.

The main thing to remember is all ways take the time to understand the moving parts and how they work together.

Number ONE rule around equipment, never use it when you are tried or stressed out.