help deciding which to purchase

Hi there!

I’m a graphic designer looking to invest in a small press to learn the ins-and-outs of letter-pressing. My goal is to first be able to simply learn the basics of maintaining a press; mixing inks, packing papers, lining things up right, etc. I want to make business cards and invitations for personal projects and potentially small QTYs for clients.

I have the opportunity to purchase either:

- Chandler & Price Old Style Pilot Press (6.5x10” chase) -
- Chandler & Price New Series Pilot Press (6.5x10” chase)
- No-Name Pilot Press (6.5x10” chase)
- Adana* Eight Five 5x8” Platen Press

* this one was my original thought but I don’t think I’d be able to print 5x7 invitations on it and I’d really want to…even if just for a mock u before sending my clients to a proper studio that uses a Heidelberg.

Any recommendations of what you guys think I should do?

I’d appreciate it!


Log in to reply   3 replies so far


Would you purchase a used car by mail order? Probably not. You would want to kick the tires and perhaps have a mechanic look it over and take it for a test drive. A press is kind of like the used car. Just because the machine has a good name does not mean is a good buy. You need a mechanically sound machine that is well adjusted and in the hands of a skilled printer to do good work.

The larger machine is better as you will always want larger.
A 5 x 7 is really pushing the 6.5 x 10 capabilities. That size might be better done in two parts.

You could perhaps teach yourself to fly a plane or do other skilled tasks, but it is much better to be instructed at the hands of an experienced teacher. Say where you are. There are old experienced printers who would be happy to infect new students in this ancient craft. I would - and do.

There are a couple of old texts available in reprints that are good, but hands on instruction is the best.

Good luck and

get some ink on your shirt

Hi there!

@inky you’r comment make me laugh - you’re funny! I’m in Montreal and I’d LOVE to be taught by an experienced individual who was willing to help me out. I’ve found a machine in Toronto and I agree, this one I will be able to go see before I make any decisions. That said, I’m very eager and don’t know too many people that would be able to give me much insight!

Where are you located?

Thanks for your reply and I plan to get ink on my shirt and shoes!


Hi Sarah, I’m a letterpress printer in Montreal and would be happy to help you on your journey! Just message me if you need some advice! I can show you the basics and help for moving a press also!