Bought a SP-15, time to move it...

  • user warning: Table './briarpress/variable' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: LOCK TABLES variable WRITE in /home/briarpress/httpdocs/includes/ on line 172.
  • user warning: Table './briarpress/variable' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: DELETE FROM variable WHERE name = 'forum_nav_vocabulary' in /home/briarpress/httpdocs/includes/ on line 172.
  • user warning: Table './briarpress/variable' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: INSERT INTO variable (name, value) VALUES ('forum_nav_vocabulary', 's:2:\"10\";') in /home/briarpress/httpdocs/includes/ on line 172.
  • user warning: Table './briarpress/cache' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: DELETE FROM cache WHERE cid = 'variables' in /home/briarpress/httpdocs/includes/ on line 172.

Hi Briar Press,

after four years of owning and working with a variety of tabletop presses, with much guidance from this lovely community, I’ve taken the plunge and bought my first Vandercook… and I am collecting it next weekend. This will be the second Norway-based Vandercook in the census once I get to read the serial number!

The press is located a 7 hour drive from my place, in a private residence and needs to go down a 8-10 step staircase.

The press is an SP-15 with automatic inking, which according to my research puts it somewhere north of 700 pounds. The owner says he was able to get it into the house with 4 guys after removing the carriage. Luckily, I was travelling to its location anyways for a week, and will have some friends on hand to help. With manpower, a come-along, plenty of straps and planks I don’t think the stairs should be too much trouble.

However, I only own a small, open trailer, and with a 7 hour return journey over mountains (roads of varying quality) and across multiple fjords (i.e. ferries), I am fairly sceptical towards the prospect of strapping such a top-heavy press on the back upright and setting off.

Does anyone have experience transporting a Vandercook (SP-15 or other) lying on its rear-facing side? Obviously skidded, strapped and with planks to account for protrusions…

Or, should I just pony up and rent the box trailer for the journey?

Also, when removing the carriage, any advice on marking gears etc. to make it easy to get back on?



Hi guys and gals, its been a

Hi guys and gals,

its been a while since I last posted in this thread, so here is an update with some of the clean-up work that had to be done.

While the working surfaces of the press were virtually untouched, the inside of the cabinet and the roller-carriage had clearly never been cleaned. Note the strip of drip/spatter on the back of the rear-panel.

There was a gap in the ink spatter at the back of one of the shelves shaped like the wrench that had been lying there. :p

The roller carriage showed signs that the previous owner had, at some point, used the press as a stand for some woodworking, ensuring that the greasy and oily bits and bobs were also covered in a fine sawdust. But with some work, it cleaned up nicely and got some fresh, clean lubrication.

I fired the press up a few weeks back and it printed wonderfully.


I bought my press in France,

I bought my press in France, hence the 0.928 or 23.56 mm. All my type is German/French (standard) type height, so no problem there. Recently I acquired a Korrex press as well, to Dutch type height, 24.85 mm. For this press I got a sheet of 1.25 mm brass that I positioned on the bed. No problem there either.

du kan köpa från amundsen

du kan köpa från amundsen vals service ab dom har kontor i sverige och norge dom har mycket bra kvalitet med heidelberg standard.

Hi Thomas, you are correct,

Hi Thomas, you are correct, I am in Norway. Thank you for the advice.

I noticed on the Vandercook census that you also own a press with a .928 bed. Have you printed with .918 type and did you make any adjustments to do so?

Good idea asking Jens if he knows a vendor. I suddenly have four rollers to recover. :)

Kimaboe, I reckon that

Kimaboe, I reckon that you’re in a Scandinavian countries, Norway probably… I’m based in the Netherlands and had my rollers for my Vandercook covered here in the country by a company that is used to dealing with letterpress printers. I had a slightly tougher rubber put onto my cores, as I’m printing with polymer and type. Members of Drukwerk in de Marge will get a discount with them as well. You can also go through Drucken-und-Lernen in Germany, they offer a roller recovering service as well. And maybe you should also ask Jens in Denmark where he gets his rollers covered.

Nice one! It looks like a

Nice one! It looks like a beefed up Golding Official!

An opportunity presented

An opportunity presented itself and I couldn’t resist buying this beauty, made Emil Kahle Maschinenfabrik. This thing is incredibly heavy and extremely robust compared to some of the other tabletops I’ve owned.

Besides a thick layer of dust it is in great shape.

I’ll be printing mainly

I’ll be printing mainly photopolymer, woodcuts and wood type.

The rollers are supposed to be 2.5” IIRC.

I would first try any

I would first try any company that recovers offset litho press rollers…….check vanderblog web site for specs, i think thry are 3’, what shore 25-30 depends are you printing from polymer and cold metal…………..

I’ll be going into full

I’ll be going into full service mode over the next few weeks since I want to get it printing again as quickly as possible. I’ll probably create a separate thread for asking about these steps.

I’ll also need new form rollers so I’d love to hear recommendations for European vendors that you guys and gals have had success with! :)

Thanks again,

congrats-now is the time to

congrats-now is the time to really take it apart and service, oil and grease it all up> I really recommend checking the bearings on the ink drum and greasing these up, this is the place least greased by owners, don’t take a chance.Once these start to wear, ink drum wobbles all over the place, and it needs to be level with the press bed and cylinder.
When re-assembled, check any chassis bolts , put some vinyl pads/easycut lino/greyboard under neath the feet, check for level in x and y dimensions.

A shot of where I thought

A shot of where I thought the serial should be…

With this space blank and a missing plate on the end, is there anywhere else to find a serial?

Photos: First the carriage


First the carriage had to come off. Two of my friends had to leave early today and weren’t able to help, so we had to lighten the load as much as possible.

Secondly, the press was in a small storage area at the far back of the house. We carried it outside to get it ready for the stairs.

Third, I put 2x4s under the press with stops at each end to protect the press, the old owner’s pavement, and to keep it from sliding off when going down the stairs and into the truck. This frame was then strapped securely to the press using three ratcheting straps, each rated at 1000kg.

Here I became way to busy sliding the press down the stairs to take photos. But essentially we had two 2x8s laid down the stair, and the four of us slid it down those with almost no effort.

Lastly, the press was in the car. Two 2x8s were used as a ramp and we pushed it up and in.

Everything was strapped solid as a rock, to six anchor points in the car. Drove for an hour and a half back to town, through dozens of roundabouts and shaky roads and there was no slack in any of the straps.

I’m very happy that I have a forklift back home, to help get it back out of the truck.

The press looks pretty good, albeit grimy and oily from years of use and subsequent disuse. One side of the cabinet is fairly rusty, but it looks to be surface rust that a good evapo-rust bath will eat right up. The bed etc. all look to be rust free. A pretty amazing deal, considering what I paid.

I was unable to see the serial-number on the bed and the plate has been lost. I thought the serial should be at the front right when facing the press, am I wrong?

That’s great to hear.

That’s great to hear. Lookin’ forward to those photos!

Good news: got the press

Good news: got the press loaded today.

The stairs proved to be the easiest part of the move, a lot less steep than I had feared, with long steps. Sliding the press down a pair of planks made it an easy operation.

I carried the press with four people including myself. Getting it into the van (couldn’t find a suitable trailer in time) was the toughest part, but we managed without too much trouble and then strapped the hell out of it to the van’s anchor points.

Still have a long, cautious drive home next weekend, but the toughest part is over.

I’ll post some photos tonight. Thanks for all the tips!


Thanks Fritz, I noticed this

Thanks Fritz, I noticed this propensity while reading up on press-moves :)

One comment: Remove the

One comment: Remove the handle from the cylinder before moving the press or removing the cylinder. There is one set screw and a taper pin. There are no replacement handles available and since the SP-15 is top heavy, they tend to tip over, and there goes the handle. If there is one thing that is consistent in Vandercook press moves, in the 19 years I have been providing replacement parts, it is that people break handles.

Definitely sliding it down.

Definitely sliding it down. Ideally there’ll be just enough friction that we’ll have to push it a bit to get it going, but this depends on the angle of the stairs.

hi-from your second reply I

hi-from your second reply I am not too sure if you are lowering it down the ramp with the wheels attatched, or sliding the press down the ramp without wheels-I’d prefer the latter, in case wheels get knocked. fall off if not strapped on, press might start to move sideways. if there is friction it is easier to adjust press position laterally, take a breather etc…..

To lower large heavy things

To lower large heavy things down stairs (e.g. cast iron bath tub), I’ve used climbing and caving ropes and abseiling devices (figure of eight descender or rapel rack descender) along with plywood or timber as outlined upthread. If you consider this option, static rather than dynamic ropes are best as they have far less stretch. Cavers’ SRT [= single rope technique] ropes are static ropes; climbers’ ropes are dynamic ropes.

Thanks for the tool-kit

Thanks for the tool-kit description Daniel,

the feedboard and paper shelves were taken off by the owner when he stored the press. The carriage will probably have to come off, so it’ll be marked, removed and palleted.

I’ll have four guys + myself and (I think) a pretty good strategy for the move.

First lift each side onto a pair of wheeled bases and wheel it to the stairs, then make a ramp with 2x8s or 1” plywood for moving it down. I’m waiting for the previous owner to send me some photos of the stairs to see what options we have for attaching a cable puller to slowly lower it down the ramp. Then ramp it into the trailer onto a suitable pallet and strap and support the hell out of it. I believe the trailer I’m renting has anchor points both in the floor and sides which will come in handy.

Thanks again for all the suggestions, I’ll make sure to take photos of the process. :)


If you take a set of Allen

If you take a set of Allen wrenches, a flathead screwdriver and an adjustable crescent wrench you can remove the feed board (and any paper shelves that might be below it) and the cylinder assembly. The stops at the bed end are affixed with three bolts each and removal of these will allow you to run the cylinder off the end of the press. This is a 2 person job. Wear work gloves- plenty of things that want to pinch you there.

The rest of the press is still about 500 lbs so make sure you have a solid strategy for the stairs.


You might consider building

You might consider building a simple wooden frame, like parallel 2x2s or 2x4s with two or three 2x4 cross pieces above, that you can drop over the bed of the press to anchor the tie-downs to (I would be inclined to use nylon strap tiedowns with ratchets and fasten the straps to the wooden jig). This should prevent slippage of the press under the tiedown straps which would allow it to tip over. Also be sure the trailer you use has strong places to hook the tiedowns into along the sides, and either a very wide tread or very stiff springs or both, to keep the tendency to roll under control.


Hi Jonathan, I’m assuming

Hi Jonathan,

I’m assuming the stairs are lumber, since it is that long and to a private residence. The owner said he and three others carried it in after removing the carriage. I’m thinking we’ll lay down a couple of planks or a board and then using a pulley system to send it slowly down the stairs.

My initial thought was that I could build a pallet for laying the table down, which supported the weight on the side of the table. Then strapping it securely. But after getting a few emails from BP members with their experiences, I’m thinking I’ll aim to move it upright, which means renting a box-trailer. I’ve found and been sent some photos showing ways to secure it upright. I’ll make sure to stop and re-tension everything frequently.


i have helped unload/move a

i have helped unload/move a similar Uk version “western” no 4 press from a low trailer towed by a van, not easy. Cylinder strapped to middle of the press(less feedboard etc), press on pallet. Cylinder moved to feedboard end, secured, it was just about possible to balance it on a pallet , heavy end on pallet truck handle end ,on a long pallet truck.Better to have strapped it down to truck I think. But that was on the level. Then sequentially pumping up a bit. lower a bit onto a pile of blocks on each corner, pump a bit , lower again etc etc, bar it into position.
But going downstairs- I would remove the cylinder, ink drum can fairly easily be lifted out after unscrewing cone bearings into drum after that has been secured/strapped to cylinder before that is removed, or lumber rested on bearers, to stop it dropping down into chassis of bed. good to re-grease them anyway-when were they last done as their are no oil points here, I use car cv joint lightweight grease seems good.Keep press upright. ask seller how he got it up stairs, what are stairs made of concrete or timber etc…………..take spare lumber, maybe thin wood/hardboard so press can rest on that to “slide” down scaffolding planks etc.You don’t want to damage mechanisms on cylinder and side of press-difficult to bend back, not too long to unbolt these anyways, cylinder chassisin any way by getting it out of square.
It will all be heavier than you think.
Ensure car/transport/press/personal insurance insurance covers it all.

Hi Kimaboe, Having

Hi Kimaboe,

Having purchased a couple of Vandercooks and seen what goes into moving them I know it is not an easy task, no matter what the modal.

I would recommend posting this on Vanderblog: to get additional perspective on this as well. Good luck!

Kim, If you can call me, I

If you can call me, I will be able to send you some pix and ideas. I moved a Uni 1 this summer.
I can’t help with the carriage instruction because I didn’t remove mine. Paul Moxon at should be able to help you with that.

Steve Varvaro
SV[email protected]