Sigwalt Chicago #10 or #11

I was just wondering if a Sigwalt Chicago #10 or #11 is a good letterpress machine for a complete beginner to learn on? Is the plate/chase big enough to print greeting cards? Also, can you use a Boxcar plate or something similar on this machine?

Many thanks for your guidance


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It’s really far too small for any practical use. You won’t be able to do much, aside from printing simple business cards, or an occasional bookplate. They are fantastic and beautiful presses to have in your collection, or do a bit of imprinting at craft fairs, but you’ll be better off with something larger, and with a bit more strength. The C&P Pilot, 5x8 Kelsey or an Adana would make a much better first press.

Having said that, yes, you can use a boxcar base on a #10 sigwalt. It’s chase size measures to 2 1/2 x 3 3/4 inches, so it’ll need to be cut to something smaller then that.

If you just can’t let go of the ornate beauty of the Siwalt line, consider Siwalt Ideal # 24 with a good 5x7 chase and a powerful side-lever + all the gold striping and elegance found on smaller machines.

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chase size 2.5” x 4” , paper size 3”x 4.75”
The press it self has pressure adjustments screws and is used just like any self inking press. any deep impression will be limited to maybe one line of small type, Copied from the old Baltimore’s and designed for business people to make there own calling card with a few lines of type. little small for standard box car bases, I am sure they would cut one down. Nothing is going to print with out a quality set of rollers and a good moving and working press, some restoration is almost always required. Any press you get you will always want bigger press, it was my first press. Very addicting.

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