Moving a Vandercook 317

I know this subject has been covered before (and I assure you I am reading and re-reading the previous discussions on the topic) - but wanted to ask again for any other advice as it will be my first big press move.

I’m getting ready to relocate across the country (CA to NJ) and hoping to bring my Vandercook 317 and smaller Craftsman 4x6 presses with me. I’m considering hiring the Hicks Brothers (or similar) to package it all up and load it in CA and would likely look for a rigging company in NJ to unload it. A few questions I have:

- If I coordinate riggers on either end, could the press go on the moving truck with the rest of my stuff? I likely wouldn’t trust the regular movers to load/unload it (tell me if I’m wrong here) - but hoping I could at least use the same truck for transportation and it would be safe?
- If I shouldn’t try to coordinate it on the truck with the rest of my stuff, what kind of company should I look for to do the long-distance move?
- Anything I should watch for or keep in mind to ensure it arrives safely at the other end? Anything I should insist is done when packing it up?
- Any suggestions for companies with experience moving presses in / around the NJ/NYC area? Or even SF Bay area (if I wanted to price it out)?
- Any idea on how much this is going to cost me? I love my press and want to keep it with me forever. What a wonderfully costly hobby I’ve chosen! I know it won’t be cheap - just trying to get a sense of what other moves have cost others so I can set my own expectations.

Thanks, as always, for the insight and advice!

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We just moved a press from CT to NJ. Mariano Brothers came recommended to me by the previous press owner and they were excellent. They do a lot of work in NYC and northern NJ. I would call and ask them their ideas how to move the press from CA to NJ if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself. If you’re moving to/from residential you will need a lift gate truck and that’s not likely going to be what a standard mover uses.

We’re in NJ - would love to know more about where you plan to move. Fellow letterpress lovers are welcome here!


Hey Mike- congrats on the Colts Armory platen. I know that warehouse well!


Thanks! It’s an honor to be a steward of the Colts Armory. It’s a really fascinating and amazing machine.

Thanks so much for the recommendation, Mike! I’m going to reach out to them this week to get some input. It’s (pretty likely) a garage-to-garage move, so I’ll have to figure something out so that we can get it on the truck (and/or coordinate a totally separate freight truck).

Where can I find you guys in NJ? We’re looking at areas just outside NYC (probably Montclair-ish). I’m always happy to find other letterpress lovers! Plus, I need to rebuild my local print partnerships if you do anything beyond letterpress as I often outsource printing if my job is outside the scope of what I can handle on the Vandercook. :)

Thanks again!


answers to your questions:

- i would not recommend having the press on the same truck.
- for alternatives to your moving truck you’ll need to research some LTL (less than truckload) options. basically you feed in density (weight and volume measurements) and companies will quote you a rate. new sites like can even permit you to post a job and have companies bid on the move. note: if you don’t have loading docks/forklifts on both ends then it’ll cost more.
- as long as it’s crated properly you should be fine. it will most likely get moved around on several trucks across a long haul like that. so a well built crate/pallet is essential
- you can always google “machinery movers” on both ends to obtain some quotes. hicks is great but they’re also pricey. where are you in the bay area?
- rough estimate (without knowing where it current is or going—i.e., stairs) for hiring movers on both ends + freight costs would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1200ish

Thanks for the input, Gregory.

It’s moving from my garage in Mountain View, CA (no stairs) and likely to another garage in Montclair, NJ (that piece still pending as we look for places).

Any leads on machinery movers on either end who have experience with presses are appreciated! Otherwise, I’ll Google - but it’s always nice to hear referrals for reputable companies or places with experience specifically for printing equipment.

I tried Mariano Brothers, but since they are based in CT they sent me away. I may try again to see if I can speak with someone else.

Thanks again!

We just moved a press from Pasadena to an Island just outside of Seattle. We used Orange County Crating, who did a great job, and they also arranged shipping for us. They were super helpful and responsive, and the press arrived in good condition. It was about $775 to crate, insure and ship it, if that info helps.

It does! Thanks!