Maximum size of Boxcar base for C&P 10x15

I need to purchase a base for our C&P 10x15. I was told to make sure that the base be 1.5” under chase size.
That would make the base an 8.5” x 13.5” size.
What are the pros and cons of have the base be maximum size to the chase. We are new to letterpress. I just do not want to make such a hefty purchase and find out I made a hefty mistake. It would mean that we purchase the large 12” x16” base and have both side cut down to the max. Boxcar said that they would include the scrap in the shipment.

Boxcar said that most people purchase 9x12 and go with it.
I have also read that there are sweet spots on the platen. Would have a maxed out base be a waste because of poor impression on the edges?
All thoughts and input are welcome and appreciated.

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MBO Manage by Objective

What are you going to print? This will tell you what size base you need.

Conventional gauge pins and the grippers cannot go any place within the footprint of the base.

Get the 9 x 12 base and have Boxcar cut it into three pieces. They know what they are doing, but speak to them so you are assured of what you will get. Their fee for cutting is small. Then you use one, two, or three pieces for the size plate you will print.
Get some ink on your shirt.

Hey I’m excited for you, a C&P 10x15 is a fine machine. I’ve had one before.

I’d really suggest getting the 6x9.

Mainly because I wouldn’t suggest printing more than a 6x9 area with that press.

If you want to put something up in the corner of a big sheet, just move the base to the corner of your chase.

If you need to print multiple elements on the same sheet across it, rotate the 6x9 so that it runs the tall length of the chase and move it left or right to suit the position change of the element.

Do not try to exceed the limitations of your machine- 10x15 specification means the sheet. 2/3 of this, tops, is what you want to print (so on a 10/15 press, approx 6 inches out of the 10; approx 9 out of the 15)

This is not just about impression either- the inking rollers are not designed to ink over large areas; even with three installed, I think they’re 2” or just about 2” in size, which means no more than a 6.5” lap; anything longer than 6” in the roller turn direction will have a lap mark. The inking system has difficulty keeping up with ink at the edges of a plate that is larger than a square that can fit on the inking disc without hitting the edges, and even then it is difficult to get it to print perfectly because it is a rotational oscillation; so the ink disc turns and the ink distributes imperfectly around the edges of this ‘square’. I believe the disc is about… 18” in diameter on that press? Just a guess? I would measure mine but I sold it recently to make space for a different machine. Even with a fountain, larger forms are really difficult to ink consistently without tricking out with multiple inking passes while tripping the impression.
I have had the Model N, which was a slightly heavier built model than the New Style according to the C&P literature and also had a fountain; I would never have asked more than that 6x9 impression area of it; especially when one is trying to hit the impression hard and really form the paper via stamping a heavy deboss, known as ‘deep impression’… When you make an impression with this press, you are asking a lot of it and they just weren’t actually built to slam the heck out of a large area, despite what is popularly believed.

Another hard learned lesson to take into account (hard on my end) is that on a platen like this you need the gripper fingers to pry the sheet off of larger forms with heavier ink coverage; otherwise the sheet holds on to the plate/type.

So, lost of people do not try to run forms that are beyond a certain amount of the platen size because they are aware they will need to judiciously position the grippers to allow for a sheet to be held by them.
You can use a rubber band across the grippers or string, yes- but if your base is so large that they are stuck all the way out at the edges of the platen, it is more difficult to maintain tension and frankly you’re not using the machine the way it was intended. Use the press as it was meant to be and you will have a more practical, safe, and enjoyable experience with it as a tool. Nobody likes babying a run because there is too much coverage, trust me on that.

My wife will be working in the polymer world and I will be in the school of lead.
Thank you all for all of the good advice. If one compares the price per square inch of the base from Boxcar, it would be found that it is cheaper to go large w/a cut down from the stock than individual small bases. No surprises there, though we did find that the prices were around a $1 per square inch difference in some cases. Locals may pool money and purchase a large block so to have it cut down. This may save some money for ink and paper.
We appreciate the good information about the inking issues as well. I come from a world of ink fountains, double oscillating rollers and multiple form rollers. Ghosting was pretty much nonexistent. Yes, I just figured out why the form rollers on the offset were called “form” rollers. A little history lesson for me as well.
Ink on.

My main take away from your comments are: Do not force a machine to do what it was not meant to do well. It will create frustration, possible damage to the machine at the cost to the quality.

Yes, that’s a good tl;dr outing.

Don’t miss out on the idea that one base @ 6x9 can cover most of a 10x14” area, by breaking your art up into elements and printing individual elements at a time. It’s slower going but better than trying to do it all at once and asking too much of the machine.