Newbie wondering which press to buy

I took a tabletop platen press class at SF Center for the Book, and used a C&P Pilot 6x9 and a Kelsey 6x9. I liked the C&P better, but they seem to be harder to find. I’ve got a line on a Craftsman 6x9 or a Kelsey 5x8. I’m also wondering about the Adana 8x5. I’ll be printing for a hobby, so I don’t need to invest in a floor press just yet ;-), but I would like one that works well so I enjoy this. Any advice or opinions?

Thank you,

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The sooner you start printing the better. A Craftsman 6 x 9 or Kelsey 5 x 8 would be great—whatever you can afford. These tabletop presses are pretty uncomplicated and even the funkiest model can make good printing after an application of elbow grease, probably a new set of rollers, and a lot of printing experience. Get one and get printing.

Okay, I’m convinced (not that I needed much … ) I’m buying a Craftsman 5x8, but it needs the rollers recovered. I’m near San Francisco — does anyone know where to get this done locally?


If you had gone for an Adana 8 x 5 the remarkable thing is that theres still back up. The Caslon Company at St Albans here in England still hold some spares, can do rollers and a limited range of sundries and type. They are very helpful indeed. Look them up on Google.

I’ve used them on and off for forty five years or so, and never cease to be suprised.

T’hanks for the reply. I did contact Caslon regarding an Adana, but the shipping from the UK to California was fairly expensive. Fortunately, I can get parts for the Craftsmen (correct spelling courtesy of Dave Churchman!) from the Craftsmen Machinery Co. in Massachussets. They have a listing here in the Yellow Pages ( and I’ve ordered a new chase.