galley presses

I have a nice galley press (Chandler type; just a heavy roller…), which i like for its simplicity. I see a Vandercook truss press for sale not far away… and wonder if it would be a step up compared to my galley press. What could i gain…. is the impression pressure about the same ?? I do mostly linos, wood cuts… and would like to try copper/zinc plates. Any thoughts ??

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Definitely the Vandercook truss press is a step up. It gives more even pressure but also more pressure. And it’s easier to control. And can be more easily regulated by changing of tympan & packing. We have a Vandercook Universal - which has a complete inking assembly, and I still find most of the time I use it without the ink rollers, by hand inking the form and rolling the carriage. In this sense it’s basically using the Universal like a truss press (the only difference being that the truss press can’t do registration or feed sheets).

So I’d say - depending on price, the truss press is a definite step up and I doubt you’ll use the C&P press much if you get it.


I’ve used all sorts of proof presses, and sign presses through the years. I’ve got one just like your galley press, except that the roller is filled with old lead type and concrete….. and I’ve added a gripper bar to allow close registration. It’s REALLY heavy, and prints beautifully. The C&P Galley press is a nice piece of gear that will last virually forever, and is capable of doing some excellent work within it’s capabilities.

The Vandercook Truss press is also a good machine, and will put down a heavier impression…. and thus allow a wider selection of papers to be printed well, and larger areas of solids. However, that particular press is a pain in the backside to ink well. It’s hand-inked, and the truss always seems to get in the way of where you need to roll your brayer.

So…which one is better? Neither one. They are just different. Which one you choose depends on what you want to do. Personally, I’d keep my heavy weighted C&P galley press for what I do.

A good alternative is a Sign Press, like a Nolan or a Showcard. They have the advantage of being able to put down a large amount of pressure, and many of them have gripper bars to allow close register. PLUS the top is wide open, allowing easy hand-inking. I use a 60 year old Showcard for ~50% of my work… and wouldn’t part with it.

I like my Vandercook #1 Double Truss press quite a bit, but Winking Cat Press is right about it being a bit awkward to ink. Registration can be added a number of ways. Vandercook also made a single truss version that is much easier to ink.