need to find a printing base for a vandercook, any ideas?

hi there, i am new to this site and pretty confident this is the best place to find someone who might be able to help us out. A group in providence associated witht the arts organization, AS220 is starting a community print shop set to open on sept 7th. we just got our Vandercook proof press working (a moment of great relief and joy!) but we do not have a printing base. as we dont have much type yet, we want to start off with plastic plates, but need the aluminum base or an equivalent. The market price of 500$ is unfortunately out of our budget, so we have two options:
does anyone know of a shop or dealer willing to sell one for cheaper?
or, is there a temporary solution, i.e. would a wood block work for a short time? (so that we can be printing for the opening)

if anyone has any ideas, please let me know!
Meg Turner
Dreyfus Printshop
[email protected]

Log in to reply   3 replies so far

A good piece of plywood can work OK.

You just need to get it on your press and then SLOWLY build it up by putting sheets of paper or illustration board under it until it just touches the rollers (kind of assuming the rollers are set pretty right.


And every time you start to roll the press across go VERY slowly until you are sure the cylinder won’t slam into the printing surface.

You can see where that gets you.

One other point. Start with a little ink and SLOWLY add ink until it gets you the right image. More ink is sometimes very bad.


Both the Boxcar Base and the Patmag are priced comparatively and a 12 x 18 base from either won’t break the bank. Either of which will provide more than satisfactory results. NA Graphics sells a wooden base with a magnetic top sheet at a lower price but I am uncertain of the size range.


Go with one of the bases that Gerald mentioned but I have one more solution but I would not use it for long term printing due to inconsistent printing may occur.

When I’m in a crunch I use a linoleum mounted block for a base. My Vandercook 4 has a form area of 14 x 18 so I have several 3/4” pieces of Particle board and I mount my linoleum to it which brings it to just under type high .918. I can mount deep relief plates to it and it’s just over type high, I think it was .93 which is ok but not great depending on the work your doing. For me when I’m doing posters and I need a quick base because I’m putting wood or metal type around photopolymer then the linoleum base is perfect.

I also have an aluminum base that’s 14 x 18 for the larger plates which is what I usually use.

Long term, Gerald had the right advice, get a base.