Quoins and furniture for C&P new style

Hello! I am totally new to letterpress and have a Chandler & Price new style 8x12 that I am working on getting set up. I still need to get quoins and wood furniture for it but don’t know exactly what I should be looking for! I am going to be using photopolymer plates only for the time being.

Regarding quoins, does it matter what company manufactured them, and does the size matter as long as they fit within the chase?

Regarding wood furniture, I am trying to determine if there is anything particular about it that would necessitate buying some, or if cutting wood to size myself would suffice.

Thanks in advance for any guidance - this is a whole new world for me!

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You don’t say where you are located but if you are anywhere within a few hour’s drive of Chicopee Mass, (30 minutes from Hartford, CT) you should make a plan to visit Letterpress Things. John Barrett will set you up with everything you need and you will learn a lot about your new hobby. In the meantime see if you can get a hold of a copy of Jessica White’s book, Letterpress Now.
good luck,

I’ll second the suggestion to contact John Barrett. He has starter kits of much of what you need. If you’re not near, you should be able to find a phone number or email. He’s extremely helpful.

In the meantime, furniture, leads, reglets and even quoins can be improvised. Furniture, reglets are nearly 5/8” thick. plywood or MDF can be cut to pica lengths and widths on a table saw. Leads can be approximated with strips of plastic or chipboard. Hemple style quoins are just jumped up wedges and wooden wedges work just fine, and did for centuries in the handpress era. Just look around and think a bit laterally.

I once found a set of wooden childrens blocks that were within small fractions of an inch (in all dimensions) from standard furniture. In a thrift store. For $1.99.

I’ll second that second - John Barrett is the go-to guy for beginners in printing. He not only has starter kits, he can equip your shop as you learn to do more.

One thing John could tell you, Sara, is that furniture and quoins are made standard and almost any can be used in your press (provided you have a chase, of course! :-) Wood furniture has served printers for 500 years, but metal quoins are more recent. If you try to make your own, you may have a bit of a problem, as the sides need to be absolutely exactly parallel to each other and square to the top and bottom, and such exactitude is hard to achieve with a regular table saw, much less with a hand saw,

If you are not close enough to Chicopee to go there easily, email John ([email protected]) with your questions - he also ships such stuff all over the country.


Thank you so much, everyone, for your responses! The information you’ve provided is great, and I will definitely get in touch with John Barrett. Cheers!