Rusty Vandercook worth the restoration?

I’ve just been gifted a Vandercook Uni-1 proof press that has been in storage too long for it’s own good. Has anyone restored one of these presses? I’m wondering if it would prove worth the time and money or if I should just salvage it for parts. In the photo, the rollers have been detached from the bed.

image: Rollersmall.jpg

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In my opinion, the key issue is whether or not you have all the parts. If you are missing some major pieces or if any parts appear to be seriously damaged or worn, then replacing them will be your biggest challenge.
Otherwise, rust is usually removable with some time, and patience, and elbow grease, and a thorough cleaning and lubrication can get you pretty far.
There are certainly people out there who have been through what you are looking at. I would check the Vanderblog at
This site has loads of good info on your press and if you post your case there you are bound to get some solid feedback. The moderator of the site, Paul, has loads of maintenence experience. You could also talk to Daniel Morris at The Arm in NY. He has restored a Vandercook or two, and might give you a sense of what you are in for. One benefit is that you will know that press inside and out by the time you are done, which is valuable info if you plan to keep running the press in the future.
So, I guess what i am saying is Yes, it is restorable, but whether or not you think it is worth depends on how much you really want to use the press yourself, otherwise that time and energy might make more sense to someone else.
Good luck :)

Thanks for that tidbit…I bookmarked the Vanderblog site when I started researching the press, but a little kick in the right direction never hurts.

As for me, I hope to use the press. I am an etcher, so I’m not familiar with letterpress printing, but I’m hoping to expand my horizons! I’m also a sculptor and used to getting my hands dirty…restoration is something I’m ready to tackle. Thanks for the encouragement.

Sort of off topic…What etching press are you using? I have been using a little Richeson to pull both relief and intaglio prints.

hmm…right now I’m between presses. I had shop access up until this spring and I don’t remember the maker of the press I used there. It was an older floor model press that worked magic, but needed repairs often.

In the next week or so…once I decide exactly what I want, I’m ordering a custom press from Conrad Machine Co. Their E15.

These days I’ve been pulling relief prints by hand. Not having access to an etching press has been driving me crazy!!!