dissasemble and move a C&P 8X12

OK, I’m open for all suggestions — Is there anybody out there who has succesfully taken apart one of these monsters so that a couple of average humans can lug it up a set of stairs? will special tools/earth movers be necessary, or all that;s required are a few wrenches and lots of time?

many thnaks

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Well, your first stop might be the Boxcar archive of manuals: http://www.boxcarpress.com/flywheel/index.html

This will have a C&P parts list and manuals if you don’t have it. I have never had to disassemble a press, but best of luck.

I know from taking apart other equipment (and this was said about restoring a Vandercook in another thread) that you will know the press completely when you are done. It will be like a family member.


If you really want to do it yourself, you should read the instructions carefully on the GreenDolphin site. It contains a vast amount of letterpress information. On the FAQ page, item 3.6 answers your question. If you have downloaded the parts diagram from Boxcar, you can follow along reading the instructions. A lot of it can be done by one person but you really need 2-3 for the heavy parts. Good luck.


I’ve done it a number of times. It’s not hard. Just heavy. Even with a refrigerator dolly they’re kinda hard to manhandle up stairs. I recommend a come-along if you have a logical anchor point beyond the top of the stairs. If you have access to the outside from the top of the stairs then maybe a tow-truck can winch a partly disassembled press up the stairs for you. Good luck.

Where are you? Maybe there’s someone near you who has done it before and can help.

The Excelsior Press website has excellent photos of moving a C&P 8x12 OS from a basement using the basic techniques described in the LETPRESS archive file mentioned above. Here is the link:


I disassembled, moved, further disassembled, cleaned and set up my 8x12 C&P OS (made in 1893) earlier this year. It wasn’t difficult and the results were worth it.


many thanks

Updated. John -

That photo set that Rich referred to can also be viewed using my new url: http://excelsiorpress.org/photos/2002.0109-Crombie/
and I have just completed adding some hopefully helpful notes on the procedure we followed.

Be very careful in lowering the back piece. Tie if off to the front of the press with a thick rope wrapped twice around the knee-high round shaft in the front. Then let out the slack a few inches at a time. Be ready to pull tight and stop if from falling. Don’t let it fall and don’t put someone behind it, either. Just let it down easy from the front.

Then, if that does not lighten the press up enough, the next piece to take off would be the platen. But check the parts diagram or study the parts well before removing it. It is heavy. And, the bolts from the front of the press into the platen are actual bolts. They are not nuts on a shaft. You’ll see if/when you turn them.

I’ve also got some photos of a press that has been broken down into quite a few pieces at http://excelsiorpress.org/photos/johnkleesPRESSparts/index.html

http://excelsiorpress.org/photos/johnkleesPRESSparts/IMGA0006.JPG shows the platen assembly removed from the press. most of the photos on that page are linked to display larger images of themselves. You may find them helpful.

And, yes, a friend in Milford, NJ recently reassembled his press in his living room. So, obviously, there are people who disassemble these presses into manageable pieces, but for myself, I have always found it enough to remove the flywheel and split the press into its two main components.

Be sure to photograph your adventure - and the press before you take it apart. Digital photos can be very helpful in reminding you just what goes where….

Best of luck.

- Alan

Instead of oiling the lumber, I have used lengths of water pipe to roll the press up and down out of a pickup truck and across the floor. Much less messy.

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