Letterpress Care

I have a C&P Old style being delivered next week. I was wondering if it would be OK to keep it directly on the garage floor ? I am worried about moisture coming up from the garage floor (cement) . Also Will it hurt the press to be in an unheated environment?

Thanks for your help.

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If the press is not on skids, you may see some rusting on the feet, depending on how moist your environment is. Since skids make it a lot easier to move the press around, I’d recommend them. I have 2x4s under mine, but would probably put 4x4s if I had to do it over.

The press won’t be hurt by an unheated environment, but it will be very hard to use when it is cold. Ink doesn’t like to be cold, and printers don’t like it much either. I tried to print in an unheated Michigan garage in the winter, but soon moved the press into the basement. There’s a reason that most presses, when found, are in a heated basement rather than an unheated garage.

If you want to print, and it’s not too cold, you can put a lighted candle under the ink disk. That keeps the ink moist and flowing. Still, as Arie says, it’s much better to put the press in a heated space.

Thank you for all of your information. I’m close to Seattle, so we have more rain than really cold days. I’ll just put a heater in the garage when I want to print.

Turn it on a while before you want to print. Cast iron can take a while to heat up to a reasonable temperature. I’ve heard some advocate taking the in table into the house the night before you want to print, so the ink will behave properly. The candle will also work, I understand, but wonder if ink is flammable. The oil I use for lubrication certainly is. I’ll keep open flames away from my press, thanks.

I’ve used the candle technique, and it works great. A hair dryer or a heat gun probably would work, too.

How did you keep the candle lit? ;o)

You use the candle OR the hair dryer, you chucklehead!

That doesn’t answer the original question: How did you keep the candle lit? And do keep it civil. There’s room in the sandbox for everyone - if they play nice.

Sorry — I thought you had to be kidding. You just light the candle, let a little wax drip onto the bracket under the ink disk, then stick the candlestick into the wax so it will stand up straight. Then just let the candle burn, to keep the ink disk nice and warm as you do your printing. It won’t go out. Lots of printers did this, years ago, when print shops weren’t heated that well.