Where is your press?

Does anyone have a C&P or similar in a house? Would be nice to not be cold all the time — my press is in basically in an unheated shop — which during the warm months wont be so bad! But for the past few months I have been printing in snowpants, winter boots, and a sweater!

Did you need to reinforce your floor? get a mat to set it on? (my 8x10 press is on large skids and is powered by an electric motor..)

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I have mine in the basement, so there is no problem with weight. A lot would depend on how your house was built. An old house would probably take that kind of weight better than some of the newer houses. I think I would add a couple of support posts to stiffen the floor joists and reduce the weight-bearing span, just to play it safe. They are steel, adjustable, and available at any home improvement store. You also could use 4 X 4s.

My entire shop is in my living room or as I should say, what used to be called my living room. The room is about 12’ x 15’ with the joists running the short direction. The press and paper cutter have wooden skids which distribute the weight. I also have 2” thick by 8” boards spanning three joists under the press and under the paper cutter. These are supported by one lally column each that I bought at home depot. They took about 15 minutes to install.

The floor may have supported the weight without any of that but I wasn’t easy in my mind about it and didn’t want any sag over time. Besides, it’s better to be safe than sorry one way or the other. This way I have complete confidence and it was no major effort or expense to do it.

You can see photos of my shop here:


Even though I have a walk-out basement and could have gotten the equipment in very easy it was not an option for me since it gets some water at times and is very humid in the summer. It also has no heat except for the hot water radiator pipes running across the ceiling.


Rich — How did “bind” together your notepads you made? I have wanted to do some of those but I have been (one short on time as my press is a ways from my house) and I have been hesitant to print them and take them to a local print shop to do what I know is an easy thing if you know what to use!

Updated. Well this gives me hope that its “doable” not that any one in my household thinks its a good idea!

Rick — I notice that your press has a motor with another pulley — maybe that would slow my press down some.. What kind of belt is that short one to motor?

Press rollers should be stored vertically, and preferably in a closed container. Horizontal hanging will see eventual core bend and material out-of-round. And, as rollers should have a light coating of oil when not in use, a cover will prevent dust from settling upon them. That, plus they will be light-protected. Just some thoughts.

For the note pads I used regular binder’s cement that a printer friend of mine kindly gave me. It just brushes on with a paint brush that cleans up with water. The padding press I made myself. I copied one my friend made years ago but do an Ebay search and you can see some photos of some for sale. They’re easy to make from scrap and I also understand that a board with a brick on top will work. I actually learned a lot doing it myself from the printing to cutting the pads apart. I’d highly recommend doing some yourself. And they’re darn useful and I’ve given some away.

My press was run by a printer with about 60 years of experience and with the 2” motor pulley and the 24” drive pulley on the press it ran at about 35 impressions per minute: much, much too fast for me. The only practical and affordable way for me to slow things down was to add an intermediate shaft known as a counter shaft. In my case I was fortunate in having an old motor mount with a built-in countershaft and I added the necessry diameter pulleys to it in order to slow the speed down to 15 impressions per minute. That’s a recommended speed for beginners in some of the old books though by changing the size of the v-belt pulley on the counter shaft I could slow it down further. I stood at the press while it was running and practised feeding until I decided what was comfortable. Now in actual printing I’ve found it to be fine.

If I hadn’t had the the motor mount I would have made something similar out of wood using pillow blocks and a short shaft. It doesn’t have to be fancy. The wide pulley you see underneath the leather belt is an idler pulley I added to keep tension on the belt. Another old part I had laying around. I had to make a mount for that as you can see in the photo. This pulley prevents the belt from slipping, especially on motor start-up. Without a variable speed motor or a countershaft the only practical thing to do is run a belt from the motor to the flywheel. The larger diameter of the 36” flywheel from the 24” drive pulley on the other side of the press will slow it down to about 20 impressions per minute but that’s still too fast for me.

Forme has a good point on the roller rack. Certainly all of the commercial racks I’ve seen have the rollers stored vertically. I seriously considered making my rack like those but in the end the older style won out. Since I use rubber rollers this probably won’t be as serious a problem as with composition rollers but his advise is sound.


Updated. Hi. I have an 1100-pound Vandercook No. 4 in my living room, right next to a 600-pound grand piano. To help spread the weight across the floor joists, I made a platform from 3/4 inch plywood. Here’s a photo:


Our house was built in 1955. So far nothing has caved in, or even groaned. I think you will love having your press in the house.

Barbara Hauser

Rick —
My press has a v-belt — we took off the foot break and switched sides to slow down the press some (bigger wheel!) but its still bit fast! I think that something along the lines of what you did would work — im pondering it…

I have seen a printer friend of mine do the note pads (but I still felt a little lost!) Thanks for that feedback. I did my holiday cards as my first real project and I learned a ton — every project I do I learn more! So next I want to do more cards and notepads!

Yes a piano is heavy.. Makes me feel much more comfortable with the idea… Love seeing the photos of peoples studios!

Im jealous vandercook’s have built in storage!

Don’t tell my neighbors, but I’m in a 3rd floor apt. and my Golding Pearl press is in my den. No complaints from the neighbors yet.

As you have already learned, many folks have their printing shops in their homes.
I questioned whether or not I could have my Little Giant Cylinder press on a wood-framed floor, but was assured by an architect that the floor was plenty strong to bear the weight. Since the weight shifts as the bed runs back and forth, I played safe and put two jackposts holding up a 4x6 running perpedicular to the floor joists in the basement under the press. After consulting the architect, I figured the rest of my equipment does not need further reinforcement. Been running for about 12 years and the floor is still firm.
It certainly would behoove anyone to check out the structure before assuming it will hold, however. If the floor seems at all “spongey” I would have some concern.