Vandercook SP15 vs Model 4

Seeking advice. What is the difference when printing on a SP4 vs. a SP15? I would like to print small invitation cards/envelopes etc, using multiple colours and would like to achieve near perfect registration and the ‘deep impression’ look. I would be printing 100 or less at a time. Which of the two would you recommend and why?

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Either one would be an excellent choice. The SP15 is lighter (705 lbs vs. 1100 for the #4) and has a roller setup that is a bit easier to adjust, but the rollers on the #4 seem to stay set a bit better than those on the SP15.

Both are capable of printing with impression, but be aware that if you go too far with it the sheet will stretch and you will have good registration at the top, bad registration at the bottom and a sheet that won’t lay flat.

And make sure that the impression occurs within the thickness of the sheet you are printing on. If it is mashed straight through the back it not only looks like hell, but also is ruining your type. It might even be hurting your press.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

While I agree with everything Daniel says, I think without question the #4 is a better press. There is a significant difference between the way the two models go in and out of their print (or impression) modes. I have seen a fair number of SP models that are worse for the wear, whereas #4 s and their successors, the Universal series, seem to hold up much better. Daniel notes the difference in weight, which to my mind directly translates into a better built press. The inking is a bit more difficult to deal with on a #4 but it’s worth dealing with if you have a choice between the two presses.

Patrick Masterson

Ditto on all of the above…. both presses are fine machines, and capable of doing great work. I’d use whichever one was in the better condition.

OR…. If they were about the same I’d use the one that I liked the most….. which might not be related to the press at all, but rather it’s proximity to the refrigerator, the air conditioning in the building, whether or not I could work undisturbed, or a myriad of things that determine how enjoyable the working will be.