Help with shipping my new C&P

I am new to this timeless art and have just purchased my dream press. It is a mere 2 hours away, in a dock-high business, and is moving into my prepped garage. Unfortunately, the press is not on a pallet but needs to be moved immediately. We were considering doing it ourselves with about 5 guys and lots of care, but we just don’t even know where to begin. I would much rather hire a freight company, but I’ve heard so many horror stories of dropped & destroyed presses that I am very wary of anyone offering to move it for me. I live in Texas and am trying to get the press from Austin to Temple. Anyone know a great freight company in the area? If not, does anyone have any ideas as to how I should go about moving this monster? I’ve read that a wench and a nylon tow strap are helpful (the strap I can easily acquire… the wench, not so much). Since it’s not on a pallet, that opens up a whole other can of worms as far as moving it.

ANY advice would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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It will be pretty expensive, but you can check in Austin for a rigger or machinery mover. They should be able to move it safely for you. You don’t say what the press is — weight and top-heaviness are issues for many old letterpresses. Riggers are used to handling stuff like that safely.

I just moved a C&P 10x15 and would be happy to discuss some ideas for your move. Just give me a call if you’d like at 720.273.1548.


It’s a C&P old style… sorry :) I actually don’t know what size it is. The woman selling it isn’t sure, as it was her late father’s, but I believe it’s the 8x12


The tow truck is a good idea, especially at your end in the garage. I’ve used tow trucks a couple of times and they’re good at moving heavy stuff safely. And they seem to like a challenge that doesn’t have 4 rubber wheels.

Since it is at dock height at the start, just borrow or rent a pallet jack and roll it onto a rental truck. Strap it down a bit (the wooden rails inside rental trucks are notoriously weak) and drive it home carefully. Make sure the press is bolted to the pallet. If you don’t have too far to go you should be fine.

I prefer to use low trailers (which have lots of strong tie-down spots) for moving presses, but in your case that leaves you with the problem of getting the press off the dock. Of course you could also use a flatbed tow truck on that end.

There are other threads that give more details including one that jjdewitt initiated not long ago.


I guess wenches are hard to come by, and probably of little help in moving presses…If you want a come-along winch, some rope, and some semi-amateur rigging experience (I do film rigging, camera car mounts and the like, not machinery), I will be down in Austin starting next week.

Oops; misread the original query and thought the press was already on a pallet. Devils Tail Press is right. Put a couple of skids under the press using a floor jack to lift up ones side of the press at a time. 2x4s will work for the smaller presses but 4x4s are better. use lag bolts to secure the presses to the skids. If you bevel the ends it’ll make the press easier to get up onto the rollers. You need at least 3 sections of pipe.

A come-along will move the press on skids without the pipes, but there’s nowhere to anchor it inside a rental truck. Borrow a pickup, rent a trailer and use the flatbed tow truck to get the press down to the trailer. Tie it down tight with the appropriate straps and drive home. At home lower the trailer’s ramp and use the come-along to pull the press slowly off the trailer. Then use some pipes to push it around into place. It’s not hard. You can do it if you move slowly and think each step through carefully.

Funny, I was moving a c&p 8x12 just today. I have moved a few now and here are some simple instructions.

Bolt with lag bolts the feet to 2x4’s skis from front to back
use good car jack (on the lowest crossbar) to raise the front then the back onto 3 foot 4x4’s going under the skis (so that it looks like #)

slide a pallet jack under, raise so you can remove the 4x4’s

strap the press to the pallet jack with straps so it doesnt slide off and cripple anyone (I learned this mid move-really important)

you are ready to roll it wherever. I use the largest ryder truck with a liftgate rated for 5000lbs which has pleanty of room to put a palletjack on and take anywhere safe($150 apprx depending on mileage)

strap it securely inside the truck. make sure that the pallet jack is not on the liftgate sideways and that the handle end is facing the inside of the truck and not the drop off of the liftgate (also learned the hardway).

just put the 4x4’s under it to get the pallet jack out when you need to, and use the car jack to lower it back to the ground. you can use some scraps to lower it in smaller incriments if you need to.

I have moved 8 of these like this in the past 6 months alone and believe that this is the easiest way.

hope it helps.


Thanks for all of the advice! We stayed up quite late last night coming up with a complex game plan, and awoke to torrential rain… so we changed things up a bit. It ended up being one of the easiest things I have done (beginners’ luck?).

We removed the ink plate, ran 2 2x4s under the press itself and then put the pallet jack under those— essentially lifting the press using wood slats alone. This allowed us to jack up the press steadily enough that we could put 2x4 skids underneath, which we then bolted on. We hired a wrecker with a flatbed/rollback truck, who backed right up to the loading dock. We then used our makeshift pallet idea to roll the press right onto the flatbed. Once we had it centered and such, we used 6 straps and come-alongs to secure it. The skids on the bottom helped with stability, as we made sure to align the press slightly towards the inside of the boards to prevent tipping. We then rcovered it with a tarp and tied it down (I would have used the wind to my advantage in cleaning this beast off had it not been pouring outside… so we covered it). When we got home, we used the winch on the flatbed as a pulley to move the press to the edge of the truck. We then threaded a heavy-load tow strap through the middle of the machine towards the top and attached this to said winch. This was to keep the press from tipping towards the ground when we tilted the bed. When we lowered the rollback to the ground at an incline, the press didn’t try to move whatsoever (that was probably due to the skids bolted to the bottom). Then, we rigged up the pallet jack/2x4 slats to lift it up off the flatbed and slowly glide it the couple of inches to the garage floor. Then, we just rolled it where we wanted it, lowered the jack, removed the boards, and ta da! After hours of planning and worrying, it turned out fantastically. Hopefully next time will go just as smoothly :) Thanks again for all of the advice!


I helped a friend move her 10x15 C&P a few weeks ago. I did a search on flickr for “letterpress moving” and went through every page returned to see how everyone else went about it. I hope people moving presses in the future will remember to document the process and post photos here, on flickr, or somewhere searchable, because seeing the do’s and don’ts on display is really helpful for the virgin press-mover. (favorite don’t I saw: a photo of two smiling gents with their press on a rolling cart, perched on a truck’s inclined lift gate. Caption: “this was taken just before the press fell backward onto the ground.”)