moving a press/linotype

Hello - I have arranged to acquire a gentleman’s print shop (in his basement). The big stuff is a vandercook 4T and a linotype. I have some expereinced help in breaking the linotype down to move, but I need help with info on how to move the press. I’m as far from a rigger as one can get and I do not want to end up with a pile of scrap. I’m willing to hire a mover if anyone knows someone around the East TN area (or beyond) There is also 6 or so type cabinets, but i am not so concerned about those.

Thanks for your help!


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Hey Bob, sounds like you have your hands full.
I just moved my entire shop to a new location and I would strongly suggest hiring a professional mover/rigger, especially coming up from a basement.
I would also mark not only all the Intertype parts really well, but also the timing marks on all the machines.
Good luck!

Some pics of my move

I agree with printertim, I moved a shop many years ago. I had professional, and not one problem. These guy know their business and walk in look over what has to be done and come up with a working plan.

Calling professional is worth it, make sure the move is insured and just stand back and watch the magic of the move happen.

I agree with the other comments. Where in East Tennessee?

In a perfect world we can all hire riggers, but in your neck of the woods, it might be cheaper to buy a Vandercook from across the country and ship it in than to hire a rigger to fetch it from the basement. Get quotes first. If that number doesn’t scare you, go ahead and hire them. If that number does scare you, then you might consider doing it yourself.

Biggest questions don’t involve the equipment but:

Do you have access to a forklift/flatbed truck/ trailer?
Do you have competent reliable help?
Does the route up the stairs lead straight outside?
Are those stair capable of taking the load going up them?
What is the narrowest doorway that must be navigated?
Do you have tools for doing the work (bars, chain fells/come alongs, blocking (and more blocking)?
Do you have the skills and the patience to do the work yourself?

If you answered affirmatively to most of the above questions, you can probably move this stuff yourself. If you feel capable enough to take down a Linotype machine and remove it, you are probably very capable of moving this equipment.

Couple things I have seen when others have moved Vandercooks:

If you remove the cylinder to get the weight/center of gravity down) make sure to make a register mark between the gear/rack to allow you to retime the cylinder when you reassemble.

The sheet metal base of the machine is not a jacking point, and will crumple is jacked/lifted upon. Check resources (such as for better information on working/moving these critters.

And whatever else you do—don’t move the equipment into another basement!

Best of luck in your moving adventure. Post the results either way.

Thanks so much for the advice - i appreciate it!

The press in is Kingsport TN - my house is in pigeon forge Tn - the basement it is coming from has a concrete ramp, so no stairs. I am moving it to my basement, which has a garage door, so egress is not much of an issue at my house. There is room for a big truck back there as well. Dave Seat’s suggestion was hiring a tilting bed tow truck, but there is obviously so much more to it than a big winch and a tilt bed truck. He is going to help me break down the linotype. I am still looking for help with rigging.

I will keep y’all updated. Thanks again.


update: I’m meeting with a Millwright service’s equipment moving guy Monday where the press is now. Have to wait for the estimate, but things are looking up a bit. I took a class in Vandercook maintenance last week in Asheville, NC, and that was very helpful in regards to getting it going and keeping it going(the press, not the linotype) but i still want the pros moving this stuff if at all possible. Dave Seat will be dealing the linotype within two weeks (well - that’s the plan) to school me a bit and break it down enough to get it out.