Need a positive lockup bar for a Vandercook SP-15

Hi all,

I live in France and here it is very hard to find specific material for my Vandercook Sp-15 .

I search :
- a Vandercook SP-15 positive lockup bar
- a Vandercook roller setting gauge

If you have an extra one that you are willing to sell, please contact me.

Any help advice,

Thanks again,

~ Greg

Log in to reply   9 replies so far

Hi Greg,

You don’t really need a positive lockup bar. In fact, you’re probably better off without one. After a while they start slipping and you have to add shims to make them hold firmly. And for most lockup bars you might find these days, “after a while” came a long time ago. I think you’ll be better off using the stationary bar and enough furniture. I alternate metal furniture with reglets, like this.

I was at the Los Angeles Printers Fair on Saturday and saw some neat little roller gauges at John Barrett’s booth. I believe NA Graphics also stocks them. You don’t need an official Vandercook gauge, though that would be cool. As long as it’s 0.918 inches precisely, you’ll be fine. Shipping from the US shouldn’t be too bad. I got mine from Fritz and I just checked that it fits in a small flat-rate box.


To add to Barbara’s post, on the SP-15 you need a set of pins for the press bed in order to use a dead bar. These too are available from NA Graphics if they are not already present on your press.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Barbara, Greg wouldn’t be able to use any of the US gauges, as his press has been milled to French height (23.56mm). I had some gauges made to French height and have already informed him.


Thanks, Thomas! I thought about that after I posted my message. I didn’t know an SP-15 could be milled down. That’s gotta cost a pretty penny! I envy Greg’s proximity to all that beautiful European type. So nice that you have a proper gauge for him.



Interesting observation though I assume Vandercooks made for export would have had beds milled specifically for foreign type heights?


There are two ways to know the type-height of the press in question. One is to measure the bed-bearer-to-bed height, the other is to provide NA Graphics with the serial number for original specifications.
Even though it is in France, that doesn’t prove the press was originally sold to the French market, or perhaps Thomas has information outside of this thread. Presses do move around between countries of different type-heights. And so many people are printing from plates exclusively now that needing a press to conform to locally-cast type standards is unusual.

Vandercook exported to several European countries and were represented in France by Deberny Peignot in Paris. My own Universal I was shipped to them in 1961. I got this information from Paul Moxon, who sent me a copy of the card, stating that it was to French height and that it has a 220 V motor. I’ve got several friends in the Netherlands printing on Vandercooks and those presses are all to Dutch height, the ‘highest’ on the Continent. Hardly ever do you find American/English height machines on the Continent.

image: deberny peignot.jpg

deberny peignot.jpg

I just made a lock up bar out of a bit of wood. We’re all about the hi-tech here.

Thank you guys for your invaluable assistance
and your prompt responses.
Special thanks for Thomas.