Easiest way to move a tabletop press upstairs?

I apologize if this has been covered in detail before - I’ve searched and didn’t see anything that helped.

I have a hohner 6x5”x10” arriving tomorrow, and I had plans to place it in our (finished) basement. I already have a craft room upstairs, and think I would use the press much more if it was in that room.

Can you kindly provide me with some tips for my husband and neighbor to get it up the stairs? I am wondering if bolting it down first and carrying it up the stairs already on the table will be easier than carrying an unwieldy press?

This is the table I’ve purchased to place it on: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S69836984/ with the top being 31”x23”. My husband’s concern is that the press, especially when bolts are placed through it, will rip through the top while going up the stairs and land on someone’s foot. Ouch.

Please offer me any tips you have - we’re all ears!


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That table will never hold a Hohner press. To get the press upstairs I would strap it to a two-wheeled hand truck and get three really stout fellows (one at he top pulling the cart, and two at the bottom pushing and making sure it doesn’t get away from the fellow at the top). You will also want a table that is very, very stoutly made of 4” x 4” timbers for legs fixed with 2” x 4” lumber so they won’t shift at the top and bottom, with 1” plywood for the top. The entire thing should be well enough made as not to shift or move at all. The press is probably close to 300lbs, and if given the chance will fall fast and hard, causing great damage to anything in its path. The table you chose might hold 50 lbs.
You need something very industrial.


Ink and solvent are printer’s perfume to me. They may be to you also. Will they be pleasant for your guests?
You may want to think this through again.
If you have a satisfactory space in your basement and you are able to go up and down the stairs; the basement may be the better place. If you are really invested in this hobby and craft, any place out of the rain and snow is good.
Just get it somewhere and get some ink on your shirt.

Apologies for the double post. I’m not sure what happened.

In reference to the fact that this press on a dolly probably easily weighs 300 Lbs: I’d just like to say that when moving it up or down stairs have no-one below the load! I did a bit of professional moving when I was younger and that was one of our cardinal rules. Appliances, furniture (or even presses) can be repaired or replaced. So can the building itself. People can’t be replaced and many wounds never fully heal. 300 Lbs of loose-rolling cast iron and steel can kill easily. It can maim even easier. It’s not worth the risk. Keep everyone above or totally out of the way of the path of travel should the load come free. Use ratchet straps or similar (or better, actual load-sharing straps) to give two or three guys secure handholds to pull above the dolly. If you can, borrow or rent an appliance dolly rather than a standard two-wheeled dolly. They’re very heavy-duty and usually have a set of free-wheeling treads partway up the uprights specifically for moving appliances up and down stairs more easily. They really help.

Have you ever tried to PULL 300lbs up a staircase? I have - and if it hadn’t been for two people pushing from below it would have never raised a step. Three people can manage a weight such as that if it is on wheels. I would think that an appliance dolly that put the load at a sliding angle would be much more dangerous than a regular dolly that can be lifted a step at a time. They have a much smaller base with which to carry because they are designed for big bulky rectangles. For safety the load could be blocked at each step. It would be better to have two people at the top and two at the bottom, with the instructions that if it starts to go getthehelloutoftheway. Moving heavy things takes a whole bunch of planning and common sense, and should never be taken lightly. A friend and I moved a 600lb treadle platen up a concrete stair of about 8 steps with blocks only, and I moved a 450lb section of a press up a 12 step basement stairway with me pulling, and my rather small wife and a 70 year old man pushing, so I know it can be done. Of course my two-wheeler was never the same again.


That table will be crushed by a press that size. Those tabletops are particle-board with a laquered veneer and won’t hold anything. Trying to bolt a Hohner to that table and carry it up stair is almost certainly going to end up with a serious injury.

Follow the above advice on how to move it up or down, then get a table made from solid wood or metal, with straight, solid legs.

I suggest you find a proper workbench at Home Depot or similar, the load they are built for should be listed in the technical details.


Shame on you Paul, a small wife and a 70 year old man??? That could count as wife abuse, and senior citizen abuse!!! Just kidding, could i borrow your wife and that 70 year old, i’m moving some heavy stuff today. Anyone that is going to bolt a 300 lb press to that table then carry it upstairs needs more than advice. Paul is more than right, there is a device that you can rent that is made for pulling things up stairs, i recently read about a husband and wife team that pulled a job press from a basement using this, can’t remember what its called but you might try a tool rental place. Inky is right about fumes, you might want to slide it down to the basement rather than stink up your house. good luck Dick G.

Hi all,

I’ll put my two cents in as well. Move the press by itself and get a much sturdier table. I move the top half of the Pearl No. 11 all the time. Upstairs, downstairs all around the block. I believe its very close in size and weight to that Hohner. My recommendation is also for the ordinary handtruck. The most important part is to strap it safely to the hand truck. It is quite controllable if strapped securely. Then, as it has already been suggested use men above pulling and below pushing to get it up the stairs. It is very safe and controllable to do it that way. I prefer young men over little women and old men, but they may serve in a pinch. Dick, I think the stair climber dolly is overkill for this amount of weight. That was used on a 900 lb press lift.


Thank you so much for all the useful tips and advice. I think we are going to just keep it in the basement. That way no one can get hurt (hopefully) with a big move, and my husband had the smart point that I’ll be using this when the baby is napping and asleep - and her room is next to the craft room upstairs - so likely to wake her.

I’m definitely going to buy a different table - everyone has said that’s a must. Thank you for taking a moment to look at it! I’m going to head over to home depot before the press is delivered, and get something meant for heavy duty.


You really need an industrial strength table to put such a heavy press on. Even if you find a table with a suitable tiop, are the legs going to hold out on you? If the table collaspes and the press falls on you you could be severally damaged. I would almost build a suitable table using 4”x4”s for the legs and under the top. and bolted them together.


Melissa, Fortunately you can still return that table to Ikea (I hope). While you’re there you can purchase this butcher block style table top:


I did and threw two cabinets (not Ikea) underneath for our C&P Pilot. It works perfectly. It was thick enough cut out a nice sized rectangle on one end and drop in a composing stone too.

Recently, I built a new workbench in our house and moved the Pilot. I found that Home Deport sells 4X8 sheets of 1” subfloor plywood (tongue and groove) for about half the price of Ikea. You’ll need more tools (and men) to move/cut a piece of wood this big but it allows you to customize it based on your space.

Either way, both are sturdy enough to support the press if you’ve got something stable underneath.

I had a cheap but solid file cabinet, bolted a piece of wood from home depot to the top, and bolted my pilot through the wood and metal of the file cabinet. Cheap, sturdy and perfect height for me.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/94631707/ it even this, although pricey!

The 40157485 table would certainly work, FYI. I think a couple people could dance on that and it would hold them. I have that exact table, btw.

As for moving the press up the stairs-
I wouldn’t personally try to get the press up the stairs- and going down stairs seems like the same problem. Does it come apart at all? Are there things you can take off to “lighten the load”? I have an around 250 LB 19” guillotine I wouldn’t even THINK about moving up or down stairs, so I can’t image a #300 Hohner.

Good luck.

The 40157485 looks like it will support the press. Problem you’ll encounter is that the height is 35”. That is pretty high to reach the lever. You have two solutions: stand on a platform (probably about 5” tall) or cut about 5” off the bottom of the legs.

@dickg: My wife is the best moving helper I could ever want. She is tough and strong, and always ready for a challenge. In fact, she has been there for all of my moves and makes 25 year-old boys look like weenies. The 70 year old man was a tough nut too. They both made me look bad.

The 40157485 table needs more cross bracing. It is held at the end with single screws which is not enough to keep the table from shaking apart. 4x4s and lag bolts, or look into industrial suppliers:



Should be possible to beef up the IKEA table fairly quickly with some added and upgraded hardware, ande maybe support across.

One very important thing that most people ignore is that IKEA furniture is meant to be retightened in all joints after a couple of days and then again after weeks of use.

These tables, like everything from IKEA, is made in huge numbers, with parts being made in different countries and even on different continents, they need to be tightened and checked regularly at first because the fit can be very loose and play develops quickly with use.

Okay, here’s the one I bought: http://www.homedepot.com/Storage-Organization-Garage-Storage-Workbenches...

Its height is adjustable and the wheels come off, making its lowest height 28”. For a gal that’s 5’2”, it seems to be just about right. It can hold up to 1600lbs, and the drawers are smooth. I’m content with it. Will post a photo of everything when its together. We put it in the basement, and hubby dead lifted it out of the crate. He thinks the press, without the lever and platen weighs ~175lbs - hopefully he won’t have a hernia pop up!

Thanks again, everyone!

You may find that it flexes from the diagonal force of pressure put on the lever of the press. If this happens I would suggest adding a plywood back and sides to the cabinet.

Happy printing!

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Melissa, if your press is in the neighborhood of 175 lbs., is it a Hohner like the Model D in the Briar Press Museum section or is it the American Printing Equipment Pilot clone made by Hohner? There’s not an image of the APE Pilot clone in Museum section, but there is a Chandler and Price Pilot NS that should look very like it. The former is the 300-pound behemoth that people have been discussing. The latter would weigh much less and be more manageable to move, I would think.

Gabriel, I had no idea that a Model D even existed! Its definitely the APE pilot clone - and does make sense that its ~175lbs. Thanks for pointing that out - and clarifying why I was getting such mixed info regarding the weight.

That really doesn’t change the need for a solidly built worktable or cabinet, or the way to get it up or down stairs. The height will also be a concern, as a standard will be too tall. Thompson Cabinet Company used to offer two different cabinet heights for lever presses, 25” and 31”. It seems a shame to spend $200 on a table in which you immediately cut off the legs. You might want to look around at a used office furniture store and see if you can find an old Steelcase table with adjustable legs.