Old Versus New

I am a letterpress hobbyist ready to take the plunge towards letterpress craftsman. I have only worked on a tabletop press and wonder which floor model would be best to start with.

I have two opportunities at the moment: A) a new style C&P 10x15 that’s in great shape -or- B) a Heidelberg Windmill 10x15 that is also in great shape.

Should I respect my roots and start with the C&P, or jump right into the modern press? Should I fear the complexity and more-parts-to-break of the Windmill? Should I worry about how hard it would be to find parts for the C&P?

I should mention that I would have two very good sources for instruction on the Windmill, but I would be flying solo on the C&P.

Also, my intention is to produce stock design and custom design invitation, announcement and stationery.

Any advice would be appreciated!


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What sort of press runs do you anticipate? A hand-fed C&P is pretty good at delivering 100 - 300 of something - perfect size for most wedding invitations, and a windmill is better at longer runs. Ultimately, you may want both, so neither would be a bad choice.

I’d suggest the C&P to start.

Buy the windmill.

Says the Girl with a kluge! lol Why would you buy the windmill?

Bill, thanks for the response. I agree, I may want both at some point. I don’t expect huge runs, especially in the beginning.

I can set up and run a windmill faster than a C&P or a kluge and you should be able to too. You have instructors available for the heidelberg. That press will register each sheet perfectly, so if you want to print a “stock” border and then come back and imprint a “custom” verse, you will have one less headache. You won’t have to hand feed. Less chance of getting your hand/fingers smashed. If you have lock out rollers you don’t have to take them off if you want to die cut. There are several more reasons. Both are good presses, but Heidelberg vs C&P the windmill wins hands down.

magnus 1599, since the heading has the “versus” in it
we’ll assume your racing cars. You don’t bring a stock car to a road race and you certainly dont bring a formula 1 to
a demo derby. So each press has it’s own strengths.
As for headaches drink a lot of water, most printers are
naturally dehydrated. The Kluge and C&P will register
perfectly. it is really up to the operator for that anyway.
Flying solo on the C&P, thats not such a good idea.
Did you ever go solo on a lawn mower after cutting grass with scissors? C&Ps are modern press’.Worry is wasted
energy it is almost the same as jealousy. So if I was you
I’d buy both of them. Best james

I bought a C&P Craftsman a couple of years ago when I too was pondering it and a Heidelberg.

I LOVE my C&P… but I know I would have started doing lager jobs sooner if I bought the Heidelberg.

I farm out any larger jobs (500+) but I’m saving my money for a Vandercook.

I think you need both. The C&P makes an excellent table for a lamp or a potted plant.

The 10 x 15 Heidelberg Platen it not quite what it says. The specification is that Heidelberg will run a 10 x 15 sheet, but the IMAGE area is 10 x 13, plus a little if using a skeleton chase.

While the Heidelberg has more impressional tonnage and can be more efficient to run—that efficiency really shows up when running longer runs (150+).

The Heidelberg will take more makeready stock, when using the ink fountain, to get the ink laydown balanced.

Unless using the rider roller (a absolute must item!) the Heidelberg has a harder time printing large type or solids without ghosting issues.

Double rolling (printing every 2 or three cycles of the press to build up ink laydown) is much simpler on the C&P

If something on the Heidelberg breaks, it is MUCH more expensive to fix something.

Now I have both (ok, the C&P is an Old Style), and there are days that I will run the Heidelberg, and others I’ll run the C&P. A lot of that is the size of press sheet I’m using (a C&P can run a 12 x 18 sheet with little difficulty). The C&P is also nice for running napkins (no need to lock the form up on a bias as in the Windmill) and really weird stock.

So really, the best solution is to get both! They’re both good presses and they’re both handy to have around.

double post