Is this press worth restoring?

Hi everyone,

This is obviously a very neglected C&P. I have never restored a press before, but this one looks like it would be quite the undertaking. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Also can anyone tell me the size of this press, 8”x12” or 10”x15”? And perhaps how much $$ one would pay for a press in this condition?

Thank you so much.

P.S. I have a lot more photos if anyone wants other angles, etc…

image: 69573_3695085114088_1145362888_n.jpg


image: 254755_3468081199132_1614546551_n-1.jpg


image: 551525_3695081273992_358333469_n.jpg


image: 602013_3695082594025_253902745_n.jpg


Log in to reply   16 replies so far

The condition of the press looks to me to be a total restoration. It can be done, but the press will have to be disassembled, de-rusted, and primed and painted. You are looking at months of work, and an expenditure of lots of elbow grease if you do it yourself. If you can find someone else to do it it will just cost lots of money. If you are willing to take it on you should ask the owner to give it to you (since it looks like you have to get it out going up a stairway), and reassure them you will do your best to give it a new life. Otherwise they will have to pay someone to break it apart and haul it out. Good luck, whatever your decision might be.


Well its a nice piece of kit ,its heavy and you dont want to spend money you cant afford so strip it down where it stands and ship it out in bits ,that should save you sufficient dosh to be able to restore it in a nice price range !
Oil her up get it turning and check her over , thats worth paying another platen operator for a couple of hours looking over it to ensure that all the important bits are whole and present ,feedboards and such dont matter but gears and shafts con rods etc must all be there ..
I will add that i think i was running one of those very machines yesterday in a museum not for the first time i will add and it is a very nice bit of kit .
Looked again the only difference appears to be the ink disc is not two parts .

Hard to say what size this is from a photo without measurements, but likely a 8x12 or 7x11. Looks like most of it is there, but I don’t see any chases.

It’s probably restorable, but as the others have said—a lot of work. I wouldn’t pay much, start with an offer to just take it away. You’re likely to put many hundreds of dollars into the restoration, even assuming you don’t need replacement parts. Rollers will set you back a couple of hundred, chases if not present have been selling for $70 and up lately.

Best to have someone else look it over to see what is and isn’t there. Let us know where you are. There’s plenty of us willing to help.

Hi Christa,

It’s really hard to tell from the photo but I have a 10 x 15 old style and that looks to me like a 10 x 15 new style. I just can’t tell.

In my opinion, this press should be free.

I would highly encourage you to find a different press. Just getting a normal press up and running can be expensive; even getting just a treadle can run a couple hundred dollars. Save yourself some time and find a more functional one.

That’s my advice. Leave it to a machinist that loves to take things apart.

As Arie says, offer to haul it away — but you’ll need some strong help. I wouldn’t “restore” it — just clean the rust off the ink disc, platen, and bed, oil it up, and print with it for a while. After some experience using it you’ll know whether you want to keep it or swap it for some other press. If you decide to keep it and the appearance bothers you, then is the time to “restore” it — new paint, pin striping, polishing parts, etc. But it will print just fine rusty! :-)


Everyone is correct on this one. It will take a lot of elbow grease to get it back in shape. Do you know if it turns over by hand? If not, it will take even more to get it returned to the living. I think it may be a 10x15, given the comparison with the size of the counter, and certainly is an oldstyle press. There could be some pitting on the platen and bed, that makes things a bit harder to restore as well. As was stated, the owenr may have to pay someone to take it, but at best would get the scrap iron price for it. I think if I had the inclination to restore it, I’d offer something (maybe $50.00) just to make the owner feel better about it, and that might garner some assistance from the owner in your move.

John Henry

can’t see a treadle on it if that is what you wanted………home made belt drive drum put on

NIL DESPERANDUM, acquire it for scrap price, definately NOT more!!! freight it it back home, deposit it outside, preferably on a catchment base, throw at least 1 gallon of diesel at it and over it, gradually, and let it soak, 1/2/3/4/5 days or whatever, diesel for pennys or cents, is the best penetrating oil for the price you can get (forget all the aerosol cans just expensive waste) let it drain down, then see how many nuts are siezed, (if any) and if so ordinary D.I.Y. blowtorch, heat the stubborn nuts up, under heat, 1 little minute tweak to tighten, yes to tighten, and then progressively untighten, (going for broke and untightening straight often shears before giving it a chance with friendly persuasion!!!) When it looks as if progression is possible, dismantle completely, marking up carefully for reassembly. When dismantled, obviously check thorougly for wear, that may need expert attention or parts. Next step comparatively small expense begins here, locate local tool hire shop and hire for 24/48 hours single phase compressor and shot blast gun, and get a competetive deal, on enough shot for the job, and be advised as to what grade is required, for your needs, the compressor will have to produce at least 20 cfm Cubic Feet Per Minute. Mask up with PLASTIC TAPE (not masking tape), gear teeth, bearing surfaces, plug shaft holes with cork or similar and blast away regardless, back to shiny metal, or original fetelling on side frames etc. OF COURSE WITH PROTECTIVE GOGGLES AND FACE MASK, normally provided as freebies, from your tool hire shop, after getting back to bare metal, second inspection, before stripping of protective tape, shafting that was naked originally, left as was!!! every thing else sprayed with, specifically, ACID ETCH PRIMER, modern version of, Red Lead or Red oxide base Paint from way back. If at any point past Shot Blasting, it becomes an insurmountable battle, still the option of offering many parted out (believed to be your expression) nice looking parts, offered for sale. Give it your best shot at redemption, because as ASDA/WALMART say ***when its gone its gone*** Good Luck.

I 2nd what others are saying. Given the condition and the stairs behind it (if that is the way out) that should be a free/scrap value press.

Restoring that will be a lot of work but would be rewarding. You would have to really want to do it and use the press though, you may not get your restoration money back out of it if you decide to sell it some day.

Thank you everyone so much for your opinions! A little more info for everyone:

-I’m out west and the Press is in the midwest—- so it will be traveling a very long distance.
-This means I’ve never seen it in person, but I personally know the current owner
-There are storm doors so it won’t have to go up the stairs (thank god)
-I’m in a MFA program for Printmaking, so I am quite motivated!
-All of this is contingent on me winning scholarship money to do this!

Bottom line, if I win the scholarship I will be jumping on this opportunity.

More thoughts are welcome! You’ve all given me great questions to ask about this press. Thanks again


If you’re new to using such a press I’d strongly recommend getting a treadle if it has the crank-style flywheel shaft, which it should, being an old style. You can buy a treadle or make one — the treadle gives much better control over speed and makes stopping the press quickly an option. Once you have mastered the rhythm of treadling and feeding the press you can think of putting a motor on it.


It always helps when you know the people involved in the deal. I bet you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to get that old machine spinning again once you soak those rusty joints with oil :) A couple of my hand presses didn’t look much different when they came out of basements and crawlspaces. C&P’s are built like tanks. Good luck, moves are always an adventure especially if its a long haul.

Christa, Christa, Christa…

Noooooo. There are operating C&P’s here out west (where are you?) that are not covered in rust and you wouldn’t risk paying the shipping costs for an inoperable press that you would have to spend that much time restoring. Try calling around. They exist!

There is a point still missing here ,this could be m/c No 0001
It could be the bitser thyat repairs ten other presses and as a bitser you dont even bother cleaning it up . Strip it ,shove it under your house and wait for the calls for the bits ,a second hand part for one of these presses may be the only part available to a cash strapped eager hobby printer .
I am obviously wandering where Mr Runfeldt is ,this looks like a goood one for the initiated to stir into life!!

While I’m not sure I would travel that far to get that press, I would definitely try to restore it, if possible. I can’t tell you how much fun I had restoring my 8x12 OS rescued from a similar situation, not to mention how much I learned about how presses work. I had to disassemble it in someone’s basement and drag it out the back stairs with some engine pulls, rope and a couple of old guys my father brought along to help.

It took me a few months to de-rust it and get everything back together (with help from photos I took and the plans for the NS you can find at Green Dolphin Press), but I am so happy I did it. Now I know every inch of that press and can tell if there are any issues.

Side Note: The curved “S” spokes on the flywheel point to it being an Old Style, but the straight flywheel crank shaft points to it being a New Style, so you may have a NS that’s been repaired with pieces from an OS.

I think it’s important to know your talents, limits, and actual interests before you take on a project like this. If you are a beginner and what you really want to do is print, and you don’t have a friend who’s a machinist or incredibly mechanically minded, who’s excited to help you, then I would very much discourage you from taking this on. There are presses that work ready for the having. On the other hand, if you are a tinkerer and the idea of taking it all apart and putting it back together sounds like a fun thing in itself, go for it! For me, when I was beginning, my press didn’t work and it took plenty of time and money to get it going and it wasn’t nearly in as bad shape as that. I say leave this to the guys who love bringing rusty broken machines back to life, and spend your time printmaking instead.