Suppliers in Australia

Hello. I have been doing up an Arab Press and need to purchase rollers, a chase, a base… the list goes on.

Are there any reputable parts suppliers within Australia ( in live on the Central Coast, near Sydney).

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Hi Nicole, Within a few weeks there is going to be a new site which will be a bit of a ‘one stop shop’ for you. In the meantime you might want to get in touch with Brisset Rollers for your Arab rollers. Hopefully you just need your rollers recovered as that will make things a little easier. Otherwise it might be worth popping down to the Penrith Printing Museum on a Saturday morning and firing some questions to the guys there as they’ll be able to point you in all the right directions for the things you need. Good luck!!


Hi I’m printing in Tasmania and I have always had a problem with suppliers in Australia. I buy Van Son inks from Melbourne etching supplies and a trade supplier here in tassie sells them too. They sell great papers as do Hoggetts paper. For Hardware its Ebay, and just keep watching it. Gum tree might be worth a look. For a lot of things its overseas and the British printing society could be a good contact. The Arab was English and many are still in use. Someone must have a spare Chase! sounds like an idea whose time has come Great idea.

I live in Darwin, NT.
I have a British, Morfitt’s Empress, Letterpress from 1890 ( a copy of a Minerva Cropper).
It had odd rollers on it that did the job…just.
So, I got some custom made rollers/trucks made from scratch at Todds Press Time as they were a unique configuration. I can highly recommend his work. He is a member of Briar Press, has a website and sells on Epay…..
I’m really looking forward to
What a great idea !

I live in adelaide and have a 9x13 cropper, charlton and co. platen which is an ‘Arab style press’. I have two 9x13 chases here that are the wrong shape for my press but might fit yours??

Can’t wait to see We definitely need an Australia-centric letterpress forum/supplier/one stop shop….. is simply Chapel Press from Melbourne.

From experience, unfortunately Chapel Press have never been sincerely interested in helping other printers. They’re very suspicious of other printers. It’s an unfortunate thing that happens in Australia - lack of trust, collaboration. At the same time, too much blatant copying and lack of originality. Some of us feel we’re in too small a market, and start turning nasty on each other. I’m not meaning to be nasty here. Simply telling it as it is, so we don’t all expect a miracle website that washes our laundry for us.

If you’re after rollers - as someone said, use Brissets. Your only option is Rotadyne who are setting up shop.

You can’t just buy a chase for a machine manufactured in 1910. This isn’t the fault of suppliers as it’s 2013, and a website certainly won’t fix that. Which model Arab do you have? I have a spare 10x15 Arab chase if you’re interested.

Bases are best purchased from Boxcar or Elum.

I’ve just had rollers made for my Arab 9 x 13. The shafts weren’t worth reusing so the price included new shafts. Thorndon Rubber Company in Wellington N.Z. did the job.
A friend is making up new runners so that they will be an identical diameter. Some came with the machine but were not the 1 and 3/4” that seem to be the most common size for this model. Get in touch if you need more info.

A little disappointing re Courtney’s news on the new letterpress site. As a “lead only” printer I got my hopes up of something interesting happening in Australia. Just more computer graphics and ghastly Lettra paper. Seriously I cannot understand why Lettra is so popular when there are better and cheaper products out there. Personally I favour Magnani. It is less expensive in Australia, has a pedigree as long as your arm and comes in such a variety of weights and styles. I can’t recommend it highly enough and the service from Magnania Australia is excellent.

I couldn’t agree more about Magnani paper. I have been printing with it for 25 years and its excellent for Letterpress.

Thanks everyone for helping me out with all this great information. I am looking forward to getting this beautiful lady up and running again!

Hello fellow Assie printers,

It feels a bit less lonely here knowing there is a small crowd. Magnani is great. The Brissett guys have been life savers. For plates GMS (torelief) are good but pricey. I preffer Avflex now. Ink i have found difficult to find.

What about tympan sheets?

For Ink I use oil based, off-set printing ink I purchase from A M International. Works great.
For Tympan sheets on my smaller presses I use the “old school” Manilla Folders cut down to size & shape.

I tried to buy some Van Son inks from MES over the weekend and it was one of the rudest retail experiences I’ve ever had.

Does anyone know of anywhere else I can try for inks? Preferably in Melbourne.

MES can be very snooty depending on the person. In Tasmania Bilton Graphics in Hobart would be very good. They do phone orders very well and are swift. I’ve dealt with them for at least 20 years and would be cheaper than MES. Friendlier. I must say though that sample swatches just arn’t out there anymore but there is a Von son web site (US i think).

Mangani i agree is great to print on and for the cards we print we use Fabriano Rosapina from MES. They have two heavily discounted sales a year, so its worth getting on the mailing list.

… Would like to add, that ‘James’ at Magnani Papers offers advice and service that is long forgotten by most retailers or suppliers. Patient, polite and above all, informative. 10/10

Nicole, have restored an Arab and am happy to share what I know.



Coming a bit late to this thread but maybe I can offer the following.
Can wholeheartedly endorse Magnani papers, but also have a look at Hahnemuhle papers available from most art/printmaking suppliers (eg Heidelberg or Neil Wallace). The “Copper etching” range is good for printing books as opposed to cards and one-of’s.
Courtney’s comments ring true for many creative fields in Oz. Having said that tho’ it all depends on where you are - in Adelaide there is a small but enthusiastic group of letterpress enthusiasts who are all about sharing and helping each other out. Informally known as the “Letterpress Lovelies” we meet occasionally to socialize and to print. Whenever there are letterpress bits and pieces the word is spread around.
On the issue of spares and repairs, we need to accept that the gear we use is very old and worn. My general advice is to get to know a good engineer or fitter and turner. I have also had some success from modern technology when trying to find a missing part for my Wharfedale press (see separate thread ). I eventually created a 3D model of the missing part (from measurements I took off another one like it) and had the part 3D printed in a hard thermo-plastic. It does the job and eventually will be the pattern for a new metal casting from it.
I think the future for letterpress in Oz is really good as most newcomers seem to be young and enthusiastic.
There seems also to be a resurgence of hand bookbinding amongst the printers as well - good news.

Just another quick word on tympan paper.
I have had results that are just as good as traditional tympan manilla when using a heavy grade of Mylar. the added advantage is that its see through so layout sheets , mark ups and first colour runs can be positioned under them.

Yeah, you guys in SA are lucky. I have seen a few presses and guillotines that looked great! … but wait a minute…. its in Adelaide…

Maybe we could start a group in melb?

I’d join a Melbourne group!

I got in contact with James at Magnani Papers, and am getting some sample sent out - thanks for the recommendation everyone!

Also bought some ink from GBC online - shipping was next day, and the price was cheap - it’s just a pity I had to pay shipping.

Hi everyone, I’m from Melbourne as well and so new to the world of letterpress! I’m loving the learning journey that I’m on. I thought I would post here just because we’re all Aussies!

I was just wondering if anyone could help - I was looking to purchase a tabletop press to start out on and learn on but haven’t had any luck as yet finding one in Australia, as postage from OS hikes up the price considerably.

However, a Heidelberg T Platen has crossed my path and I was thinking of diving in for the purchase. It’s circa 1965, and has been used mostly for die-cutting and scoring. The seller has told me that it is in good working order, comes with a full set of inking rollers, what he thinks are all the original tools and accessories and the operating manual. He’s selling fairly cheap from what I’ve seen for other listings (I’m not sure why, so thought I would ask the experts :) ) and I’ve also asked for the serial number.

He emailed me a few images which I’ve attached and I was wondering if anyone could let me know if it would be a wise purchase.

I know it’s an advanced machine especially for starting out, but any help would be great!

Thanks so much,

:: UPDATE ::

The serial number is: T159825E. The seller said it would probably need new rollers and that there is a bit of surface rust on the steel riders. He also said that the owner before him used it only for printing, while he has only used it for scoring and die cutting, as he has another printer he uses to print. It also comes with 2 chases.

Thanks again for any help that anyone can give me,

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Lisa, the ink cylinder seems good but some areas seem to have quite a bit of rust. Might come off pretty good but i would be concerned about cleaning rust and keeping things type high. Be patient the right one will come along!

Just a note to the Aussies following the thread, does anyone know where i could get adhesive film for the the pp plates?

Its in relation to this post:

Can anyone help?

Hi Lishii,

Thanks so much for your help!


I thought I’d add a comment since there seems to be lots of Aussies here! I’m new to letterpress (I’m still looking for a press actually, if anyone knows of one for sale!)… Lisa, if you bought that Heidelberg, you just beat me, because I was trying to buy it too :-)

Since there seems to be a few supporters… does anyone think it might be worthwhile getting a Melbourne letterpress group up and running?

Right,a lot of talk but no action. Lets get this Melb group going. Whoever is interested send me a msg directly and i will try to organise something central for everyone. Maybe a couple of drinks at a pub or a press show and tell? I bit heavy to bring your floor models perhaps?! But may a sample of your work?

Hi all!

This was a fair while away… did the group end up happening? If you’re interested in getting to know other Australian-based letterpress junkies - PM me!