Hello from Scotland!

Hello All!

I am very happy to become a member of your community!

After many years of wanting to indulge in my love of letterpress finally bought a Adana 5x3 tabletop press today! It came up for sale in local classified ads and I just had to have it!

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Oops sorry submitted too quickly! I also received some type with the machine but as far as the machine goes I know I have to buy new roller as the one that came with the machine have deteriorated.

Apart from that I believe I need a Chase and some Quoins? Am I right in assuming this. Also if anyone could point out anything else I might require for this machine? I am hoping to put in an order with Caslon Tomorrow!

Thanks in advance all….I am sooooo excited to get started!


You can look at the Adana Manual online here:

Thank you! will have a read through them now!

Great little press in good shape. Get a new set of rollers via Caslon, or do a net search for polymer rollers. I have a 6x4 and a 8x5. Lovely presses. I know a woman who has a diploma of art in Printmaking and makes a good living making woodcut cards and Linotype cards etc and hardly sets any type. Is rearing two kids OK!

That is one clean Adana, has it ever been used?

You have a choice of rollers, rubber from Caslon or the polymer from Elli Evans, I’m using both.

That’s great advice on the rollers! Which ones are the best for using, I am hoping mainly to do impression work ie debossing/embossing with soft cotton card stock?.. I have been reading that this can be difficult on a press this size? Fingers crossed!…

Yes the machine looks brand new .. The person I bought it from had never used it and never knew much about it but when unpacked clippings if a newspaper revealed date of 1962..!!! Fascinating!….

On a press that size you will have trouble getting a satisfactory “debossing/embossing” image the size of a small postage stamp. That press was made for a kiss impression of a business card. It may break if you try anything heavy-duty.


Hello Bob!…

When you say the size if a postage stamp Do you mean something that would deboss in the middle of the chase? Is that the best position for maximum effect? And when you say break the machine do you mean the platen would give or the springs etc?…

I suppose until I have all the necessary equipment I’ll not know fully but a little :-( at knowing it won’t achieve the effect I’m after..

The strongest position for the press would be in the middle of the chase. I don’t know about the Adana’s strength of parts, but it’s made of either cast iron or cast aluminum, both of which are fairly strong but brittle. A lot also depends on the paper you’re using and the depth you want to punch to. With a very soft paper you can probably get more depth or a larger area than a harder paper. I think what would be most likely to break would be either the lever you push down to print or the base of the press. I’d suggest that you start with a small area to deboss as a test and see how much resistance you feel in the impression. If you have to push down very hard you are probably at risk of breakage.


Thanks Bob will give it all a try and see how I get on and post pictures!!

I don’t know where you’re in Scotland, but Harry McIntosh from Speedspools on Queensferry Road in Edinburgh casts type on the Monotype. He’s got a wide range of matrices. Give him a tinkle.

Hi Thomas,

I am in Edinbugh! and in the same area, off to look up Harry and Speedspools!

Thanks so much for all the help!

Hello Edingal, say hello to Harry from me, I used to live (and run courses in typesetting and printing) in Cramond. As mentioned above, don’t expect to do much embossing on an Adana, the press is built in a light alloy and if you put too much pressure on the machine, the lever will just snap off. Try to find a larger size cast-iron table top platen press to do your embossing on. Learn to print ‘normal’ work first on this small machine, before tackling more complicated work. Good luck!

I believe Harry Macintosh has basically closed up shop - I think he may still be punching spools for other casters, but I *think* that’s it.

Welcome to the fold, Edingal. If you find you need new type or leads, have a look at www.handandeye.co.uk, or drop us a line on [email protected]


Hello All,

I grew up in Crammond Thomas!… Small world!… I will drop Harry an email and see what’s what in Edinburgh! Hopefully he will be able to point me in the right direction with all things letterpress! A. It sad that this machine will not really be able to do what I’m after would an 8x5 Adana fair any better?… Just waiting on rollers and I will do a few tests! … Can anyone recommend somewhere to get a base and photopolymer plates made for a reasonable price?

Hand and eye thanks ! Yep this forum is great and lots if great tips and info I have been reading! I will be sure and check you guys out!

Thanks again all!!

This is along the lines of my desired effect .. also could someone steer me in the right direction regarding rollers, polymer or rubber?


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Yes, contrary to all rumours, I still have a presence in typesetting, etc. I decided to keep the caster I normally use, retained some typefaces and utilised my duplications. I can now confidently produce text for my own printing as well as for others. Here is the reduced list of typefaces available:

Baskerville (169) - 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14pt
Bembo (270) - 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13pt
Bodoni (135) - 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 11D, 12, 13pt
Bulmer (469) - 11, 12pt
Garamond (156) - 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14pt
Gill Sans (262) - 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14pt
Gill Sans Light (362) - 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12pt
Grotesque Light (126) - 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13pt
Grotesque (215) - 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13pt
Helvetica (765) - 6, 8, 9, 10, 12D
Imprint (101) - 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 11D, 12pt
Modern (1) - 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12pt
Modern (7) - 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12pt
Old Style (2) - 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12pt
Perpetua (239) - 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14pt
Plantin (110) - 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14pt
Plantin Light (113) - 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12pt
Rockwell Light (390) - 6, 8, 9, 10, 12pt
Rockwell Medium (371) - 6, 8, 9, 10, 12pt
Sabon (669) - 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12D
Scotch Roman (46) - 8, 9, 10, 11, 12pt
Scotch Roman (137) - 8, 9, 10, 11, 12pt
Times (327) - 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14pt
Univers Light (685) - 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12D
Univers Medium (689) - 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12D
As well as Cyrillic, Greek and even Hebrew and 4-Line Maths! — and, of course, Sorts and Ornaments up to 14pt, Spoolsetting and MacTronic.
I appreciate your comments Thomas and hope you are well. Keep in touch.

Hi Harry,

Thanks for that list, that’s great, along with the Adana press came a few drawers of type, I am currently spending a few hours a night sorting through them, have managed two and 5 to go!

Learning lots by reading but looking forward to getting some hands on experience!

Harry - glad to hear you’re still going, and sorry for the misunderstanding. Happy christmas, all.



‘You have a choice of rollers, rubber from Caslon or the polymer from Elli Evans, I’m using both.’

I’ve only ever used the rubber ones from Caslon - how do the polymer ones compare?

ryb, the Evans ones are softer and cheaper than the Caslon. I have Evans roller sets for two different presses and both have small dimples. They are ok on type, I have yet to try a large solid to test if the dimples are a problem.
A work experience lad working for a friend was left to clean an 8x5 that had old Evans rollers a few weeks ago.
I had to lever the rollers of the ink disk as they had turned to very sticky soft rollers. I think he used meths instead of white spirit.

Welcome to the club and good luck to your new press and your endeavours. I think you can quickly get the rollers you need.

Thanks 162Lehi09,

I finally received my rollers from Elli Evans 3 weeks after ordering and I will report back on the results as soon as I get up and running!

I also received this package from a very kind member of this site, to say that I was overwhelmed by his generosity is an understatement. The kindness of strangers is unbelievable. The member in question (and I hope he doesn’t mind me saying is Mick on Monotype and he sent me the following package to get me started… unbelievable!!

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You are so fortunate. I want a letterpress badly. I am going to have to make the investment. I see you are from Scotland. I just got back from there 2 weeks ago. My son is studying for his master’s at Strathclyde.

Wish you the best with your new letterpress. Please post pictures.


You will not be able to achieve deep impression (as shown in the example above) on the “Five-Three”. It simply doesn’t have the impression power. The machine will fail in two places: the handle will break (I have damaged two machines in this way) or you will find that a stress fracture develops across the middle of the main frame casting, resulting in a “spongy” feel to the impression mechanism. The “Five-Three” is excellent for kiss impression on small cards - that is exactly what Fred Ayers designed it to do. The deep impression which is now fashionable was never in Fred’s mind when he created that press.

As others have implied, you may achieve deep impression if the print area is small (no bigger than 1.5 inches by 2.5 inches), you have soft packing on your platen, and use a suitable substrate which will compress (something like 400gsm Somerset board), but it won’t do the press any favours.

For deep impression over a larger print area, buy a cast-iron “Model” press - built to do the kind of thing you wish to achieve.

Inksprite, this thread is a little over 2 years old. I suspect she has figured out the limits of her press by now. Coincidentally, the above post, from February 2014, is also her last on Briarpress…

Thank you all for your comments, I have been MIA for a little while as life got in the way of my passion for letterpress which is still going very strong! hopefully I will be around a little more to keep on learning!

I don’t know if anyone has suggested it, but I would recommend that you dampen the paper that you intend to emboss/deboss. It softens the fibers of the paper and makes them much more receptive to the impression.

Hi Steve,

I haven’t tried that yet but will definitely give it a go, Thanks for the suggestion!