Converting a Vandercook Power Proof to Manual Crank

Hello Everyone,
We recently picked up a Vandercook SP-25. The press is a power proof press alot like the Universal models.


The press is complete power, but I have been thinking it would be nice to convert it from a power proof press to an auto inking crank press. A lot like my SP-15, power rollers, but manual crank.

Has anyone ever converted a power proof press to a manual crank?

Thank you,

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You might want to see what Chris Manson did to his Universal III. Or what Steve from Letterpreservation did to the one at the Corcoran in DC.


Thanks, Dan!

Here’s the post on Chris Manson’s Universal III carriage conversion

You must live near Lethbridge :)

Is the press not operable in its present state? If you are planning to use it for editions, and not just proofing, the auto carriage advance and return is a real benefit which I would not disable.

John Henry

I second what Jhenry writes- and add that this is especially true on larger models like your SP-25.

If you stick to a method like Chris Manson’s there is no reason that you couldn’t change your mind later.

Dan, when you’re right you’re right- but it’s still better 95% of the time to have a power press at such a scale.

Hi Mark,
I don’t disagree, but if it is being used by a lot of newbies or in an educational environment I could see the appeal of the safety of a hand cranked press. After all, we know what happened to Vandercook with the Universal II!


Hah, funny you should reference the model I have :-P Agreed.

Have you ever read the synopsis of that case? I can’t help but think that there might have been an issue of operator error and that Vandercook really got shafted, but the Q and A with the Vandercook mechanic is a great read.

Does your press have a clutch like the Uni III? It is important that the clutch be set so that it spins freely when it hits an obstacle. On the Uni III, when the clutch is set correctly, you should be able to restrain the cylinder from moving by grabbing the upright of the frisket tower.