Grippers for vandercook 1, Gen 3

My wife and I recently purchased a vandercook 1 proofing press. It didn’t come with grippers, but the og catalog specified auto grippers and a few pics from older images also display grippers. Any idea where I could find some?make some? Are there other Presses like the 14 that would have grippers of the same size?

Otherwise, the press is in great condition…


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I, too, have a Vandercook #1, but an earlier model, made in 1925. There are a few ways to add some sort of grippers. Scott Moore, of Moore Wood type, for a while manufactured a gripper system that would fit most flatbed cylinder presses. It mounted at the head of the bed, under the cylinder. Some Showcard presses came with similar grippers…essentially spring clamps to hold the paper at one end. I don’t think he’s making them anymore.

You could make something similar with a 3-hole punch made to be clipped into binders. They stay shut until specifically opened. Attach one of these inexpensive plastic gizmos to the head end of the bed. I used this mechanism when I built a bunch of rolling pin presses. It works quite well and accurate registration is achievable.

Another simple way is to cut a 1” strip of manila folder the length of your cylinder and fold it in half lengthwise carefully. Using painters’ blue tape attach the folded paper carefully near the cylinder gap onto the tympan with the folded edge toward the gap. Parallel to the cylinder’s axis of rotation. tape it both lengthwise and around the cylinder at each edge. If you’re careful the folded manila will hold the paper to be printed in place. a pencil mark on the manila is your side guide; easily changed during makeready. I used this method to do a 4 color run of a sheet for the 2009 Centennial of Vandercook Presses. It took a while to get used to and I had more wasted sheets than normal, but I was very happy with the results.

I’m sure there are other ways to jury-rig grippers for the Vandercook 1, but though to share two that worked for me.

This is great. I’ve emaled Moore. Thanks.

How do you attach the 3 hole punch to the head of the bed? Clamps? C clamps? Vise grips?

I’d wedge a strip of wood a bit less than type-high (you want the paper to end up at type height) into the end of the bed maybe holding that down with carpet tape and then screw the 3-hole punch to the wood. There are suitable holes in the punch once you’ve removed the plastic bits.

The paper guide I use on my Nolan proof press is an old piece of furniture with a piece of mat board over half of its width to create a shelf for me to hold the paper against. ‘side guide’ is merely a pencil tick I align to. I can do 2 colours easily with very good results, though sometimes I’ll tack on another piece of mat board to meet the paper corner if I need extra accuracy

The furniture was damaged, and I cut it to the width of the press minus room for a small quoin.