Rollers & Belt for C&P Craftsman 12x18


I have owned a C&P 12x18 Craftsman for a few years and am just getting to a place where I can show it some love and attention! The person I purchased it from kept it in great condition, but it needs new rollers and a new belt.

I’m newish to letterpress (minus a few classes back in college) so I’d love if someone could point in the direction of where to buy rollers and how to identify what size I need!

The belt fit at one point in time, but doesn’t anymore—either I’m not strong enough to stretch on the wheel or it’s shrunk. Any recommendations on where to purchase a new belt and/or how to fit it to the press?

Any help is appreciated!

Log in to reply   8 replies so far

Many people on this site recommend Ramco for their roller replacement. Others use NA Graphics. I have heard good reports on both places and I hear that there are other sources. Sorry, I don’t know much about a new belt. I have printed on a 12 x 18 C & P that was treadle powered. Ooof! But it ran fine and printed beautifully. Good luck with your press: it will appreciate the TLC.


C&P Craftsman presses came with a rubberized fabric belt held together with steel “lacing” in the ends, held together with a small diameter rawhide “dowel”. What happened when this little rawhide piece wore out was the belt would separate, and the pressman or machinist would shove a new one in between the ends. If your belt is not of this construction, it would not be original. The motor mount on Craftsman presses has take-up and aligning bolts, consequently, one place either a slightly tight or slightly loose belt on the press as a replacement. Just be certain that the belt runs true. Let us know what type belt you’ve got — some of the gray heads here will be able to puzzle it out.

Flat or v-belt?
Belts shouldn’t stretch under the fairly low tension that should be involved here, so probably you just need to slacken any motor mount adjuster and push the belt back on.

BTW, I’ve always used iron tie wire for joining metal belt laces, not rawhide; they don’t wear out.

The whole purpose of the rawhide is to be the part to wear out — NOT the metal lacing, which will wear out if you use steel, and will not if you use rawhide. If you ever tried to re-lace a belt, you would see what I mean!

I’ve seen a bamboo dowell used to join “alligator” belt joints, and I’m sure rawhide lasts longer.

Hide lacing is used when the belt has punched holes and the laces run over the pulleys. That’s the classic belt lacing.

Metal “alligator” lacing uses a metal pin through it, and that never contacts the pulleys.(Note that metal pins are specifically sold for this type of joint.)

Two completely different beasts. And yes, I’ve made up flat belts off the roll with metal clips, both with the special tool and with a hammer.

I just made a new batch of 12x18 Craftsman rollers and have new trucks in stock to. click on my name to send message.

Thanks, everyone! Appreciate the insight.

I think I need to adjust the motor—it looks like it has a little wiggle room.

It’s a flat belt. Photo attached of how it was made. Any insight on if it’s original would be helpful. Thanks!