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What is the best tabletop starter press to begin printing on?
The Chandler & Price Pilot is a wonderful press that is sought after for it is size and abilities. 6.5x10" inside chase dimensions.
The Craftsman Monarch, Superior, Imperial, or Victory. 8x12, 6.5x10 5x8 and 4x6 are still supported by the Craftsmen Machine Comp Inc. today. www.Craftsmenmachinery.com
The Kelsey Excelsior, Golding Official, Hohner, Baltimorean and Sigwalt are all small-sized tabletop presses. The Kelsey has a 9x13, Golding Official an 8x12 and also Curtis Mitchell an 8x12.
These presses all have the advantage of being compact but are limited in the impression they give.
Cook Kettle Press does accept trades freight considerations are factored.
What are the extra tools and accessories I may need to get printing once I get my press?
There is a bit more to the craft of letterpress than just acquiring a press.
You will need to have quoins and a key for locking up. Furniture, reglets, leading, and spacing if your intention is to use foundry type. A line gauge and composing stick are a standard. And storage.
If it is your intention to only use photopolymer plates, woodcuts, and linocuts your lockup materials and a base are essentials.
Let us not forget the Tympan and packing for your platen as well as registration pins.
Moving up to a floor model press is a big step. What should I consider?
The main consideration should be the work you want to produce. Setting brand name aside, size matters for the print you want. Greeting cards, business cards small folders, and light die cutting can easily be done on a press the size of an 8x12". Give yourself an 8'x 7 or 8' space to operate and service the machine. This can be done in a smaller area, however, reach all the oil ports and do not cramp your body space. Be comfortable.
Electrical is important if the machine is above a 10x15" platen you may want a higher voltage of 220 volts.
Cook Kettle Press does accept trades of tabletops to floor models.