We're always working to improve things at the shop and bring as many services in-house as possible. So when we spotted this 1947 C&P Craftsman in Portland, we couldn't pass it up.
This green beauty is basically a newer, larger version of our old style 8x12 press with many advancements in design, improving maintenance, serviceability and output. This press was last used to die cut balsa wood airplanes. The former owner purchased all the dies from the failing company who used to mass produce them for toy stores. Rad!
Man, this press weighs a lot, but with a come-along winch, two pipes and a Johnson bar, it only took three of us to move it safely into the back corner of the print shop. Someone in years past took the liberty to paint it a minty green leaving the out of reach parts the factory gun-metal-gray.
After thoroughly oiling the press and installing the single speed motor, we threw ink on the press and started tuning things up. If you didn't know, Craftsman presses have two hand dials that quickly and easily adjust the platen for alignment and pressure. The rails are also adjustable and replaceable if need be as opposed to the old style rails that have no adjustment. There are many layers of tape on our old 8x12 to to achieve good printing and the process for getting that tape job right is probably one of my least favorite aspects of printing with letterpress. Compared to taping, adjusting the rails on the Craftsman is worth the the upgrade.
With a few fine adjustments and the installation of the variable speed motor, this beautiful beast will be ready to print in a matter of days. Just in time for the new project you've been think of!