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It's Alive, er, Arrived!

It was a long time coming, but my lovely Arab Letterpress is finally in the studio!

I started seriously looking for a press a couple of months after I landed in the UK, once my husband and I had settled into our flat and all of our belongings had arrived safely from the States. It took me a couple of months, but I finally found a press that looked promising and arranged with the owner to take a look. It was dirty (more on that later), but appeared to be in good working condition so I agreed to buy it. I wasn't in a position to take it that day because I needed to find a workspace (no place for it in my tiny London flat) and a removal company to deliver the press. Everything was arranged and delivery was set for 24 May. Yay! Unfortunately, a number of problems presented themselves. First, the press was much, MUCH, dirtier than I had realized, so the removal men couldn't break down the press into small enough pieces to fit through the hallway/doorways in the studio building I'm working in. They arranged to drop the press off in my back garden so that I could clean it up a bit; they would come back a couple of weeks later to move the press to my studio. It wasn't ideal, but it was the best option we had available. I got another call about an hour after that had been arranged... their truck had broken down and they were having it towed back to their offices up north. Oh no! The silver lining was that they would be able to power wash the press to get the thick layer of grime off and would be able to take it apart and deliver it directly to my studio! I took a little while to arrange delivery, but it was finally set for 16 July. 

The movers were amazing! They loaded the main body of the press onto a palette jack and were able to move it most of the way using that, but the hallways in the studio building are quite narrow and there is a corner to get to my studio, so they had to take it off the jack and basically push it the final 15 feet. I didn't get many pictures of the moving process because I didn't want to get in the way. 

Once the main piece was in place they brought up the back leg with the chase bed and roller arms attached, the treadle and all of the other bits and pieces. 

It took about an hour for them to assemble everything, move it into position, put it up on skids and give a few presses of the treadle to make sure everything was working correctly. It looked good, so they packed up and left. I still haven't been able to properly print on it (it still needs a lot of cleaning and the rollers need to be recovered), but at last, it's all mine!

1 Response

Onkar Dhaliwal
Onkar Dhaliwal

January 16, 2015

Hi Cayce

Lovely reading your blog, and nice to hear that I am not the only letterpress nut out there!

My story: I am in a similar position to you, in that I am negotiated the purchase and removal of an Arab printing press. I actually went today to have a proper inspection with a well experienced letterpress printer (John Neave). After spending half a day dismantling the machine we come to a halt with two problems. We are finding it hard to take the wedge out securing the wedge to the flywheel, and, taking the main cog/gear out (which is attached to the shaft underneath the platen.

Unfortunately the press has to be almost completely be dismantled as to negotiate it through the owners shed!

Help please!!!

Can you please give any further details on how the removal company dismantled the press?

Would be lovely to hear from you.

Thank you


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