Folksy Ltd

Table top printing press

I have recently got into lino printing again and at the moment I have been hand pressing everything, which is extremely difficult. I am looking for a tabletop printing press to make this process a lot easier on my muscles.

I was wondering if any of you have experience of printing presses, where to purchase second hand ones, which presses are good and where to find the best value for money.

I have what is laughingly called a ‘portable’ etching press. It is absolutely brilliant but portable it is not, it takes 2 people to lift… Although I suppose in terms of bigger etching presses that is portable, at least it can be lifted!
My press will print up to size A4. It wasn’t a cheap option but it is fabulous quality and I love it. It was from a company called Hawthorn Printmaker Supplies.

Would an embossing machine be usable? You can roll (like a mangle)the lino/paper through, or you can get electric ones now.

Thank you. I had a look at their presses, they look amazing. :grinning: That kind of press would be ideal, although a little expensive. It is a hard judgment on whether I invest in something like that whilst trying to support a family with the little I can produce and sell with the time restraints I have. Have to guarantee making enough money to cover the investment long term. I maybe need to look out for one second hand.

I have no idea on whether an embossing machine will work. I wonder if would be heavy enough to create a good print. Something to look into, I think, as a cheaper alternative. Thanks for the suggestion :grinning:

A friend uses a letterpress type press, the sort that presses down rather than rolls. I think if you just want to transfer the ink that would work? My work is all about the embossing so I need the extra oomph that the etching press gives.

It used to be the thing to convert old mangles into presses but I think it might be harder to find an old mangle these days than an actual press…

I found a wonderful antique cast iron printing press on ebay, a real bargain at 60.00. I felt really lucky but it’s very heavy, not exactly table top, but if you can find a permanent place for it, I wouldn’t want anything less. I also have a little light weight portable one but frankly I only use it for storing Linocuts just to keep them flat, it really is no good for pressing, despite it’s claims. I still love my bamboo barren for much of my work, because the effect is so different.
I became really engrossed in it all while I was looking for a press I researched and visited printing museums to look at some of the amazing printing presses, and I found it quite romantic as well as inspiring. I do wish you luck and hope you find the right press for you. :slight_smile:

I have this one and I’m really pleased with it.

Thank you Gloria. Is your cast iron printing press the same as a book press? Someone has recommend using one to print lino, not having experience of using one themselves. I was unsure if it would work with lino cuts.

I came across the bamboo barren the other day actually and wondered how different they were to use. It appears that you do not apply a huge amount of pressure, unlike the sort I have which is plastic. Might be all I need.

I have also really enjoyed going around printing museums, looking at presses and old techniques. We can all learn so much from what they did before and from each other.

Yes, the letter press ones do work for lino and you can certainly pick them up a lot cheaper than the roller presses. Never thought of converting an old mangle, just been online and you can get hold of them cheaply, just finding one locally or postage is very high. Thank you again your work is lovely by the way.

1 Like

Thank you for that suggestion. I had seen that press, but unsure on whether the quality was good. Your work looks amazing, so that a good indication it works well.

Thank you, kind words! : )
The press is great for the price. It’s especially good for large areas of solid colour. Anything with very fiddly detail and I revert back to using the back of a wooden spoon so I can control it. I’ve not had it long so still trial and error at the moment. On the whole, I’m very pleased. Hope you find something suitable. Happy printing x

I use a really old iron book binding press. My husband bought it for me from eBay for about £50 and added extra layers to it so it- it weighs an absolute tonne (not looking forward to trying to move it into a new house in 3 weeks!) but it certainly takes several people and wheels to move. It definitely does the job though! But depending on what it is I’m printing I also prefer to just use a barren. I find when I’m needing the ink to cover a large surface area I need the press. It’s it’s a small area or thinner lines I use the barren as the press can actually distort the paper slightly depending on what it is I’m creating.
definitely worth keeping an eye on eBay though as new proper presses cost a fortune. And it’s amazing what you can convert. I’ve seen someone use an old Tarmac roller!! Haha

Good luck!!

Hello Ann, Here is a picture of it, there are many examples of book presses, and I found that not all are suitable, but I am thrilled with this. It weighs a ton so it does need a permanent place. As for the bamboo barren it is lovely to use and you don’t need a lot of pressure, just good even gentle application. I like your work very much by the way. Best wishes, Gloria
PS . Oops…I couldn’t put my photo here so here is one just like it :smile:

I’m selling these for £289 with free delivery within mainland UK and low cost worldwide shipping. They print up to A1poster size can be lifted easily by one person.
Check out my Facebook page “portable printing press company” for details.

1 Like

That looks great. I have managed to source one, but its quite a bit smaller. Thanks though for taking the time to reply