Musings

Bottle jack press

Sneaky surf mat session after hours

The last few weeks I’d been looking for resources to build my own printing press.

It was an offhand comment that a friend had made at dinner one night that one could make one using a car jack. Wha..? Well how hard could that be, I thought. When a close friend out west said he’d open up his workshop and offer his craft expertise to make the press a reality I jumped at it. Building the press out west meant that we could factor in some sneaky surfs during the build!

Custom 6-tonne bottle jack pressThe most comprehensive plans I found were those published online by Charles Morgan on his website, Mossworks Studio. Apparently his bottle jack press could be made from relatively readily available resources and basic hand-tools – a 50-something page how-to pdf. I had also come across Jim’s letterpress printing press – Affordable Binding Equipment which shows off his rather schmicko looking letterpress setup he made himself. When I showed what I had in mind to G he said it was do-able but he wasn’t building ugly. That ruled out Chuck’s but then Jim’s had no instructions. No fuss – with me and Graham at the helm, what could possibly go wrong?

Currently we’re mid-way through the build. I decided to go for a 6-tonne bottle jack for the compression which should give me an effective printable area large enough to do A4 or slightly larger prints. Testing will give me an idea of how large I’ll be able to go and still get the quality of print I’m happy with.