Galley Height?

I recently purchased a Vandercook #3. I have used Vandercooks in the past but it has been some time. I was struck by the phrase “galley height” and was wondering what it means exactly. The information that I have found on this press refers to a bed plate that comes with the press. I will be picking the press up next week and I am wondering if there is something specific I should be looking for. Also, and I must mention that I have emailed NA Graphics just now, I am looking for any and all information regarding my new press. Manuals, ads, etc. Thank you in advance.


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Bill Whitley
17 years ago

I have a galley-height model (317), which did not come to me with a bed plate – NA Graphics had one fabricated and shipped to me for a very reasonable price.

The Boxcar site has a #3 manual and parts list available as a PDF download.

Bill Whitley
Holliston MA

Fritz Klinke
17 years ago

Both the .918 and .968 roller setting gauges are also available from our website at Bed plates are available, but the common rolled steel products available today that are closest to the .050″ standard of galleys and composing sticks is 18 gauge steel. If you make your own, do not use galvanized sheet stock as the zinc plating is uneven in application and this will affect the printing height. Many sheet metal shops do not stock the proper cold rolled stock, and may want to substitute hot rolled, and you might as well compare that to printing from the surface of a golf course.


The Arm NYC
17 years ago

If you have a galley height press and actually plan to do some proofing of type in galleys with the bed plate removed you should check the Briar Press classifieds for Abby Uhteg’s recent listing for an original .968 roller setting gauge. There where two versions of the Vandercook type high gauge and since most of us don’t print type in galleys we are using the more common .918 roller setting gauges which, incidentally, are now available new from “Gerald Lange”:

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Paul Moxon, Moderator
17 years ago

Galley height means that the bed surface is .968″ below the surface of the bed bearers (the smooth rails that supports the cylinder during impression). A galley height press bed is .050″ deeper than a standard bed press which is .918″ (the height of metal printing type). A galley bed plate is .050″ thick (same as a steel galley used to store a composed type or illustration blocks). Thus, to print with a galley press a printing form must be raised up by placing a bed plate or galley beneath it.

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