Moving an SP20 Upstairs

New poster, long time lurker.

So, we run a silkscreen shop in Columbia, SC call The Half and Half. I learned how to use C&P clamshells at school, and later traveled to Hatch Show Print to learn their Vandercooks. We want to expand our abilities to letterpress, and I have a lead on a few vandercooks, but I’m worried about getting it up stairs. We don’t have a freight elevator, and the stairs turn at the top. (pictures below).

Is there anyway to break down the press into a few large pieces to have movers get it up the stairs? We had our 1200lbs silkscreen press moved up there in 4 parts, and it has a footprint of about twice the size of the sp20. I’m fairly good at understanding mechanics, so I wouldn’t be completely lost in reassembling it after I’ve taken it apart, and I document thoroughly with pictures and notes along the way.

That being said, I was unable to find the weight of a sp20, but I’m guessing between 1200 and 1500 lbs.

shop pictures for reference

Thank you!

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Chris Jackson
16 years ago

I am late to this conversation, but I wanted to add my two cents. When living in Providence, RI I was involved with the early stages/meetings of AS220’s community print shop. One Saturday, we were scheduled to move the #4 into their new building, a building, to my knowledge a building without (at least at that point) a functioning elevator. When I arrived with the previous owner of the #4 we were surprised to find that the press had been moved up the stairs, without any special tools, etc. It might be worth your time to call AS220 ( to find out about how the press was moved. They may be able to give you some advice. Good luck.

Duncan Dempster
16 years ago

Feed board/cabinet comes off easily to reduce length and a little weight. Cylinder can be carefully removed and carried by two people (search the various archives for doing this and replacing it properly.) Then, you could remove the bed from the cabinet and hire some muscle to carry them up the stairs(?) Never removed and then replaced a bed but it should be doable. I would expect that four people could carry the bed upstairs. Fritz Klinke or someone else may be able to give you a ballpark weight for the respective components we’re talking about. I’d consider trying it if I were in a similar situation, but I’m not sure I would go through with it. I totally understand dealing with and accepting weird work spaces.

Cutting the CMU wall open, hiring a crane to slide it in, and then reinstalling a new window system could be done if the landlord is down with that kind of thing. That sounds pricier and more complicated than some careful disassembly, several strong backs, and a case of beer to me…
But if you’re going to be there for awhile it might make future equipment acquisitions possible.

The Arm
16 years ago

That doesn’t look like fun. How long do you intend to be in the building? Do you have a long lease? I’d think twice before doing something as ambitious as this. You need some really good/expensive riggers.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Ray Nichols
16 years ago

1,440 pounds.

3’3″ x 7’4 ½

Tight corners are hard. I would take cardboard and make that size of a rectangle and see if you can slide it along the floor and get it through the door.

The top of those stairs look like there isn’t much of a way to anchor something to pull / wench the press up the stairs which is a serious negative.

Any chance you could hoast it through a window in the second floor?

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