Universal I Moving Tips

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Hey Folks,

I was wondering if anybody has some good tips about moving a press (the UNI I above) from a second floor? I’m in the process of getting a quote from a crane service, but I fear the price is going to be a lot more then I can afford right now.

I’m wondering how difficult it would be to break down the press into it’s major parts and handcart down the two sets of stairs. Anyone have any experience doing so? That way I could also transfer it into my apartment without having to crane it in, which I had to do with my current Vandercook #4.

Good idea, bad idea – let me know your thoughts.


Friedrich Kerksieck

Small Fires Press

5 thoughts on “Universal I Moving Tips

  1. Jonathan Jarvis - January 19, 2013

    having completely gone over a Western which is a Vandercook 4 copy so am not certain if the universal is completely comparable you should look at whether to break it down into each component, carriage, bed, motor, ink drum etc, just a few bolts might hold the bed(the heaviest bit?) to the cabinet structure/subframe,then strap it to pallets on its side rather than lifting up on end?and slide down skids on the stairs winching it down as suggested, do not rely on people being able to hold back these larger components, if an accident who would be responsible and who would sue who……………

  2. Enrique - January 17, 2013

    Hmmm.. You could remove the bed also it would be a lot less heavy, not just the carriage, but keep in mind that the bed itself is really heavy. So you would need to be super careful. But I assure you, more complicated moves have been pulled off. I have no clue whether someone has documented removing the bed here on the site, but my recommendation would be to get an engine hoist. Otherwise it will be nearly impossible to remove it safely.
    Then rig it onto a platform, and again, get at least four strong guys to help you stand it up when you reach the turn in the stairs, and still use the come along. I don’t know what else.
    Hopefully more people will chime in.
    If you could know for certain the weight of the bed it would be easier to know and photos of the stairs should also help.

  3. Friedrich - January 17, 2013

    Thanks Enrique & Jhenry,

    Unfortunately my only two options right now are crane it out, or break it down into the carriage, bed, motor and supports/cabinet.

    The stairs have two parts – the first landing is large enough to work the whole press down, but there would be no way to turn it once I get down the second set of stairs.

    At this point I’d prefer to break it down, both to save money by not having to pay a rigger to move it out of its current location and then into my apartment, and also because it would give me a chance to make sure everything it thoroughly cleaned and oiled. If I can stand the bed up vertically I should be able to get it down alright on a solid hand cart.

    I’ve had experience removing a carriage before, but not really any in taking the bed off or moving a press. I’ll search the site for more tips, but if anyone has any suggestions please let me know. Or if it sounds like a terrible idea too – – –

    Thanks again.


  4. Enrique - January 17, 2013

    You can most certainly remove the carriage. It’s not super easy, but it can be done. I’m with Jhenry on this.
    If the stairs give enough clearance, use a come-along to slowly start bring it down, maybe some used carpeting on the stairs if damage might be an issue. Do it slowly, get a couple or more people to help out and you should be able to accomplish this.

  5. jhenry - January 17, 2013


    In my view, it is always better to leave a press intach if possible. If the stairs are a straight shot to an large landing, you could attach heavy planks to the feet and a heavy-duty winch or come-along at the top of the stairway and lower the press intact. I think there are some exam[ples of various moving experiences on this site.

    If you do have to remove the bed and carriage to make the move feasible, that can surely be done. Just keep a good photographic journal of each step of the disassemnbly process, and use it to reverse the process for assembly. Permanently marking the engaging gears between the cylinder and bed can be of great assistance in re-assembly. Once again, I believe there are some stories and descriptions of various techniques on this site.

    For certain, you should remember that the press you are dealing with is really quite a valuable asset in the current market, and no matter what your purchase price is, once it is on terra firma (read that first floor) it’s worth a lot more, so some expense at this point could be recovered at some future point. Just remember your safety as well as that of the press when you devise your moving plan.

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