Welcoming our new (old) press!

For months now, we’ve been on the lookout for a larger press. Our search had been narrowed down almost exclusively to 10×15 presses. Our good friend Alan Runfeldt has more presses than he can even remember, including one that we thought would be absolutely perfect. After many weeks and discussions, we struck a deal and planned to move the press from his barn in Frenchtown, NJ to my garage just south of Philadelphia, PA.

To start, I borrowed a friends truck and rented a U-Haul trailer (5×9 Utility Trailer with ramp). Once that was hooked up, we made our way to Frenchtown.

This was the view of the press when we started that day. It was buried behind a wall of type cases! Luckily, Alan was able to clear them away pretty quickly with a pallet jack.

Once the press was out in the open, we began the hunt for the motor, which was buried in a different part of the barn. Eventually we mounted the motor, and fired up the press. It was a great relief seeing it run for the first time.

After that we all spent quite a while cleaning and oiling the press. It hadn’t moved for several years, so there was a little surface rust, and plenty of dust and grime built up on it. WD-40, Scotch-Brite pads, and some elbow grease went a long way toward fixing all that.

The press had been bolted down to a shipping pallet. So the next step was to get the press up on some wooden rails, and then into our trailer. Alan used a hydraulic car jack and some wood to lift each side of the press and slide the rail under. The press was then locked onto those rails with lag bolts.

Once it was all bolted down, we connected the press to the trailer using a Come-Along Cable Puller and put metal pipes under the rails. As we pulled the press up with the Come-Along, it rolled easily on the pipes. When it would roll off of the rear pipe, we simply tipped the press back and put the pipe back at the front of the rails. We just did that over a few times until the press was all the way up in the trailer. Then we wrapped it tight with some ratchet straps and started the slow, careful journey home.

Once home, the hardest part may have been actually backing the big truck and trailer into my driveway! But once we did that, it was pretty much reversing the process with the Come-Along and pipes to lower the press down and into position in the garage.

The next morning I took my son out to meet the new machine, which he was obviously very happy about! Then I got to work on testing the press on a run of decorative Winter coasters. Perfect!

We’re thrilled with this new press, and we couldn’t be more grateful to Alan for all of his help. He’s been an invaluable resource for us. Be sure to visit him at Excelsior Press!