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How to effectively transport a 1500 lb. letterpress
Tacoma has a great community of printers and my friend Jessica Spring helped connect me with a woman outside of town who needed to find a home for her unused press. Enter me and a few helpers! How many people does it take to move 1500 lbs. of cast iron? 2 peple is perfect (it is nice to have a spotter/helper), but we were lucky to have 4!

A word of caution. These presses are very heavy and awkward to move around. This is not a project for someone who is unfamiliar with rigging equipment. Not only could a mistake result in the press being ruined, but it would be very easy to crush someone and/or cause significant injury or death. However, a safe, cautious approach using the appropriate tools and skills can accomplish this task without breaking a sweat. Smart use of mechanical advantage is your friend.

First, we used a car jack to slowly lift one of the end of the press about 1.5". We placed a 2x4 underneath it, then lifted the other side (and placed a 2x4 under that side). We alternated this process on both sides until we could place a 4x4 under each of the skids. We then used a pallet jack to mobilize the press (they are awesome and very agile). Here are the wonderful helpers! My dad is demonstrating the importance of keeping fingers out of the first! Once we got it on the pallet jack, we secured it down with several tied downs. Be sure to tie the platen shut to keep it from moving. Please note that these presses are very top heavy. Make sure that it is anchored with properly rated straps from the top to the bottom of the pallet jack. Here we are creeping towards the door. To get over the door threshold, we used thin plywood scraps to form a crude ramp. We then topped them with a thin (~1/8") aluminum sheet to complete the ramp (see center left in the photo for the finished ramp).
We moved the press in classic October conditions here in can see what a trooper these helpers were! We covered the press with a tarp and slowly moved it out towards the trailer. A long pry bar was valuable for moving the press along in a controlled manner. We rented a uhaul truck and a utility trailer with a ramp. We used a come-along/manual winch that we attached to a chain at the head of the trailer to pull press into the trailer. Make sure that you center the press over the wheels and that you lower the pallet jack down to the trailer floor after loading! We used properly rated ratcheting tie downs to anchor the press from the top to the sides of the trailer in all directions to make sure it would not move. Once we arrived home, we removed the tiedowns and slowly used the come-along/manual winch to gently lower it off the trailer an inch at a time. The yellow strap in the photo is what we connected to the come-along. The long pry bar (the yellow bar in the photo) is great for nudging the wheels along. A long and successful (and safe!) day indeed! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about our process!
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