Quest for a letterpress

Let me start with this:

The last few weeks have been busy. Alongside a full-time job, I have been filling my days with online letterpress research, gathering a ton of information and reaching out to fellow printers. I'm on a quest for my own letterpress!

When I first discovered, and in turn, became obsessed with letterpress printing (which was shortly after my wedding), I made a secret pact with myself. I promised myself that I'll trade my wedding dress for a letterpress! I thought to myself, what a marvelous idea to exchange something as precious and lovely as my own wedding gown for something that my soul desires so deeply. And let's be honest, since purchasing a letterpress is a significant expense (as was purchasing a wedding gown), the idea of exchanging one for the other seemed ideal to me. It still does today, however the process of selling the dress is not as quick as I thought it would be. But I haven't given up yet!

And then there is the predicament of purchasing the right press. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there, yet the process is still confusing for an inexperienced printer like myself. I have reached out to the one and only letterpress equipment supplier in Canada, Don Black Linecasting, and placed a hold on a 5x7.5 Sigwalt. I have read so many wonderful things about Sigwalt presses, however the size of the press is a concern. For the amount of money to be spent, the return is questionable as the size introduces various limitations. All along, I have come across numerous ads on Briar Press (an invaluable source of information for letterpress printers, by the way). However, all of the presses listed on there are located in the US, which again becomes tricky in terms of transportation and additional expenses. I also found an ad for a 6x10 Kelsey located only few hours away from where I live. Perfect, I thought! The press however requires new rollers and some cleaning. I have also read enough about Kelseys to know that they are not the best of the best. Again, whether it's the right investment....I'm not convinced. And to top it all off, today I routinely checked Ladies of Letterpress (another wonderful letterpress community), and spotted an ad for a C&P Pilot! This the press I fell in love with during my first ever letterpress workshop and I was so excited to find this ad. The price is right, yet the press is missing rollers, has a crack in the frame, and is located in the US. Not a simple decision yet again...

Decisions are hard indeed, but I'm determined to keep going on my quest for a letterpress! I have invested so much into this process already. And I like to believe that the more time I spend on researching and asking questions, the better decision I'll make in the end.