Almost 4 years into letterpress printing and I've already owned 5 presses. I think it's only natural to either outgrow a press or want to collect them. I've fallen into both categories.
My first press was a find on Craigslist. I knew little about the different kinds of presses and what I was supposed to look for in one. I only knew that they were rare. So I snapped it up not realizing how antiquated it was. It didn't come with a chase nor any rollers. It wasn't long before I ended up selling it to someone who collects antiques and rents them out as movie props.
My second press was the Adana Eight-Five, which I still have. It's one of the two presses that I currently use in the workshops. Participants like the option of using two presses to see and feel what the differences are. This is the press that I taught myself the finer points of printing on. Also, at that time it was a perfect fit for my apartment and budget.
Next came the larger Craftsmen Machinery Co. Superior Press (6.5x10). I got this press because I started to get requests to print wedding invitations that exceeded the printable area size of the Adana. While searching for a larger press, I had my sights set on a C&P Pilot press. But I had trouble finding one and came to a CMC instead. Through my research I found that the CMC was a clone of the Pilot and users highly recommended it. So I went for it. I love this press. It gave me nothing but quality impressions, print after print.
The fourth press is my little darling Showcard Mini. This one, I have to admit, was just for fun. But the collector in me justifies that it's a different type of press from what I already have. It's like a proof press and needs to be hand-inked. This one is a keeper.
Recently, I learned that a C&P was available and grabbed it. This meant that I had to sell the CMC since I didn't have room for two of these kinds of presses. I put the word out to my contacts on Facebook and the CMC is now in the good hands of one of my past workshop participants. I'm so excited for her to start using it and seeing what she gets out of it.
Finally, I've gotten the C&P into the studio yesterday. It was a little bit of torture having to wait over a month for it to be refurbished. A top of the line press and from what I've already seen, it was well worth the wait.