Windmill Letterpress Workshop

Letterpress Workshop at Flywheel Press | Sycamore Street Press

Behind The Press is a blog series by SSP’s owners: Eva and Kirk Jorgensen. In it, we share our experience with letterpress, paper goods, running a small business, and work/life balance in the form of tips, how to’s, and more. We hope you enjoy! – K&E

We bought our Heidelberg Windmill (a type of letterpress) from a family-owned Salt Lake commercial printshop. They were the original owners of the press and were wanting it to go to a good home.

I had a quick 15 minute lesson from the previous pressman which covered the absolute basics (on/off button, paper goes here, etc…).

These machines are built to be very efficient and have adjustments for just about everything. This is great if you know what you’re doing, but if you’re unsure you can end up deep in a rabbit hole of micro-adjustments. Since I didn’t have a firm grasp on the mechanics of the press, I didn’t get too far with developing the necessary skill set to use it for our printing.

A few months ago, Eva posted a picture of our press on the SSP Instagram feed with a caption asking if anyone had any recommendations or advice for help learning how to use this machine.

As it turned out, we weren’t alone in having a Windmill and not knowing exactly how to use it. Amber, from Flywheel Press, heard about all of us and invited us to the Bay Area for a Windmill Workshop. We spent a long weekend in great company, learning everything from oiling and basic maintenance to printing and die-cutting. It was also wonderful catching up with friends (old and new) from around the country.

San Mateo (where Flywheel Press is located) is a charming city with tons of great places to eat and great weather.

I’m back from the workshop and feel much more comfortable around the press and less overwhelmed. I’ve made some good progress and am excited to keep working at it.

Amber is looking to host another Windmill Workshop this summer. If you’re interested in learning, or have a press and need help, I couldn’t recommend this more. You can write her here:

– Kirk

Also check out my Stationery Business classes on

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  1. bcrockett says:

    Great photography and great insight Kirk! I don’t know that I’ll ever own a Windmill, but I’d love to learn a bit about how to operate one. Just hearing the thing in action would be enough to make the class worth it, those machines can’t be beat.

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