Which Comic Book Press is Best?
I am often asked by my clients what sort of comic book press I use when pressing comic books. I assume that their curiosity comes from one of two places. First, they want to try pressing comics for themselves and second, they are just the curious sort. As a member of a few comic book pressing Facebook groups, and having read articles and watched “how to videos” on YouTube , I can honestly say that there are both good and bad tips on how to press comics available on-line. That said, I am all for people trying to press their own books. Heck, it is kind of fun – but it isn’t for the faint of heart. So, for all those of you who want to try it for yourself and for those of you who are just plain curious, I am going to give a brief run-down of the presses I use when pressing comic books.
I do not use t-shirt presses for pressing comic books
Yes, they are affordable and readily available, but, if you want a good press, steer clear of these tempting presses for pressing comic books. They deliver the heat, and most modern models have digital thermostats, which are great, but they just don’t deliver the pressure needed. You need a dry mount press, and they come in all shapes and sizes.
Seal Commercial Presses
Seal Commercial 200s (23” x 18.5”/ approx 75lbs): These are great presses that deliver a nice even pressure and make a great comic book press. They heat up wonderfully and can
maintain a consistent heat if configured correctly. The Seal Commercial 200 is an old model, which dates back to the mid 1970s I Believe. Often times the power cord is damaged/ frayed and may need replacing. The ones I have found usually have rotten or deteriorating pads, which also need to be replaced. The original thermostat is likely still installed, so it will have to be replaced or serviced as well. If the thermostat is faulty, the temperature can spike and damage your comic books. Parts for these models are not readily available and are quite expensive. A new thermostat, for example is around $100 cad. You can buy the entire press for this much if you shop around. These presses also do not have a temperature gauge, so you will need a digital thermometer for pressing comic books. Adjusting pressure on this model is difficult.
A Newer Model
Seal Commercial 210M (23” x 18.5”/ approx 75lbs): A newer version of the Commercial 200.
Sleeker design with allows for much easier pressure adjustment. Analog temperature read out. Since this design was used for most all of Seal’s machines from the 1980s-present, they can be found in various conditions. The pads, platens and overall mechanics should be inspected thoroughly, as replacement parts for these are also quite expensive. These usually sell anywhere from $250-$700 cad on the secondary market, depending on condition and are an excellent comic book press.
Seal Masterpiece 360M (26” x 34 “ platen/ 300 lbs): Same as the 210M, but much bigger! This machine can press several comic books at once, and is extremely heavy. These machines, or similar models, sell for approximately $700-$1000 cad on the secondary market.
Bienfang Masterpiece 550 (26” x 34” platen/ 320 lbs): Another beast. This machine is still being manufactured and is digital which allows
for precise temperature control. The controls also include a digital timer. This machine, or the smaller version, is a must for the serious comic book presser. $3500 cad on the secondary market. $6800 cad new.
Different Names Same Press
These are the machines I employ on a regular basis for pressing comic books. While the bigger presses can cover more ground, I still prefer to use a smaller press for pressing comic books. Seal and Bienfang produced the same machines, with different model numbers/ identification. Sort of like how the Ford Mustang and Mercury Cougar were pretty much the same car. Other companies also produced dry mount presses that will also deliver an excellent comic book press, such as Drytac models. These, however are very heavy and cumbersome in comparison to the models outlined above.
If you need your comic books pressed, feel free to contact the Comic Doctor.