Tool Time Tuesday – Hydraulic Press – Tool Review and Demo

Hey Everyone. Sorry for the short absence. I decided at the last minute, a couple of weeks ago, to take my girls out to Utah. That was a crazy decision. I drove from Akron, OH to Salt Lake City, UT with just my three girls. I don’t think I will be doing that again any time soon. The baby doesn’t like driving all that much and I found out just how long she can scream without stopping. Lol. It was good to see family and we had a fabulous 4th of July with a Fireworks show put on by my little brother, the pyromaniac.

My birthday was July 2nd. And to make me feel better about becoming “Officially Middle Aged,” my fabulous husband bought me a hydraulic press, Yes, I know I am spoiled. I had researched several different brands including the Bonny Doon and Potter USA presses. I know that some people have made their own, but as I lack the skills and resources to weld my own frame, I was left to buy something. I had also checked out inexpensive options from places like Harbor Freight, but I wanted to make certain I had a good tool that was safe, well built and I knew would stand the test of time with my students and such.

The Bonny Doon is a great product and they have a lot of tools to go along with them, but DANG they are EXPENSIVE!!!! This is where I found Kevin Potter, of Potter USA. Not only was their press about 1/3 the cost of the Bonny Doon, but I really liked the way it was built. It has a larger platten (Base for your work) and I felt this was very desirable as it allowed for larger pieces and greater stability. The frame is 1/2″ Steel with only one critical weld point along the base. They were also very easy to work with. I contacted them and they spent a good amount of time on the phone with me explaining what I would need in terms of a bottle jack and accessories. Another thing I really liked about them is that they did not push me to buy the most expensive tools and helped me to save even more money where I could. Kevin Potter’s whole reason for getting into tool making was so that he could help artists get the high quality tools they need without breaking the bank. I was able to buy the press, jack and a whole lot of accessories for less than I would have spent on just the Bonny Doon press, and that included shipping. Shipping was about $115.

And if I had only known that they were going to have a 25% off EVERYTHING sale just weeks later, I would have waited to buy. But I am enjoying my press, so I won’t complain, however, I am going to buy some more accessories.  And YOU can get a FABULOUS deal. Potter USA is moving their shop into a larger one and needs the resources for moving expenses and such. So if you have ever thought about buying a press, now is the time to do it. It will literally save you a ton of money. Their sale ends on July 29, 2011. Just let them know you read it here and use the coupon code SUMMER at check out.

Another thing that I really liked about the Potter Press is that I can use the Bonny Doon tools with his press and you can use his tools in the Bonny Doon. So even if you can’t afford to buy the press now, you can always start stocking up on the tools and accessories.

Kevin’s Website is:

I created another video showing how to use the press. This one is a little bit more shaky with the video as I was trying to film this myself and walk through things. That is just one of the downsides of not having a regular helper. But hope that you enjoy it and find it useful all the same. I will have more video demonstrations with the various accessories coming up in the next few weeks, so be sure to subscribe to the blog or come back to visit.

Direct Link to the video

In the video I talk about having a gauge on the jack. A gauge is not required, but it sure is handy if you want repeatable results when doing a production type of set up. If you buy an inexpensive jack that doesn’t have the capability of a gauge, Potter USA has created another tool, that will allow you to get a similar effect of repeatability, called a torque handle.

The jack that I purchased is a top of the line 20-ton bottle jack and it was more expensive, but I wanted to have something that was reliable and durable for a longer period of time. However, Potter USA built this press to accept any number of jacks, including those that are only around $40 from Harbor Freight. So if you wanted to, you could get the press now with an inexpensive jack and upgrade that portion later. That was another big bonus for me in choosing the Potter Press.

See you all again soon!!

9 thoughts on “Tool Time Tuesday – Hydraulic Press – Tool Review and Demo

  1. Woojoo

    Congrats on your new press (and on surviving your road trip)! I look forward to seeing what you make with it in future issues.

  2. colleen

    Love the tutorial on the press, I am in the market for one and like you didn’t want to break the bank, this might just be what I need. Can’t wait to see your next Tool Time video! Great Job and thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Patricia

    Have you ever rated Dapping tools? I’m in the market for a set and don’t know which ones to buy. Thanks for the input, PS

  4. Melissa Muir

    Patricia, That is a great idea. I will do one of those. I have a couple of sets that I can review.

  5. Melissa Muir

    Colleen, I think you would be really happy with Kevin’s press. I liked his and it seemed to be a bit more versatile than the others that were on the market. And for the cost, well, you just can’t beat it, particularly since it is 25% off through next week. Let me know what you think if you do get it.


  6. Juli Prizant

    Melissa – you demo a Potter USA Arbor Press a while ago. I can’t seem to find where to find it. Can you help,direct me?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *