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Old 11-12-2009, 03:32 PM   #1
llenrocs
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Default Homemade Cider Press

I am finally getting around to posting photos of the cider press that I built this year. I made 50 gallons of cider this year, mostly with donated apples. Varieties used: Winesap, Jonathon, Red Delic., Golden Delic., Granny Smith and 3 unknown red varieties.


Some info about the press:

The frame was constructed of 4x6 beams from a barn that I tore down a few years ago. The uprights were notched and the frame was bolted together using 1/2" threaded rod.


The runoff table is a piece of scrap laminate countertop with 3" pine side pieces. The pine boards were sealed with polyurethane & then nailed to the countertop. The drain is a 3/4" copper coupling. Everything was sealed up with food grade silicon.


The press racks are scrap corian pieces 10"x12". I grooved both sides of the racks on the table saw for better extraction. I will be getting large racks (15"x18") before pressing next year to improve my yield/press. The press cloths are just nylon netting material; very cheap but only good for 1 season as they tear pretty easy.


I press 5 layers of apples (about 1/2 bushel) at a time and get 2 to 2.5 gallons of juice each time. This should double next year with the larger racks.

The press mechanism is a 6-ton hydraulic bottle jack. The frame does not make so much as a creak with the full 6 tons of force applied. I press against a sacrificial 2x4 on top so I don't damage my cross beam.

The grinder is a 1/2 hp garbage disposal mounted in another piece of scrap countertop. This works extremely well an creates a nearly perfect grind for pressing.



Total breakdown of costs:
Garbage disposal: $50
Bottle Jack: $15
Corian pieces: $25 (ebay, includes shipping)
Counterop pieces: $2
Misc hardware: $30

Of the 50 gallons that I pressed, I gave away about 35 gallons to friends and family. I also made 5 gallons of Graff and will likely kick off a 3 gallon batch of straight hard cider also. I measured the SG on last batch and came up with 1.055, which should make a nice hard cider without any sugar added.

I have 40+ apple trees on my property, but only 4 of them are bearing apples now. I plan to start producing cider to sell in about 5 years when the rest of my trees are producing apples.

Overall, this has been a very satisfying late summer/fall project.

Any comments/suggestions are welcome.

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Old 11-12-2009, 04:16 PM   #2
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Nice press !!! I am in the planning stage for mine. I am going to follow the plans from the Dempsey woodworking plans that are on the internet. I have a pile of oak boards to cut and glue together for the frame. I have already cut the slats for the basket. I just need to get the metal straps to make the hoop. This will be a good winter project.

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Old 11-12-2009, 07:04 PM   #3
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That looks like an excellent press, very sturdy and easy to use. I am green with envy, you obviously have good woodworking skills. If you can make them that cheap you might be better off selling presses rather than cider - I would buy one.
My suggestion would be to use a mulcher for shredding, would probably be faster.

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Old 11-13-2009, 08:55 AM   #4
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Nice work and awesome pictures man! I'm glad you used wood from your barn. It's always good to see things repurposed.

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Old 11-15-2009, 04:40 AM   #5
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Do you pulp the Apples? It takes a lot of effort but makes a massive difference to the amount of juice you get.

Must say your press is far more impressive than mine, mine did cost 2 quid though, although already had a 2 ton bottle jack... The wood and the amount of apples I can pick and pulp is the limiting factor though.

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Old 11-15-2009, 01:16 PM   #6
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Yes, I run the apples through a garbage disposal to grind them up. I get quite a bit of juice runoff before I even start pressing. With the 1/2 hp garbage disposal, I can keep up with two people cleaning and quartering the apples.

At first, I thought a 6-ton jack would be too much - but now I am glad that I bought it. I should be able to easily upsize my pressing racks without having to buy a new jack.

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Old 11-15-2009, 01:34 PM   #7
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Very awesome build.

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Old 11-24-2009, 02:53 PM   #8
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Default regarding the grinder

Do you have problems with the grinder overheating?
Thanks
Howard

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Old 11-24-2009, 04:06 PM   #9
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I haven't had any problems at all with the grinder overheating, but I am only running it a few minutes at a time as I turn it off each time I fill a cloth. I suppose if you were to grind all your apples first and then fill the cloths you might have an issue with overheating as the grinder does get a good workout when you are forcing the apples in with a push stick. I have heard reports of 1/3 hp garbage disposals overheating while grinding apples, which is why I bought a 1/2 hp.

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