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Old 10-12-2012, 06:59 AM   #1
CodyA
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If this is better suited in the DIY section, please feel free to move it there. I just thought I might get a better response in the cider section since this press would be used just for pressing apples which would then be fermented into hard cider.

Alright, I plan on going the hydraulic bottle jack/basket style route for my build. After debating with myself for over a month over renting from a HBS or just buying one, I decided on building one instead. Some questions I have would be:

1. Would a 5-gallon plastic paint bucket hold up as a basket? Or should I look at stronger materials?

2. Would a 6-ton jck be enough for a 5 gallon press?

3. Planning on using red oak for the lumber in my design... Any cider to wood contact problem with this? If so, would a urethane or epoxy coating fix it?

4. What would be the best material to use as strainer bags? I was thinking maybe cheese cloth. Using frozen apples that have been ground to a thick pulp.

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Old 10-13-2012, 02:32 PM   #2
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have you considered repurposing a shop press for the frame and the jack? Ive seen some videos of people doing this on youtube and you can pick one up for 120 at harbor freight.

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Old 10-13-2012, 04:05 PM   #3
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Here is my press. I am posting this to admit my bias. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/my-updated-press-353008/
FIve gallons is a lot. Smaller presses work pretty good too and are efficient enough. Look to plastics instead of wood for cider to wood contact. A plastic collection basin with a hole in it has been done on a couple of DIY presses here. IF I were to do a traditional slatted bucket, I would have done it in strips of cutting boards. Oak is the most used name for cider to wood contact and useing poly(whatever) is not advised. I used a car jack with good success (one ton). The new trailer jack is also one ton. It pressed my frame to the extreme. If you go with a really high tonnage press, consider the ability of your frame to hold up to it. As for bag material, I've always had good luck with no-see-um netting used in tents. You can buy it by the yard from online fabric stores that specialize in outdoor fabrics (OWF, Quest, Seattle fabrics).
Post a pic of the final please.
Scott

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Old 10-15-2012, 04:30 AM   #4
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I really like the shop press idea, that would save me from the worries of building a frame that's going to break the first time I use it. And alright, being a college student, it's going to take me a bit to get the funds up, but I'll post the final product up asap. Thanks!

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Old 10-15-2012, 07:31 AM   #5
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Oak is fine as is maple or any hardwood. A few coats of mineral oil will work, do not use chemicals that aren't safe for food contact.

I use a nylon straining bag with mine but use of any bag is optional, depending on press.

Also, your pressing efficiency will increase if you do not pulp but rather make small chunks (pea sized), just fyi. Consider getting some sort of grinder as well - processing apples can be VERY time consuming.

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Old 10-15-2012, 07:38 PM   #6
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Would something like a paint strainer work then for the straining bag? And I plan on grinding with a mortar mixer in a bucket with a lid over it.

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Old 10-15-2012, 11:56 PM   #7
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Yes it is the same thing I used. If you can find something more porous it would probably be even better but will work either way

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Old 10-16-2012, 01:51 AM   #8
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I've seen people use 5-gal buckets with giant zip-ties around it for extra strength.

Paint strainer bags are pretty fine, muslin is what most people use from what I've seen.

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Old 10-16-2012, 05:00 AM   #9
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That's not a bad idea, I do have some giant zip ties laying around to. After looking at it financially, I think the trailer jack with the lumber frame is going to be more in my price range. And seeing as I'm going to be doing 5 gallon batches, I'm not sure that a 5 gallon bucket for the basket would be that big, would it?

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Old 10-16-2012, 11:18 AM   #10
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From my experience, one milk crate worth of apples makes 2 gallons of cider. So you'd basically have to press twice to get 5 gallons, assuming that style press is as efficient as a hydraulic press.

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