Working on it

It’s time for Cheese Press Round 2. I never told you about the first cheese press I made – and with good reason. It was beautiful, sanded to a high finish and rubbed with coats of beeswax till it gleamed. It was also completely useless. (The idea had been to have a stationary platform on the bottom with four threaded rods going up to another free-moving platform. I was going to put a bathroom scale on the bottom, then the cheese mold on top of that, then use wing nuts to screw down the top platform till it reached the right pressure.)

Two problems: one, my STUPID DRILL and its STUPID BITS cannot drill more than a 3/8″ hole (clearly, I need more and bigger power tools!). But the rods I bought were also 3/8″, which is not conducive to easy sliding. I reamed out those holes as best I could, and made them with the two boards clamped together so they would match perfectly, but nevertheless they stuck and bound horribly. It was a herculean task to wrestle that top platform into position – every time I pressed a cheese I would end up cussing! Second problem: when you press a cheese, whey drains off and leaves a smaller cheese. So…. that means that gradually the pressure against the cheese lessens as the cheese shrinks. Particularly problematic when you set something at 80lbs overnight and wake up to find it down to 20lbs again.

So much for my outsmarting the experts by simplifying the design.

So ok, I’m doing it the real way this time. Still slapdash and on the cheap, but at least I’m following real plans this time. I don’t want to go through all the bother of buying a pressure gauge and compression springs, so I’m going to build an old-fashioned Dutch-style cheese press like this one.
Based on these plans, I’ve scoured the basement and garage for suitable scraps. Like I said, I’m doing this on the cheap, and the previous owners sure left us a lot of odds and ends of wood and some perfectly good boards too. Hey, I can justify my cheapness by calling it “decluttering”! -grin-

It’s taking more time than I had thought, and boy is she UGLY! Well, that’s what you get when you use random scraps. And forget to measure sometimes (oops). But I’d rather ugly and functional than beautiful and cuss-producing…. and I have high hopes for this one actually working.

The first night, clamping all together. I wish I’d noticed that the two bars weren’t parallel. Would have helped if I’d checked the level, huh? -sigh-. Well, it’ll still work. Too bad I glued and screwed it so thoroughly, or I would rip it apart and fix it. -sigh-

Here’s what I accomplished last night. The guide holes have been cut; the plunger has been sanded flat; and the lever has been cut and sanded (from a strong piece of crown molding!). That clamp? It’s clamping a piece of “padding” in place because the press is about 1/4″ wider at the top, which is problematic when you have a plunger that’s supposed to slide from top to bottom. (I can only attribute this mistake to working at 2:00am).

This one will probably never get sanded and finished to a high gloss. And because that big mistake will continue to bother me forever it will probably get replaced after a while, but it should actually work in the mean time. Let’s see how it looks when completely finished.

One Response to “Working on it”

  1. Rose Says:

    Next time you are doing a project like this, give me a ring. K might have a drill you could borrow for a few days.

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