homemade apple press and scratter in action

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lord groan
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homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by lord groan » Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:09 pm

After 18 months I've got my home made press finished, my lovely daughter got the sewing machine out and converted a net curtain to an apple pulp bag (she also made me a dry hopping bag from the remainder of the curtain for my ag brews).
press basket with filter bag and pulp
Image
scratter and press
Image

the wood came from my local charity wood-recycling centre, mostly hardwood posts from pallets apparently, the basket staves from an oak post my neighbour had as well as birch? ones from the recycling place. 6 tonne bottle jack from a car boot sale. As the wood all had warping in it the whole thing looks a bit skew-whiff but it works!
Kitchen sink waste disposal 2nd hand off ebay, stripped down , cleaned thoroughly and sterilised, 1/4 the apples first, then feed them in and it works brilliantly as long as the apples have enough juice. Discovery and cox's pippin are good while russets and bramleys seem to block the outlet. A carton of apple juice will wash the pulp through and after that you have enough juice runoff from the pulp that you can use to wash any more blockages through with. That said 4 carrier bagfulls of assorted apples today and no blockages.
3 and a bit gallons of juice.
Feeling quite smug now :D

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6470zzy
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by 6470zzy » Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:21 pm

=D> Very Nice indeed =D> I must admit though it made me a bit squeamish reading about the 2nd hand garbage disposal 8-[
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lord groan
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by lord groan » Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:41 pm

6470zzy I'll admit I was squeamish too, but after opening it up the insides looked ok and were actually v easy to clean, the spinner is S/S, it grinds stuff against a cast steel grinding ring around the outside and the housing is aluminium. All dismantleable. Before use I turn the outlet pipe to point up and fit a 30cm extension tube this keeps the whole thing full of water, I fill the housing with hot water and a little bleach and leave it for a bit, then switch it on with the outlet covered to blast water around inside and loosen any dirt or spiders that may have got in there, then drain down and rinse.
todays juice tasted lovely - no trace of any nastyness!

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dean_wales
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by dean_wales » Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:57 pm

Great to see someone else going down this route!
Click here for my cider pressing...
Click here to see my 20% Damson port experiment...
Click here for red wine from my allotment vine...

lord groan
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by lord groan » Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:19 am

All down to your lead deanwales! So huge thanks to you for the idea of the waste disposal. I'd tried using a friends juicer a few years ago and that took so long I gave up. It was seeing your thread that got me fired up again.
I bottled my first brew on Thursday, all juicefrom eating apples so it tasted a bit thin. Down to the lack of acid/tannin I expect. It was really appley with a great smell though so I'll have another go and try to balance it up a bit this time
Thanks again

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simple one
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by simple one » Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:01 pm

Hmmmm... I may have to have a crack at this.
Currently serving - Maltmillers Oatmeal stout - Bottled, Pale Rye APA - FV

JamesF
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by JamesF » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:37 pm

All this concern over the cleanliness of the waste disposal unit is laudable, but next time it might also be a good plan to stop someone throwing up into the press :D

James
Fermenting: Nothing!
Conditioning: London Pride, Old Speckled Hen, Beaverdale Chardonnay
Maturing: Brewalong Wee Bee, Arkell's Kingsdown, Beaverdale Sauvignon Blanc, Beaverdale Gewurztraminer, Beaverdale Shiraz (5G)
Drinking: Marston's Pedigree, Elderflower Champagne, OSH, London Pride, Arkell's Kingsdown, Seymour's Hobgoblin, Jim's ESB, Fuller's ESB, Arkell's 3B, Beaverdale Shiraz, Beaverdale Merlot
Planned: SMaSH brews with a range of hops, some variety of stout
Pints brewed in 2016: 323
Pints brewed in 2015: 619

lord groan
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by lord groan » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:34 pm

Very true JamesF, I'll admit that once I got going I did stop and think what was the point with the waste disposal scrubbing, these are windfall apples, they've spent several months on a tree getting all sorts fall on them from the sky and passing birds, then they lay on the ground in the wet grass or muddy flowerbeds, crawled over by wasps and other wildlife before I picked them up gave them a quick spray from the hose then scratted and pressed, far more germs and bacteria were on the apples than anything else.
I tried a bottle of the cider last night, very nice indeed but a still cider not a sparkling one.
1/2tsp sugar added for priming, 3 days at 20c what happened there? (Yes I know I haven't left it anywhere near long enough)

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dean_wales
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by dean_wales » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:21 am

That timber press is a thing of beauty.

Mine is just getting a refurb before being put to use again this year.

I think the waste disposal scratter is unparalleled for small batch cider pressing in terms of efficiency (you get more juice more easily than you do with a conventional rough scratter) and ease (buy it, plug it in!) but it has its limitations in terms of capacity. If you start to get onto much bigger batches it becomes a bottle neck, especially with big apples and at that point a good garden shredder might be better.

I am right on the cusp in terms of batch size, so can see both sides of the coin.

Dean.
Click here for my cider pressing...
Click here to see my 20% Damson port experiment...
Click here for red wine from my allotment vine...

JamesF
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by JamesF » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:28 am

I'm in much the same place, but bit the bullet and bought a "garden shredder" style scratter.

My press is also currently awaiting action. The apples are taking so long to ripen this year though thanks to the lack of summer. We went around the trees a couple of weekends ago and even the early eaters that should have been ready at the start of September were barely edible.

This weekend may be "make or break". Trees are starting to lose their leaves already and whilst the cider apples can wait a bit longer, the others really can't.

James
Fermenting: Nothing!
Conditioning: London Pride, Old Speckled Hen, Beaverdale Chardonnay
Maturing: Brewalong Wee Bee, Arkell's Kingsdown, Beaverdale Sauvignon Blanc, Beaverdale Gewurztraminer, Beaverdale Shiraz (5G)
Drinking: Marston's Pedigree, Elderflower Champagne, OSH, London Pride, Arkell's Kingsdown, Seymour's Hobgoblin, Jim's ESB, Fuller's ESB, Arkell's 3B, Beaverdale Shiraz, Beaverdale Merlot
Planned: SMaSH brews with a range of hops, some variety of stout
Pints brewed in 2016: 323
Pints brewed in 2015: 619

Jambo
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by Jambo » Tue Dec 01, 2015 10:33 am

Very nice press, I like the basket particularly, not seen that before. I would like to get a stainless pan for the bottom of mine but never found one the right size and still to figure out how to attache the spout in a hygienic manner!

JamesF
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by JamesF » Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:37 am

Jambo wrote:Very nice press, I like the basket particularly, not seen that before. I would like to get a stainless pan for the bottom of mine but never found one the right size and still to figure out how to attache the spout in a hygienic manner!
I used one of Mr Lard's stainless deck fittings and a two-piece tap for the drain in mine. I have some photos somewhere, but I can't find them at the moment.

What sort of size do you need?

James
Fermenting: Nothing!
Conditioning: London Pride, Old Speckled Hen, Beaverdale Chardonnay
Maturing: Brewalong Wee Bee, Arkell's Kingsdown, Beaverdale Sauvignon Blanc, Beaverdale Gewurztraminer, Beaverdale Shiraz (5G)
Drinking: Marston's Pedigree, Elderflower Champagne, OSH, London Pride, Arkell's Kingsdown, Seymour's Hobgoblin, Jim's ESB, Fuller's ESB, Arkell's 3B, Beaverdale Shiraz, Beaverdale Merlot
Planned: SMaSH brews with a range of hops, some variety of stout
Pints brewed in 2016: 323
Pints brewed in 2015: 619

LucaWyatt

Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by LucaWyatt » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:24 pm

i am going to give you a pro tip ( do not take it as a joke)
step 1 buy a garbage disposal for hundred bucks only
step 2 do not attach it to your sink but with 2 pipes
step 3 put your apples in the starting pipe collect it at the other hand
step 4 your home made apple press is ready

scotsloon
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by scotsloon » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:23 am

Hi there LG,
Do you have a plan available for your excellent press and scratter please?

lord groan
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Re: homemade apple press and scratter in action

Post by lord groan » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:35 pm

Hi Scotsloon,
Hopefully this will help. Please note the whole thing was built from scrap wood scavenged from various places. I'm fortunate to have a charity-run wood recycling project nearby where I got most of the wood.
I never had any plans I just designed as I went, I think it is probably over-engineered and I might only use a single thickness of post at the top and bottom if I re-did it, but only if I had hardwood. I'd still do a double thickness if it was in softwood.

The protruding bits on the base are pointless, when I started the build I thought I'd be using some sort of turning mechanism to apply pressure, I worried the whole lot would topple over when the twisting pressure built up so I planned to put stabilisers on by attaching posts under them at a right angle. When I got the bottle jack it removed the need for them. At some point I'll saw them off.

The frame uses 7cm x 7cm hardwood posts (recycled from old pallets apparently) plus 2 pieces from a garden fence post. The pallet pieces are untreated wood but the fence posts have been pressure treated so I have only used those where they will not come in contact with pulp or juice.

I have a table saw so I was able to make the basket staves from another post, cutting out long strips and sawing them into 44cm lengths. The screws are stainless steel but if you look at the basket and juice tray you'll see there's never anything other than wood in contact with the pulp/juice. The big bolts are lengths of threaded rod cut to size.

The base
Top pic: 4 off 94 cm posts bolted to the ends of a bit of softwood fence post 44cm long.
Bottom pic: The platform made of 5 sections – lengths are 44 / 30 / 58 / 30 / 44cm. but I'd now do the 58 as a 44, much neater. Bolts through these to make a solid platform that slots down between the legs.
Image

The top
Two 44cm lengths of post each bolted between the tops of the legs. Upper one is softwood again, but again out of contact with the pulp. The slots you can see in the legs were there when I bought the wood, they dont have any function.
Image

The juice tray.
A square of 2.5cm thick plywood 30cm x 30cm. Sides are oak strips 2.5cm thick and 4cm high. Two are 30cm long, two are 25cm to fit between the longer ones. Glued to each other and to the base using PVA wood glue, and screwed tight while the glue dried to ensure a really tight waterproof joint. Again no metal exposed to juice. Afterwards excess glue scraped away with a chisel then the tray filled with a hot bleach solution for a while before using a scourer to really get the surface clean.
Drain: An angled 15mm hole drilled outward just cutting through the edge of the base to ensure there's no lip to stop juice running out freely, then a short piece of 15mm pipe to act as a spout pushed into the hole.
Image

The basket
Tricky one in the end. The basket fits into the tray and sits on the bottom so the external dimensions are 25 x 25cm .
Top pic: Staves are roughly 2.2cm x 1.6cm and are 44cm long. The front and back panels are 25cm wide, ignoring the horizontal bars. The side panels are 21cm wide.
Image
You'll see the bottom end of the staves have had a section cut out. This is roughly half the thickness of the stave and about 18mm high maximum. The notch must be on the outside of the basket. The reason for these is when the basket sits in the tray they leave a clear channel all the way around the basket for juice to run, This prevents the juice overflowing the edge of the tray. The edges of the tray are 4cm high so these notches are invisible in use but the top of the tray edge presses against the thicker part of the stave and supports it against the pressure of the pulp when used.
Image
The horizontal bars are roughly 2 x 2cm and were deliberately kept too long while construction was underway because there was a lot of fiddling to try and get even spacing with evenish gaps. When I was happy I glued the staves to the horizontals with PVA and screwed them tight with s/s screws. After completing the sides I fitted them in the juice tray and then glued and screwed the horizontals to each other, then sawed the excess off the ends to tidy it up.

A net curtain serves as the pulp bag and I have 2 pressing plates made from the same 2.5cm ply as the base, these need to be about 1cm smaller than the inside of the basket so they don't get jammed. Short off-cuts of the posts about 15cm long provide blocks to put between the bottle jack and the pressure plate.
DRAWBACK : Unfortunately the release valve for the bottle jack is at the base, this quickly pushes down inside the basket and quickly goes out of reach which is why I use off-cuts between the jack and the pressure plate. Sadly the bottle jack does not work upside down :-(

That was the first edition
After using it I found it didn't drain the middle of the bag of pulp very well so I made a false bottom of sorts to go inside the basket I had scavenged a few pallets from an industrial estate and one was made with hardwood planks so a plank was planed, and cut into 3 pieces to fit inside the base of the basket, then the table saw used to cut 5mm notches in a criss-cross pattern on the underside, then I drilled through all the crossing points and used a countersink bit to smooth the holes on the top. It works very nicely!
Image
And the right way up part fitted in the press
ImageWhat I'd do differently a second time:
1. I wouldn't have the sticky out bits in the base
2. I wouldn't have quite such a tall basket, it's just a bit awkward in use getting the pulp in and fiddling with the jack and so on.
3. I'd make the legs a bit longer underneath, The juice spout is only about 10cm off the ground so getting a bucket under it is a problem, I'm fortunate as I have a step outside the shed where I do the pressing and the press sits on the top step with the spout over the bottom step so I can get a saucepan under it ok.
Sorry for the enormous post!

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