Author Topic: Cheese press design by my father  (Read 1718 times)

Offline Tiarella

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Cheese press design by my father
« on: November 23, 2012, 11:09:18 AM »
My Dad was kind enough to be supportive of my cheese habit by designing and making me this press.  I thought I'd post about it in case folks wanted ideas for their own presses.  There are a number of things I like about it.  The base comes off to make it store easily and it's adjustable.  Also, if I needed more weight than it makes possible I can always retrofit with pulleys.  I also like the way he created something for the plunging portion so that it would keep followers level.  I've taken a bunch of photos to show it all.

First photo shows the press and all the pieces.  The plunger assembly is held by a swiveling pin to allow it to swing freely as the cheese presses.  He gave me rods of several lengths and the whole pressing arm can be moved up or down depending upon how tall a cheese I'm pressing.

He made a round piece of wood that fits onto the plunger rod and that piece of wood is sized to fit into the indentation of the wood followers he made to fit all my molds and it also fits into the central hole of the plastic mold followers that came with some of my other molds.  Kind of neat how it fits all of them.  I use plyban disposable cheese cloth, just a small square, to put between the wood follower and the cheese.  The cheese cloth that is lining the mold gets all pulled up to avoid folded cloth making ridges in my cheese.  I used to fold a corner over the cheese and pull the rest up but got too many ridges and I like the plyban square method much better.

The pressing weight is determined by where the follower plunger is attached along the pressing arm AND which notch the weight is hung from.  He created a multiplier chart to figure it all out.  For instance, if the plunger rod is set at point D as in the photo, and I hang 3 pounds of weight at notch 8, I calculate my pressing weight like this:  3 pounds times multipler 4 equals 12 pounds of weight.  Of course there is still the psi to figure out if that's critical because I'm using a strange sized mold for a particular make. 

Last but not least, he made the base so that I could tuck a small glass pan under for whey collection.  The whey groove around the edge of the base works but would work better if it had a downhill slope towards the outlet.  I'm happy with this press and grateful to my Dad!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 06:32:36 PM by Tiarella »


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Offline H-K-J

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Re: Cheese press design by my father
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2012, 11:38:38 AM »
Very cool Tiarella :) He did an excellent job, you better give him a cheese ;D
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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Cheese press design by my father
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2012, 01:21:21 PM »
Haven't figured out how to safely and affordably ship cheese to Texas but he eats it when he's here.  The oak wood cHoice is slightly problematic but I oil it a lot and he did a great job.  Not as fancy as yours though....  you had some serious fun with your design.  Do you like working with that press?  Is there anything you'd do differently if you did it again?

Offline Tobiasrer

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Re: Cheese press design by my father
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2012, 01:45:35 PM »
I like yours! your dads a pretty handy guy!
I built my with oak as well, I am gonna give it a good sand and then wax with a beeswax. I want a new'table for it as i was reading that there are tanins in oak that can causes falvour problems, so thats all I really need to change. Once I feel more proficent I will build a similiar design again just bigger because i am very limited with the mold size as well as pressing in whey or with a heat jacket like HJK does with his.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Cheese press design by my father
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2012, 02:23:14 PM »
Now there's a labor of love.... :)

Reminds me of Lincoln Logs. We will expect a report of how well it performs for you.

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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Cheese press design by my father
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2012, 04:51:08 PM »
Tobiasrer, the oak shouldn't give you any problems unless cheese is directly on the oak with no mold bottom.  But even with that you could just put a piece od plastic or glass between the cheese and oak.

Boofer,  I've had this press since September and it's been working great for me.  I only have circus balancing acts when there is more than one cheese to press at a time.  I bet he'd make me a slightly longer base so that I could line two cheeses up but it hasn't been much of an issue except with Reblochon style because I end up with more than one of those.  Speaking of Reblochon, hope you don't mind me asking here but can you tell me what I'm supposed to see growing on them?  my first batch has Geo, and orange B. Linens mostly with a bit of sulphur yellow-ish color.  (sulphur, hmmm.  I did say it smells like hell, right?).

Lincoln Logs were fun, weren't they?  My brothers and I built lots of thing with those.  If we'd had a life-sized set we'd have built a house in the back yard.

Offline Tobiasrer

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Re: Cheese press design by my father
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2012, 05:46:08 PM »
Yea i usally just cut a piece or parment to go under because my mould doesnt have a bottom. Birch costs about the same so for my next I will just make the table birch and make life easier.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Cheese press design by my father
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2012, 12:20:22 AM »
I'm no Reb expert, but it sounds like yours are doing what they're supposed to do. I believe iratherfly termed the early growth "mocasse", which is a slickery Geo growth. I've had the mocasse which turned into a gritty white coating, followed by some linens color.

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Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Cheese press design by my father
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2012, 04:31:21 AM »
What a piece of excellent work that is. I also have a selfmade press from oak but yours is a real beauty!
I used a very good varnish that is used for yachts. Same stuff that is used for the wooden dutch presses that are still used on the cheese farms here.
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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Cheese press design by my father
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2012, 06:37:23 AM »
Hi Herman!  Is the yacht varnish food safe?  I've been using a salad bowl finish that has beeswax for my press but I need to keep applying it because it gets worn and washed off.  Oak is such a coarsely grained wood and I don't want whey, etc getting into the small openings.


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Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Cheese press design by my father
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2012, 08:43:09 AM »
Hi Tiarella, I was told by a paint specialist that after drying and hardening for 24 hours it is foodsave. Besides that, it only has contact with the moulds and the whey that comes out of the moulds while pressing and not with the cheeses itself.
- Herman -