Author Topic: $15 DUTCH PRESS  (Read 1185 times)

Offline dthelmers

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$15 DUTCH PRESS
« on: July 22, 2013, 09:54:30 AM »
I've seen a lot of people have trouble with their pressed cheeses, and I think that for the most part it was because they didn't get a good knit and rind. They were typically cobbling together weights in a balancing act to press the cheese; so I designed this very ugly, very cheap, but functional cheese press that can be built at home from lumber yard parts.
the only skill involved is making eight cross cuts and drilling eight holes. I made this yesterday for a total of $13 and 45 minutes of time. I made some paneer to test it with; works A-OK.
Dave in CT.
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Offline BobE102330

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Re: $15 DUTCH PRESS
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 12:02:14 PM »
A man after my own heart.  Mine is also a cobbled together contraption, made of scrap wood.  At the moment it's just a pillar, lever arm and presser but I'm going to make it a parallelogram like yours.  As is I have to be extremely careful about getting it lined up so presser is pure vertical or it tends to spit the cheese out, usually halfway through pressing. 

A couple notes for anyone wanting to follow this example:

Don't skimp on the wood parts.  Notice that Dave used 2x4s.  You need to be sure that the wood is up to the load.  If you want to make it more svelte, use oak or similar hardwood 1x3 or a bit wider.  At that width it is usually solid wood, but avoid any boards made up of multiple small pieces.  I hang 55 pound dumbbells on my 3:1 arm without problems if I keep things lined up. A pine 1x3 would likely split at the bolt holes. 

Use plenty of fasteners on the post to the base. The lever is trying to pull it up, and if not quite vertical it will be subject to forces trying to bend it sideways. 

Offline smolt1

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Re: $15 DUTCH PRESS
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 03:10:32 PM »
Dave
   Do you have any issues with the small horizontal movement of the push rod as the lever moves while the cheese compacts? I have tried without success to design a lever press without guides for the push rod.

Offline dthelmers

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Re: $15 DUTCH PRESS
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 03:57:34 PM »
Smolt1,
It seems to be less of an issue than I thought it would be. I've only used this once, last night for paneer. I made this just to see if it would work because I have seen so many folks struggling to improvise a press, and a Dutch press works so well. On a full size cheese, I t seems like flipping the cheese every half hour and re-dressing would solve that problem. By then you've lost most of your height. I also use a mold with a 1" follower which just can't go crooked.
Dave in CT

Offline Boofer

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Re: $15 DUTCH PRESS
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2013, 08:01:21 AM »
Good job, Dave.

I find that I'm not pressing as firmly as I once expected I might. My press does any pressing job quite adequately for me, but a more simple solution such as you've shown would do just as well. My latest effort this past week, a hard cheese (Beaufort #8), was pressed with a mere 80 pounds/2.7psi (5lbs+2 pulleys).

...and my press is a bit hulkier & bulkier than the one you've demonstrated. :o

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Offline dthelmers

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Re: $15 DUTCH PRESS
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2013, 08:30:06 AM »
Boofer, this is the press that I built after seeing yours. It's got a 20:1 MA, so good for Cheddar. It's easy to get too yahoo with it and overpress other cheeses. The advantage of the wide open design of the cheap press is the ability to put any size mold or pot under it, for those who press in the pot under the whey.
Dave in CT

Offline BobE102330

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Re: $15 DUTCH PRESS
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2013, 10:11:44 AM »
Boofer, notice where Dave attached his lower pulley.  You'll get more pressure on the cheese if you move your lower pulley outward.  As is the force vector is inward, so you are only getting about 70% of the force you might. 

Offline Boofer

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Re: $15 DUTCH PRESS
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2013, 07:48:00 AM »
Boofer, notice where Dave attached his lower pulley.  You'll get more pressure on the cheese if you move your lower pulley outward.  As is the force vector is inward, so you are only getting about 70% of the force you might.
Thanks, Bob. You'll notice in my press thread how I got educated. It's a lengthy thread so I don't blame you for not running through it. A lot of good discussion in there....

The press is a little bulky but it does everything I need it to do, including accommodating a really huge lobster pot I use as my double boiler. In this mode it provides a warm water bath to enhance the pressing under whey.

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Offline BobE102330

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Re: $15 DUTCH PRESS
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 09:34:41 AM »
Ahh, I just followed your link and saw the first iteration. 

Is it an artifact of the photo or is your arm bending a bit under the force?  I would have thought that box beam would be stiff enough. 

Where to put the press when not in use is an issue for me, too.  Guess we just have to keep using it.  ;)

Offline Boofer

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Re: $15 DUTCH PRESS
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 07:51:17 PM »
Is it an artifact of the photo or is your arm bending a bit under the force?  I would have thought that box beam would be stiff enough. 

Where to put the press when not in use is an issue for me, too.  Guess we just have to keep using it.  ;)
Yes, there is a slight bend even though the applied weight is just a 10-pounder. My press design was to accommodate all of the barbell weights I had available which total 75 pounds. That gave me an estimated maximum pressing power of somewhere in the vicinity of 1700 pounds. Obviously, this falls into the box labeled "Overkill". ::)

The most pressure I've applied belongs to my Double Gloucester:
Extracted from my Double Gloucester:
"I applied a 25lb weight with 4 pulleys for a calculated pressure of 575lbs and 13.7psi."


That cheese was pretty tightly knitted. ;)

Since then, I have never approached that mark, but have gone much lighter (5-80 lbs, typical).

In response to a PM, I edited this post to include my working diagram. It's crude and not metric, but it's here. It would have been cleaner to just attach it to the PM I responded to, but apparently you can't attach anything to PMs. The lower attach point has been moved to just under the top pulley. :P

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« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 01:44:58 PM by Boofer »
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Offline dthelmers

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Re: $15 DUTCH PRESS
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2013, 09:49:10 AM »
Here's another cheap press in action:
Dave in CT