Author Topic: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure  (Read 174 times)

Offline welly

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Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« on: January 25, 2015, 08:28:54 PM »
Hello guys,

I have a cheese press a bit like this one:



Just without the springs. I've seen in a number of recipes that it calls for pressure at a particular amount (5kg, 12kg, 22kg). I'm keen to make a cheddar at some point in the near future. Is there a method I can use to figure out what to set the cheese press to for that particular pressure needed? Any tips would be very welcome!

Thanks for all your help so far in my cheese making career! :)

welly

Offline awakephd

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2015, 08:38:18 PM »
Welly, if it will fit, a bathroom scale can be used to calibrate the press -- tighten the springs and get a direct reading of the kg applied.

Offline welly

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2015, 08:53:23 PM »
Unfortunately it's not that big! Although I do have a set of luggage scales. I might be able to rig up something with that.

Online smolt1

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2015, 09:55:51 PM »
If your press has no springs then it is just a screw press. You can tighten a screw press to high pressures but as soon as the cheese compresses( in a few minutes) the pressure falls to almost zero and you have to re tighten. Your best bet is to find some springs to keep the pressure up. To test the springs place a known weight on one of them and measure how high it is. then with 2 springs the weight on your cheese will be about 2 times the known weight when you screw the press down to where the springs are the same height that you measured on your spring test. OR even better make a lever press. :)

Offline welly

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2015, 10:38:41 PM »
I'm going to pick up a spring for this I reckon. I would love a lever press but unfortunately I don't seem to be able to find one locally and shipping one from the US seems to cost a fortune! I will keep looking though but any Aussie cheese makers that can recommend a source of a lever press, it would be much appreciated!

Online smolt1

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2015, 10:59:06 PM »
If you have a wood shop or know someone with a wood shop, just send me your Email ( use contact form on sturdypress.com) and I'll email you all the dimensions for the sturdypress and you can make one. 

Online Danbo

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2015, 01:10:22 AM »
Smolt1: That's what I call generous. Your presses are brilliant... :-)

Offline welly

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2015, 06:42:25 AM »
If you have a wood shop or know someone with a wood shop, just send me your Email ( use contact form on sturdypress.com) and I'll email you all the dimensions for the sturdypress and you can make one.

Thank you kindly! That is very generous! Your press looks absolutely brilliant. I'm going to drop you a line about getting one shipped over here. Cheers mate!

Offline awakephd

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2015, 06:51:21 AM »
Oops -- I was going by the picture and missed the fact that you don't have springs. As Smolt says, without them there is really nothing to calibrate, as the pressure applied will diminish as soon as the cheese compresses.

For me, a lever press is definitely the way to go. There are a variety of designs floating around this forum and elsewhere on the internet, but you'd be hard-pressed (no pun intended) to beat the simplicity, elegance, and effectiveness of Smolt's designs.

Online Savu

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2015, 02:08:21 PM »
f you want to add springs to your press I suggest using C832 Century Spring Corp springs. These should be available from Bunnings or from Amazon. If want you could use the enclosed scale which is calibrated for the C832 springs. It is accurate from 5kg up, lower weights are best done using water bottles (1litre = 1kg) or cheap plastic weights from a sports store. Be careful at the top end of the scale (30kg up) as you are putting your press under a lot of strain, my press is designed to take it but can't say the same for yours.

Offline OzzieCheese

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2015, 08:50:42 PM »
Cheese presses are the 'Light Sabre' for us Cheese maker Jedi's sooner or later we make one ourselves.   8)

@smolt1
I'd like to upgrade to one like the "Foldup" Press - to replace my old creaky and not very efficient lever press, would you mind if I made one using your design ?  I am a resonable\passable woodworker and can work to your posted images without much issues. Your design is Awesome...     

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Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2015, 09:16:18 PM »
Even with the springs the pressure will subside with compression of the cheese.  The Danish press design takes all of that out of the equation at a low price.

Online smolt1

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2015, 09:42:30 PM »
No problem, I would send you the dimensions but they are all on scraps of paper in my shop.

 Here are a couple of tricks.

I make the guide slots really tight so that there is almost no play in the stand or plunger( you need dried wood so this doesn't change if the wood dries out after it is made ). I do this by using 2 spacers that are exactly 2 inches wide when gluing the body together.Then the vertical of the stand and the plunger are run through the planer until they just  fit. If you have a loose fit the plunger will not stay vertical and the top of your cheese will not be level.

This was a problem that was causing some weird readings on the scale used to test the position of the slots on the lever arm. If the slots are too deep or the point at the top of the plunger is to wide, the pointed top of the plunger would hit the side of the slot as the lever arm went from high to low during a press. This caused a change of the distance between the slots and thus a change in mechanical advantage of the press as the lever arm got to the low position. There is also a change due to the angle of the lever arm in different positions, but this is fairly small and is the true on all lever presses.

If you have any other questions, let me know.






Offline OzzieCheese

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Re: Cheese presses - setting the right amount of pressure
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2015, 10:26:13 PM »
Many Thanks - Just thought I'd ask - I have a free weekend , at the moment  :P and I've needed a wood working project for a while.  My lovely wife has cakes to make this weekend so I'm a free agent :).    It's always good to make sawdust.

If you think it makes the grade I'll call it 'Smolt MkII'

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