New Apple Press

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New Apple Press

Postby Wooday » Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:49 am

Gentleman, in my quest to top 150 gallons of cider this year, I needed a bigger/better press than the harbor freight bearing press and cookie tray hack job from last year.

This is bigger.
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press frame


4x4 pressure treat uprights, 2x8's across the top with a 4x4 between them, 2x6's on the bottom, 30"x30" tray.

More pics as I fabricate the H-beam, catch tray and press plate.
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby ExpatLad » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:53 pm

Been wanting to do this myself. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the build! :thumbup:
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby cranky » Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:12 pm

Nice Wooday :thumbup: I am also looking forward to seeing how this goes. My goal this year was 100 gallons but the wife started getting bitchy at 50. I told her that you were trying for 150 and her comment was "He must be single" :lol: I built a bigger press this year and now am planning on modifying it to handle even more apples at once.
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Wooday » Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:31 pm

cranky wrote:Nice Wooday :thumbup: I am also looking forward to seeing how this goes. My goal this year was 100 gallons but the wife started getting bitchy at 50. I told her that you were trying for 150 and her comment was "He must be single" :lol: I built a bigger press this year and now am planning on modifying it to handle even more apples at once.

Ha! When I told my wife she said "A hundred fifty gallons? You have fun with that..."
At least we will have room for it all at the new house, until I run it :)

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Re: New Apple Press

Postby cranky » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:19 pm

I'm sure my wife would be less apt to complain about my apple stuff if my garage and yard weren't such a mess and the house remodeling was done. 150 gallons of juice is only 2400 LBS of apples isn't it? I think my setup can handle up to 500LBS in a day, although I usually shoot for 300. So it would only take me roughly a week to do that many... :problem: ...that seems perfectly reasonable to me :crazy:

I saw a guy on the you tube who had a big air powered jack in his setup and was pressing what looked like 200-300 LBS of pulp at a whack. It would be easy to press 150 gallons that way. I'm now plotting to do something similar some day :D
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Wooday » Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:28 pm

Half the maple is resawn for the the 24"x24" press plates
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby goose eye » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:36 pm

Make sure your ram don't bottom out.
A lot of pressure if it do.

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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Wooday » Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:00 pm

Build is complete.
We will see if I can pick enough late apples this year to make it worth while.

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Re: New Apple Press

Postby cranky » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:00 am

Wooday wrote:Build is complete.
We will see if I can pick enough late apples this year to make it worth while.

Good deal Wooday :thumbup: I ran into that kind of problem last year when I made the chopper. Apple season was pretty much over but I still had to manage to pick more just to test. Looks like you will be all set for next year :D
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Wooday » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:28 am

Reviving this old thread to share my success.

Last year was a total bust for apples.
This year was better but the season peaked early due to a hot hot september. About all the trees at my main orchard dropped the week before I could get there to pick, so I only got 400lb of apples.
I need to fiddle with my method with the new press. I'm making 3" deep cheeses and probably need to double that; a 30 gallon barrel full of apples only yielded 8 gallons of juice, pressed fresh from the grinder.
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Soft batch » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:30 pm

I do much better with thinner cheeses, thicker tends to leave moist pulp in the middle. I get about a 3 to 1 yield of apples to juice with my setup. Never weighed my apples, so I don't know the lbs to juice ratio. About every 3 5 gallon buckets of apples I get 5 gallons of cider. After the 1 pressing, I fluff and re-press each cheese.
When I'm in full production, I toss the bottom cheese, the combine the next two as a new bottom, then fill two new cheeses from fresh pulp, 2-3" deep.
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby cranky » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:38 pm

I've weighed apples before, a bucket full of apples that average 80 apples to a 5 gallon bucket weighed 20 Lbs. 150-160 apples to a bucket weighs 24 Lbs. I think on average it is 23 Lbs to a 5 gallon bucket.

Wooday wrote: a 30 gallon barrel full of apples only yielded 8 gallons of juice, pressed fresh from the grinder.

Using the above math if you are talking about 30 gallons of apples before grinding that should have come to about 120 - 144 Lbs of apples. I figure on about 16 Lbs of apples to a gallon so I would count on 7.5 - 9 gallons of juice from 30 gallons of apples. Seems you are right where it should be.

My method is not that far from Soft batch's. I use bags and fill them and press them with a set of slats between them then remove them and do another stack. Once I have done everything I shake the pulp up and stack as many bags as I can without slats between them and press a second time.
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Wooday » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:47 pm

goose eye wrote:Make sure your ram don't bottom out.
A lot of pressure if it do.

So I'm tole

I took this advice to heart.

My assistant did not, and now the press is out of commission until we can replace a top beam
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Soft batch » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:12 am

Oh no! When I used a scissor jack my frame never even made a peep. I swapped that out for a 6 ton bottle jack last year - it creaks and groans a bit if I get too aggressive. I find it better to build up some pressure, then let it sit for a minute, then apply more. Trying to squeeze all at once is not the most effective and is harder on the equipment.

My press bucket blew out on the last squeeze of the year Saturday (was I trying extra hard to get the last drop?). Good timing. Left some apples on the trees, but the freezers and fermenters are full and I gave I a bunch away. Ended up with 55 gallons this year.
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Euphoria » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:40 am

It's gettin' close to grinding and squeezing time...
Not much for building stuff, so I bought my equipment. Anyway, here's my set-up. My Maximizer grinder and my 5 Gal. press with stainless steel basket. Not industrial size, but it works for me.
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby yakattack » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:22 am

That should do you well. Make sure to bolt her down when you do use her.
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Wooday » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:57 am

Soft batch wrote:Oh no! When I used a scissor jack my frame never even made a peep. I swapped that out for a 6 ton bottle jack last year - it creaks and groans a bit if I get too aggressive. I find it better to build up some pressure, then let it sit for a minute, then apply more. Trying to squeeze all at once is not the most effective and is harder on the equipment.

My press bucket blew out on the last squeeze of the year Saturday (was I trying extra hard to get the last drop?). Good timing. Left some apples on the trees, but the freezers and fermenters are full and I gave I a bunch away. Ended up with 55 gallons this year.

55 Gallons isn't bad at all.

Maybe a 20 ton press was a bit too much...
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby cranky » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:27 pm

Wooday wrote:Maybe a 20 ton press was a bit too much...

I thought that when I was looking at jacks, I thought about a 20 ton but I already had a 12 ton from jacking my house and figured if a 12 ton could lift a house it could press apples. I think I also overbuilt the press just a skosh. I was surprised you broke your press, it looked plenty beefy. I also put pressure on, let it rest a bit then add more pressure as it relaxes.
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Wooday » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:11 am

cranky wrote:
Wooday wrote:Maybe a 20 ton press was a bit too much...

I thought that when I was looking at jacks, I thought about a 20 ton but I already had a 12 ton from jacking my house and figured if a 12 ton could lift a house it could press apples. I think I also overbuilt the press just a skosh. I was surprised you broke your press, it looked plenty beefy. I also put pressure on, let it rest a bit then add more pressure as it relaxes.


We were fine until we were at the end of the press and just *had* to go that last 1/4" to bottom out the jack :evil:
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby DetroitDIY » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:28 pm

I built my grinder and press a few years back. The tensile strength of wood is incredibly high. I don't remember all my calcs any longer, but I have 4 uprights for the cross beam. Each one is Aspen (not particularly strong wood) and 1x2 inches cross section. My cross beam on top is 2 8" LVLs glued together. The bottom support is 3 of the same LVLs and a couple shims of Aspen (just wanted to make a wide base to support the tray). Through bolts with washers and nuts to join it all. I run it with a 6 ton bottle jack and it is rock solid.

I've been running on a regular HDPE 6.5 gallon brew bucket that I've drilled lots of weep holes in, and lined with a mesh bag before filling with the pomace. A 2" thick press plate sized to the bucket ID (~12") is the press plate that supports the bottle jack. All that sits on a stainless pizza tray a bit larger than the bucket, with one drain hole drilled at the perimeter for the collection bucket. It's worked well. I don't weight my apples, have a reasonable idea of the volume I pick. My yields are anywhere from 1.2 - 2.8 gallons / bushel (those 1.2 were REALLY dry pomace). Most varieties I pick press out about 2 gal/bshl. I do let the apples macerate between 2-24 hrs to help the yield, this makes a decent improvement.

This winter I'm replacing my HDPE bucket with a thick walled stainless pot as the HDPE bulges scarily at the end of each press and I've been afraid of a blow out like Soft Batch mentioned. Now I need to get a better bit to drill the bucket.

I spend one day a month ago pressing apples at a professional orchard/cidery. I talked to the technicians about their press (a massive hydraulic system rising from the floor). Did some quick math and calculated that my 6 tons over the area of my 12" diameter bucket developed a similar pressure to the system the cidery used. The ratio may be useful for those of you building presses with larger square cheeses.

One design feature that I've found to be useful in my press... I elevated the press bucket support cross beams high enough so the pizza tray must collector is above a tall collection bucket (6.5 gallon). And that bucket rests on a collapsible support to keep it off the ground about 4 inches. High enough to slip a little tasting glass under the collection bucket spigot which is nice for friends who join the pressing and want to try a quick taste of the juice.

Improvements that would have been nice include a wider span between my uprights (so I could fit a larger collection bucket and tray. I'm limited to 15.5" which I've found to be a bit tight now that I'm upgrading to a stainless steel pot. And I will be drilling the weep holes in my new pot in six helical paths so that regardless of the plunge depth of the press, there are always at least 6 weep holes to drain off the must. I did a more cubic pattern in my HDPE and when the pomace is pressed hard (and therefore dense) and packs up a little around the plunger supporting the bottle jack, I can collect to much must that wont drain right and threatens to overflow the 2" thick wooden plunger to get at my bottle jack.

Sorry for the long note, don't mean to hijack the thread.

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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Wooday » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:10 am

Got the press fixed and ended the year with 50 gallons.
It's just about time to empty the kegs from 2015 to make some room.
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby raketemensch » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:57 pm

DetroitDIY, can you post some pics? You described it well, but I could use a few thousand words....

Wooday, are you saying you have 2 year old ferments to run?
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Re: New Apple Press

Postby Wooday » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:00 am

raketemensch wrote:
Wooday, are you saying you have 2 year old ferments to run?

Perry and cider have been bulk aging under co2 since December 2015. They have matured nicely but they just aren't a good "daily drinker". Too complex. I think they would make an interesting brandy.
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