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Pressing diversions

Someone at work asked me today if I could make a cheese press (perfectly ordinary question). At first I thought they meant something a bit fancy like one of these:

Which is doable, but a little time-consuming and I have about six other things on the go at the moment, but then they explained no, they meant like this one:


Now that’s all pretty and stuff, but basically it’s two planks, three bits of threaded rod, a few nuts and a handle. How hard could that be? So I said I’d have a go. I had some offcuts of 2x4s from the bench that were around a foot long and the cheese jar thingy they had wasn’t that big, so I figured this could be reasonably easy…


Few small offcuts – I figure resaw the 2x4s to 4x1s, glue up two for a panel for the base, use one for the crossbar at the top and take that 2×2 and get a handle out of it. If nothing else, it’ll be some practice with chisel and spokeshave that’ll be handy for the crib later. So I clean them up on a face and edge with the jack and mark off a mid-line for the saw and get going.


I’ll say this much for pine – it’s a pain for knots or fancy joints, but it really does saw easy.


Mind you, helps to have a good saw. Today, this thing was a line-following machine…


Did I mention how critical that wedge was though?


Okay, nice clean resawn boards. With a pretty knot-pattern too.


Must try to keep that in as a feature, it’s too nifty not to. Resawed the other board as well, then took the first two and bookmatch planed the edges for a butt joint and gave them another swipe with the smoother to spring the joint, and glued up.


Look, I know the glue brush is a fancy gadget, but screw it, it works better than looking for scraps of timber all the time and the glue peels right off when it’s dry. I like the thing. I’m a little worried that the bristles won’t last and they’ll come off as I pull dried glue out of them, but meh, I can live with it. The other end, the glue paddle thing, is the normal primary school glue spreader design and you can get packs of 50 of them for pennies on ebay if it comes to it.


Hmm. I think the alignment drifted by a mm or so during the clamping. Or the kerf was wider than I thought. Oh well, still not too shabby.


And some very rudimentary roughing out for the handle. More work there yet, but I want to get the nuts and threaded rod and stuff before doing too much, so I know what size the holes will be and where they’ll go exactly. So I set it all aside there for the moment and went back to the slats for the crib and marked up the blanks for resawing.


At that point I drew a line under it. Only an hour in the shed (late start), but I might get that press done over the weekend. Have the electrics to do as well though, and the weather is finally forecast to be dry enough to paint the shed. Might have to make that the priority, there won’t be many opportunities between now and winter to get that bit done.

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