Square Peg Post

September 12, 2011

Cider Press Rebuilt

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 12:58 pm

My folks bought an antique cider press at a farm auction in the early 1970′s.  I vividly remember the trip to pick it up including the tag hanging on the press which included our misspelled last name and the sales price of $40.   We used the press over many years and a cider pressing turned into a pretty fun afternoon for lots of neighborhood kids.

The original wooden frame eventually got loose and sloppy so I asked my friend Matt Presley who owns Old Green Woodworking to rebuild it for me.    Matt brought the press back to the farm today and I was blown away.  He used quartersawn white oak, the same wood used when the machine was first built at the Eagle Machine Co., Lancaster, OH, circa 1900.    The original construction lasted for about 100 years so it was the pattern for the rebuild.  However, I agreed to some of Matt’s ideas for making the rebuilt frame more robust and easier to use.  The biggest change is that the tray that holds the pomace basket and captures the juice has been made into a removable component which makes it easier to clean and makes the whole press easier to move.  In the original design the tray was an integral part of the frame and provided much of the structural rigidity.  This function is now provided by the two longitudinal runners that connect the front and rear legs and several other improved joining techniques.  The only down side of the project is that our nicest piece of furniture is now a cider press that spends most of its time in a machine shed!

Matt and his Handiwork

I volunteered to refinish the castings – and will do so soon.  More pics when that happens and when we grind and press our inaugural apples.

From Left: new pressing block, pomace basket with one new slat, removable tray, new basket slide, rebuilt frame (notice new runners that connect the front and rear legs.)

The boards in the original tray were butted together and nailed. Matt's version uses dovetail joints and glue.

The runners on the basket slide fit into grooves on the slats.

Cleats on the bottom of the tray keep it in place when located in the frame.


  1. Absolutely beautiful job – I can smell the apple juice and feel the summer sun.

    Comment by Cay Borduin — September 12, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing, Chris. Mine is “out of service” due to the grandkids’ play house/set that sits under the edge of one of my apple trees, precluding me from spraying it to keep the bugs under control. Kathy and I don’t want poisons on the play equipment so I won’t be spraying till God knows when (and She ain’t telling!).

    However I still have 3-4 gallons from 2009 when I put up 19 gallons.

    I do have a red delicious that I should take care of, but making cider with only 1 variety of apples is not “supposed” to be good. I might try it next year and beg neighbors for some other varieties. Problme is time. Always, time…

    I try to save the “better” apples to give the neighbor’s horses up at our cabin north of Leadville Colorado, so they don’t totally go to waste. But, in addition to the bugs, the birds and squirels love them, so I guess they are not going to “waste”.

    Comment by Jerry Vargo — September 13, 2011 @ 9:40 am

  3. Sweet! I am coming over with pears asap. Hope you take better care of this than your bee boxes (ahem)….if not I am stealing it. Miss you guys, will try to catch you at the market soon. Send us a fish so I can bring you some smoked salmon bacon!

    Comment by Laura Dalton — September 13, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  4. talk to Amy re bee boxes!

    Comment by Administrator — September 15, 2011 @ 6:27 am

  5. [...] Cider Press Rebuilt [...]

    Pingback by Under Pressure « Portland Farmers Market Blog — October 11, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  6. BEAUTIFUL!!! I’ve picked 8 5 gallon buckets of apples so far they are on the porch… : )

    Comment by clare carver — October 13, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

  7. great work I wish I could have done that. put it in front of the window and let buster perch on it. its beautiful dad

    Comment by tom roehm — October 31, 2011 @ 6:57 am

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