Given that a press will "press" out quite a bit of tincture that squeezing will leave in the "mash," I wanted a press.
I looked online and was amazed at how expensive the tincture presses offered for sale were.
These were mainly welded metal frames, utilizing an el-cheapo 2 ton hydraulic bottle jack (for cars). The vessels were generally of nesting stainless steel with holes.
Only $400 - $600.
Way too much.
So I set about designing a tincture press of my own.
I thought I'd use a stack of plywood frames.
I got WAY, WAY, WAY too elaborate as I revised and revised.
Finally I had a good plan drawn up.
I went to Home Depot to buy the parts....
But once in the store I threw away my elaborate plan because I realized I could build a much more simple press based upon the following:
a.) two pieces of 4" x 4"
b.) Heavy threaded metal rods to hold the 4x4s apart
c.) Double nuts for each end of the rods, with washers.
d.) Central sliding platform (2" x 6") to hold the vessels.
* This is the main tricky part because you
need the holes just right and the jack stud
must be centered.
e.) Bottom support (two more pieces of 2x6 or 2x4 to
hold the unit upright.
f.) El cheapo hydralic 2-ton bottle jack.
g.) Top press arm of iron pipe, flanged to top 4x4.
h.) Stainless bowels from the thrift store, drilled.
i.) Unbleached muslin sack to hold the "mash."
Basically I built a similar device to the welded metal one... Using wood so no welding or expensive steel needed.
Cost of everything, including a few drill bits I didn't have: about $50.
Time invested (including shopping): Maybe 4 hours.
Level of Difficulty: Beginner
Functionality: Works like a champ
Tinctures Pressed: Schulze-recipe Cayenne and Hawthorn. so far.
I was going to draw up a plan, but haven't had time.
Basically it's just common sense. The only semi-tricky part is to make sure your rising platform is centered over the jack post so it doesn't skew when it rises and jam. Center carefully and drill a hole to accept the upturned nipple of an iron pipe flange. This will keep things centered. I also made the holes in the platform, the rod holes that is, a bit larger so I could line them with PVC pipe with endcaps, hoping for a smoother travel. Not sure if that is needed, but looks pretty slick :-)
I also kept the rods longer than needed. I kept them full lentgh so that a 5 gallon sized pot will fit in there. I may try making vinegar or cider this fall because I have too apple trees. I don't expect to create a totally vegan product, by the way:-)