Update on the antique apple press restoration 5.0

Apple press macerator drum
Here you see the block of laminated red oak, cleaned up and chucked into the lathe ready to get started.

The apple press restoration is close to being done, but getting further and further away as the days get warmer. You see, once warm weather hits, I lay down my shop tools and pick up my gardening implements. Not because I cannot stand the heat, but because I can’t spend but so much time in the shop working on projects like this. When it’s cold, snowy, rainy, sleety, miserable, I head to my shop where it’s warm and comfy. Nobody misses me much because they don’t want to be outside with me anyway. But as spring rolls around, things like taking the kids boating, going for a gator ride, seeing new calves, etc. all start sounding good to my crowd. So I put down my chisel and hammer and try to concentrate on projects that involve more of the family. That means that while I’m very close to finishing, I’m also very close to putting all this in a box till this fall. Maybe this weekend I’ll get it finished up and put back together. Maybe not.

Antique apple press restoration
Roughing out the wood. There are already a lot of chips of the ground at this point.

It’s a joy to get back on the wood lathe for this project. I enjoy a lot of different types of work, but working on a wood lathe is one of my favorite things to do. It’s more artistic than scientific. Not so much on this particular job but on many others. I spent a lot of time on a lathe when I was younger and any time I can get a gouge in my hand and make some chips fly is a good day.

Antique apple press restoration, finished drum
The finished product. Turned true and to size, with a center hole drilled through for the shaft.

I wasn’t able to grip the drum in my wood lathe for drilling the center hole so I had to cover up my metal lathe and do the drilling in the big chuck on the metal lathe. I try to limit any wood getting around my metal working tools, as wood can be bad for them. However I’ve gotten sloppy by having a big metal lathe. I’m used to being able to grab most anything in the 100 pound chuck. My wood lathe chuck, which weighs about 2 pounds, wasn’t even close to holding this drum, something I didn’t check till after I’d already parted off the finished drum. Oh well, you cannot win them all.

Pictured with the drum is a nearly completed knife. You can see the teeth which are .250″ between teeth, and cut at a 15 degree relief, the same as the original knives. Miguel had what I think is a good idea. Since we have such large pieces of metal for the new  knives, let’s drill pockets in the solid drum and cut the knives as long two tine forks instead of single piece knives. To insert a knife, you put the dull end (non machined) of the fork into the hole drilled cross wise in the drum, then the sharpened end of the knife goes into the slot cut to hold it, just like the old slots. The makes for a very positive retention system for the knives, stronger than the wedge system in the old setup. It’s overkill for what this thing does, but since we already have the large pieces of metal, why not? I have to ponder on it a bit more and make sure it’s going to work but for now it’s sounding like a good idea.

Hopefully we’ll get these last steps done shortly and button this thing up for the summer. I’d like to have it ready to press apples come fall, not be scrambling to get it working at the last-minute. I hate unfinished projects.

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Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

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