Basket press advice...

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Johnd

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And while we're at it...

I was planning on quartered or rift sawn white oak for the staves, as this seems compatible with the process. However, I'm planning to finish the staves with pure tung oil, which provides a food safe, hard finish. So oak's properties and utility in winemaking are reduced to strength. With that in mind, I'm wondering if something even tighter-grained, such as hard maple, would provide a stronger, more easily maintained surface.

I've looked and can't find anything relating the traditional wood used, understanding that that wood was likely unfinished. Short of that, I can't find what woods are used in new presses, understanding that that wood is likely finished.

Anyone have any thoughts or experience? I'm hoping to hit up the mill tomorrow morning.
I saw one on a video that was made or colorless resin, poured in a mold, polished clear. Very cool looking, strong, durable, and see-through. Couldn’t find the vid to share, but at least I remembered it......

Edit: I referenced the wrong post, the item I’m talking about was the press plate.
 

stickman

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I've heard of people using solid oak flooring stock for the basket, but I don't have any direct experience myself. The staves on mine are 7/8" thick, I had assumed it was oak, but really I have no idea. Mine has 3 pairs of press blocks that are 2.5"x2.5"x10", again they appear to be hard wood, definitely not SPF, but it may not matter much as they don't really contact the wine.
 

balatonwine

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Short of that, I can't find what woods are used in new presses
Presses often use Beech for the staves in the basket. A tight grain wood that will impart no flavors to the wine. And the wood is traditionally unfinished.

For example, Beech is the wood stated in these presses:

 

Bliorg

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Maple would be best, however white oak with tung oil on it would be easy to clean as well.
I'm leaning toward maple right now. I really like the idea of fumed QSWO, but my mill is low on QS, and fuming rift sawn doesn't seem worth the trouble. I know - I shouldn't let my vanity play a role in this decision, but for the effort going into the project, I want something that's more than just functional. Maple, though, seems to have a lot of advantages in use.

Presses often use Beech for the staves in the basket. A tight grain wood that will impart no flavors to the wine. And the wood is traditionally unfinished.
You know, I need to put a plane to some of the wood that came off the press. I'll bet it's beech. Certainly wasn't oak. Beech is a great option, but not readily available near me.

I was rummaging through my lumber stash a little bit ago (as I got too late a start to make it to the mill before closing today, Saturday hours...) and have at least some of what was sold to me as "Painted" maple. I think it's soft maple (which should still be plenty strong for this) and has some mineral streaking through it. Not sure I have enough, though, to complete the project (I figure I need about 5-6 BF after milling, probably about 8 with waste). Have to dig around s'more...

[EDIT] Dug around. I have enough maple (that I can find) for (21) 16" staves. I need (22). So I could punt for the last stave (I have some sapwood cherry that is similar enough to fit in), or dig through some more for something completely different. I may have enough o-l-d cherry or walnut to accommodate this project, both are used in food service and would be sealed anyway. I think I'm going to end up pulling apart my lumber stack today. Would make sense to use material already on hand if possible...
 
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Bliorg

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Understand. And for such projects, half the fun is rummaging around and using what you already have. :cool:

Side note: Beech is so common where I live, I use it for firewood.... ♨
Where I grew up, maple-beech was the climax forest, and they grew huge. Around here there are a lot of ash and walnut, and they're not all that nice. And the ash is all being devastated by the emerald ash borer, they expect them to be entirely gone in a few years.
 

Ajmassa

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Where I grew up, maple-beech was the climax forest, and they grew huge. Around here there are a lot of ash and walnut, and they're not all that nice. And the ash is all being devastated by the emerald ash borer, they expect them to be entirely gone in a few years.
i pulled out my press yesterday to clean it knowing I’ll be using in a few days. I don’t feel comfortable using it anymore though. It’s so old and the staves have wine stains caked into it and has a smell that- it’s not good. But it’s not horrible either. Idk. Hard to describe.

I sanded one down as a test and only with a heavy heavy sanding did i feel comfortable to use again. But doing all that work to salvage staves seems pointless. In your now expert opinion 😁 & w/ just a couple days window, (no online purchases) what do you think my best option would be for new stave material?

current staves are 7/8” thick x 1-5/8” wide

And after some quick online searches red oak does seem to be relatively standard—-Which is surprising considering the cat piss factor I’ve been told about. I suppose any use of red oak is sealed tho. Gonna shoot for white or beech I guess. And hopefully can find hardware. Wild goose chase tomorrow
 
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Ajmassa

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Do you think poplar might be an option? Pretty available and inexpensive.
I have no idea. That’s kinda why I popped into this thread- to see what’s cool/ what’s not cool

For press staves I guess the harder the better. But I do love me some poplar. I would like to keep the staves at 7/8” thick if I’m able but makes it more difficult to find. I bet they probably sell 5/4” stock tho. If forced to use depot or Lowe’s or something then options would be 5/4 red ok or poplar and plane & rip as needed.
I’m gonna hit up a few different local lumberyards tomorrow to see what’s out there.
 

Bliorg

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Sorry for the late reply - was watching SpaceX launch.

Okay, here's my completely inexperienced, worth-less-than-you're-paying-for thoughts: Hardwood. Check. Closed grain. Better than open. White oak passes due to the tyloses. Red oak does not have them, which is why it's not used for water-tight applications. Plus the whole cat p!ss thing. If you're completely sealing in the wood, red oak is better than nothing. Poplar, I think, would work, but largely because I don't *think* the lateral pressures seen by the staves, banded by the rings, is enough to break them. I've used poplar in applications that require tremendous strength (Windsor seats with tapered joinery) and never had a failure. For about the same price (at the mill I've used) hard maple is comparable in price.

I see you're near Philly. So am I, but the other way. Have you ever been to Hearne's in Oxford? My concern with sourcing anything from dePot/Lowe's is (1) You're getting 1" nominal, so 3/4", (2) I don't think you can get 5/4 hardwoods, and (3) you'll pay through the nose. Hearne's is a playground. Have incredible stuff. Pretty sure they'll surface for you too if you don't have access to a jointer or planer. If you're able to drive up to Kempton, Bailey Wood Products has great prices and will surface for $0.35/BF. Outside Reading is Talarico's. The place for quartered wood.

All that said, if you need any help, I've got a pretty well equipped shop.
 

pete1325

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All in all a pretty good find and great little project. If you intend to replace the wood on the basket make sure you use a wood that won't warp to much and strong enough to handle the pressure of the press. These old baskets presses can generate tons of pressure Maple perhaps.
 

Bliorg

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All in all a pretty good find and great little project. If you intend to replace the wood on the basket make sure you use a wood that won't warp to much and strong enough to handle the pressure of the press. These old baskets presses can generate tons of pressure Maple perhaps.
Thanks. Plan is still to use the well-aged cherry I found in my lumber pile. I need to get back off dead zero on this. Have to many irons in too many fires. I have to check the cherry - it's from several mills, and several old projects, so I think there's some discrepancy in thicknesses. Need to plane it all to the same thickness, then get busy milling to dimension. Once that's done, I can order my hardware from McMaster-Carr (hopefully it's all still in my cart...). Honestly, it's not even a weekend's work, and I really have no excuses. Am planning on a Chilean Syrah (?)-based rose this spring, really need to get the press finished.
 

Bliorg

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Okay, may be adjusting the plan: Found a guy locally with well-aged 4/4+ black walnut. Which is about my favorite wood. And a good enough price that it's tempting me dearly. Also considering Waterlox as a food safe finish. Hmm...
 

Rice_Guy

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I am not aware of any food process equipment which touches the food being made out of walnut, ,,,, EVER.
Found a guy locally with well-aged 4/4+ black walnut. . . Also considering Waterlox as a food safe finish. Hmm...
the old standard was to oil wood with peanut oil, any wood will survive well as long as it is dry, constant water promotes mold.
the industry point of view nothing is better than stainless as a stainless U channel or even angle iron with the point side facing in twards the grapes, or better yet 1/4 inch perforated stainless
 

VinesnBines

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Cutting boards are often made of black walnut. It is rated higher than cherry for cutting boards, in fact. second only to maple. A google search shows numerous such items for sale.

I would think if a cutting board is acceptable, then the staves of a press would be just as good.
 

Bliorg

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Cutting boards are often made of black walnut. It is rated higher than cherry for cutting boards, in fact. second only to maple. A google search shows numerous such items for sale.

I would think if a cutting board is acceptable, then the staves of a press would be just as good.
And, FWIW, bowls and spoons.

An interesting read: Walnut Cutting boards - nut allergy trigger?

I'm not sure ATM what I'm going to use - budget has come into play very heavily in the past week, and I may end up using what I've got on hand rather than buying more wood. My cherry isn't all consistent thickness, but the majority is 7/8" thick, with some 3/4". I'm thinking I could get away with no planing, use the 7/8" on the bulk of the basket, and the thinner 3/4" on the four end staves where I'm going to be using different fasteners anyway.

Need to get out in the cold cold garage and figure out how much of each I have...
 

toadie

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Black Walnut has the highest juglone content of any of the trees in this family. This is a prominent tree in the Carolinian zone which is a large area in North America and a tree gardening me battles. I have never understood why people use Black Walnut cutting boards. They are a beautiful wood that wood working me adores but I use a respirator to avoid the dust. That said English Walnut or walnuts from Europe have significantly less juglone and carry far less risk for food contact. Still why use it when another wood is available. By the way my Black Walnut cheese boards look awesome.
 
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