Not that you nee a lot of pressure but you should keep a short length of pipe for a little extra leverage with the screw. Beautiful job on the press and I like the dark vrs. light contrast on the stiles and rails!
Thanks for all the compliments, although my buddy actually deserves all the credit.
The press is made of oak and pine. As you may know, pine is relatively plain-looking, so we toasted it with a torch. The oak we finished natural, which provided the two-tone look.
I bought the plans off of eBay from seller volpex1 for $10. We looked them over and decided that we could build it. volpex1 also sold hardware kits that contain all of the metal pieces for $70. I priced the components and the threaded rod for the T-handle would cost more than $70 (since we'd have to buy a 6' piece), so we bought the kit. The kit came with the plans, so we could have saved $10 but had no way of knowing that up front. The oak we got from a local cabinet shop through the friend-of-a-friend.
In hindsight, we did discover a small issue with the press. The T-handle presses down on a reinforced wooded plate. Our plate is a little too small and some grapes slip over the top. I can't say for certain whether this is a problem with the plans or if we just cut the plate too small. We lined the press with fiberglass screen (a tip we got from a guy at the MSU Fruit Experiment Station). Next time we'll just fold the top of the screen over the grapes and put the press plate on top. That should prevent this problem.