There is a certain amount of gear that you need in order to go to the next level. One of the main pieces of equipment necessary for making harder cheeses is a cheese press to squeeze the curds under a specific pressure for a set amount of time. I found cheese presses for sale online but they were expensive ($70-$275). I decided that making my own was the way to go. I wanted something that would be able to handle up to two pounds of curds and generate up to 50 lbs of pressure. I took my inspiration from a couple of similar press designs I found online and added my own ideas. After a little experimentation I ended up with a press that was simple to use and inexpensive to build using basic tools. Expect to spend between $10 to $25 depending on how much stuff you have at home already.
As with any set of instructions this will guide you to replicate what I made. Don't feel constrained by my ideas though, you should modify my design to meet your needs any way you see fit.
Check out my blog for other stuff I've been making including a cheese cave for ageing all this cheese I'm going to be making with my new press...
Step 1: Stuff You Will Need
1 piece of wood- 3/4" x 7 1/2" x 5 1/4"
2 pieces of wood- 3/4" x 7 1/2" x 1 3/8"
2 pieces of wood- 2" x 5" x 5"
2 pieces all-thread rod at least 13" tall (depends on the springs) x 3/8" dia
Asst'd 3/8" dia. hardware:
2 wingnuts, 4 nuts, 6 washers, 2 lock washers
2 springs w/ 50lb compression strength approx. 3 1/2" tall x 7/8"dia (more about this on step 4)
4 screw in feet
1 index card or piece of card stock
1 small wood screw
1 plastic pitcher
1 5" x 5" piece from a plastic cutting board
Some scrap wood pieces
Mineral oil (you can get this at drugstores, make sure it is unscented)
Saws (I used a table saw, jigsaw and a handsaw)
Drill and bits
Pencil and a pen
Possibly a tap for threading the holes for the feet (optional)
Bathroom scale or any scale that will read up 50 lbs.