I own a house with a 40+ year old concord grape vine that produces more grapes than I know what to do with (they have seeds so I don't end up eating many of them). I also have a cool basement and room for projects, and this year I've decided to try to make wine. Having tried to make jam with the grapes last year, I've already learned that smashing grapes with a potato masher is both time consuming and no fun. It also isn't very effective.
I visited my local brew @ home store and got a quick run through of the process of making wine, and all the basic materials. The store manager estimated that I had over 100lbs of grapes which could produce close to 10 gallons of juice. From what I remember last year, we took about 15 lbs of grapes (stems and all) and got about 1 gallon of juice after 45min of mashing and squeezing through a cheese cloth. If we want to get through all 100lbs....there had to be a more efficient way.
My basic plan was to use a car jack to push a disk into a perforated stock pot, to crush the grapes. In the next few pages you'll see the contraption I came up with.
Step 1: Materials & tools
I didn't want to spend too much on this grape crusher since I could buy a tried and true one off of ebay for ~$180.
Large stock pot from Goodwill - $15
(2) 2x4s that were laying around - $Free
(2) 14" x 14" pieces of 3/4" plywood that were laying around - $Free
(2) flimsy plastic cutting boards from the kitchen - $Free
3' of quarter round trim - $3
Brad nails - $1
2.5" Lag bolts & washers - $6
2" screws laying around - $Free
Car jack - Borrowed from the car
6mil plastic sheet - $10
Note: I used flimsy cutting boards because they are cheap and I had them. If I had old thick plastic cutting boards laying around I would have used those instead. All I was trying to do was create a barrier between the plywood and the grapes.
Compound miter saw to cut 2x4s
Circular saw to cut the plywood
Jig saw to cut plywood disk
Hammer for the holes in the pot and the brad nails
Sander (if necessary)
Scissors to cut the cutting board