Neil Franklin's cider press project with railway sleepers

Thought you might be interested in another use for your timber. I bought a single 8' 6" X 8" X 5" French oak sleeper which I ripped into four lengths of approx 4" X 2" (good job I had a large circular saw with a sharp blade!). I then cut these to size to give 3 cross members across the top, 3 across the middle and 2 uprights each side. I bought some offcuts of 38mm worktop from homebase for £5 and the nice man cut it into 2 off 500mm X 500mm for me. I edged one piece with 4" x1/2" to make a tray and drilled a hole near one edge and fitted a piece of waste pipe to run off the liquid. I fitted a couple of pieces of softwood to the underside to locate it on the middle cross members. I washed and cut the apples roughly and made sure there were no mouldy bits and then pulverised them with a baulk of timber in a bucket. I used some old nylon net curtain (washed!) to wrap the apple into cakes of approx 400mm X 400mm X 10mm which I stacked 6 high. I then inverted the second piece of worktop (finished face down) on top of the apples and using packing pieces put a hydraulic car bottle jack between the top cross members and the packing. Operating the jack forced the pressing plate down onto the apples, the juice ran into the bottom tray, out through the spout into a bucket and is now fermenting away nicely in a warm spot indoors. I was quite surprised how much juice came out. The whole lot was bolted together so it could be dismantled and stored till next year.
Neil Franklin

Another intriguing use for a railway sleeper ! What an excellent written account of ingenuity and creativity, not to mention a satisfying end result of fermenting cider. A great project and story.

Neil Franklin's cider press with railway sleeper 1
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Neil Franklin's cider press with railway sleeper 2
Neil Franklin's cider press with railway sleeper 3