The ratchet press I use is very simple but came with no instructions, so here are some, it’s not rocket science.
Start by filling the wooden barrel with your crushed apple press down firmly and fill to the top. Then add the two half moon wooden pieces, and press down. Remember to have the bucket under the press from this point as juice will start to flow immediately. Next build up a stagered tower with the timber blocks, you are only given four pieces but I cut a few more to give extra hight. The trick is to build the tower as high as you can as this saves unwinding the ratchet to add more pieces.
Then srew on the ratchet untill it meets the wooden blocks. Then comes the important part, as you need to slot in two shieves. The ratchet will not work without them. They are always placed in opposite directions.
If you want the ratchet to go down point the shieves in a clockwise direction and visa versa.Think of it like this, if you want it to go down, as you place the shieves in, think of a clockwise motion and have the pointed end of the shieve pointing in that direction. When you want to reverse it just swop them over easy.
When it gets to a point when you feel that you can’t possibly go any further, stop, and then wait a while. I normally give it half an hour to an hour, smoke a fag make a cup of tea. When you return you will find that you are able to crank it with ease again for a while. When it gets stiff again stop wait a few mins and then reverse the shieves, take off the ratchet and wooden blocks open the barrel an you are left with a squashed apple cake as my son calls it. My press is a 15 ltr I -guess this is the volume of the barrel- this gives me on average 5ltr’s of juice from each press. It also will be necessary to build a table or have something to fix it to when pressing as without you are unable to exert enough force.
Best of all it’s great fun, next year I will be able to enjoy some year old cider between presses.