After recently attending a seaweed pressing course, my partner was after a wooden seaweed press that she could use for her own pressings. Ones for sale seemed quite small and rather flimsy, so I decided to make one.
Dropping into IKEA in Exeter, we picked up a couple of APTITLIG bamboo chopping boards (for £9 each). I felt that bamboo would be more robust than a simple wooden board, plus they were big enough to make a press that would take A4 paper.
I then purchased some M8 stainless steel coach bolts wing nuts and penny washers. I decided that stainless steel was worth the extra expense as, by the nature of its use, we’d be putting damp paper in the press, and I didn’t want anything to start rusting.
As the size was about right, I didn’t need to cut the boards down at all. So all I needed to do was drill some holes for the coach bolts. The main issue here is that I wanted the holes to be equally and symetrically spaced, so that if you took to top off, it would fit on the other way round.
1. I carefully measured 3cm from each edge to create 4 points to be the centre of my holes.
2. I marked these, and drilled a small pilot hole.
3. Next I drilled the 4 holes in the first board using am 8.5mm drill bit. It’s best to have a piece of scrap wood underneath to minimise the tear out when the drill comes out the back of the board. If you don’t you’ll get racgged holes (and might need to sand it more to remove sharp edges) If you have a pillar drill (drill press) great, but it’s not necessary, but be carefull to drill straight.
4. Then I lined up the second board below the first and clamped it in place so it didn’t slip, and then drilled through the existing holes (to use them as guides) into and through the second board, again using a scrap underneath.
5. Then removing the first (top board) I opened up the second board holes with a 9mm drill bit. This gives a bit of wiggle room for the coach bolts.
6. Once done. sand down around the holes on each board to remove any sharp edges.
7. Insert the coach bolts through the holes in the first board (with the smaller holes) and slip the second board onto the protuding bolts.
8. You should be able to slip the second board over the bolts, slip the washers and wind nuts on, and then tighten up.
9. The coach bolts will need hammering into the bottom board (they have a square part below the mushroom head that will then make a snug fit into the board)
Best to use a drill press / Pillar drill to make sure the holes are straight.
The wind nuts are quite hard to do up, so bigger “nuts” might be useful