Pressing tobacco - latest results

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stvalentine

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Jan 13, 2015
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Northern Germany
Recently there were several threads discussing the possibilities of pressing your own tobacco into a kake or plug. After having a mixture of VA, Per and a bit of booze in my 6-ton press for about four weeks I opened it up today to see the results.
It has roughly the size of a hockey puck and feels quite hard so I assume it came out as a plug. Still needs a bit of drying but cutting it will reveal if it is only a kake or a plug. It smells heavily of the liqueur I was using - yummy!
I was quite generous with the Per and I hope it will not knock me down! 8O



 

cranseiron

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May 17, 2013
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Biloxi, MS
Those results look promising, stvalentine. What if steam were added to the equation? A simple steam box can be built with a propane burner, big pot with lid (a.k.a cajun cooker) fittings, flexible rubber/plastic tubing and something like an ice chest to contain the steam. I've made steam boxes from PVC tubing for bending wood and it's not complicated or expensive. It might bind and soften the tobacco more to make it more of a proper compacted English plug.

 

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stvalentine

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Jan 13, 2015
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Northern Germany
Thank you Gentlemen!
@cranse iron: This might be a possibility but how would I get my hydraulic press into that box? Even without steam this one seems very much like a firm plug. I will need to cut it to confirm that. Do you have pictures of your steam box?

 

ophiuchus

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Mar 25, 2016
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:clap: -Yum!
Remember to update this thread with the plug-cutting ceremony.

 

cranseiron

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May 17, 2013
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Biloxi, MS
stvalentine-- yes, that plug looks pretty good already! I'm a concept guy, but the devil's in the details, isn't it? I'll give it a whirl, though.
With the press you could cut out a portion of the bottom of a small ice chest for a solid metal cylinder of a size that would fit inside your press tube. Cut a hole through the top of the box the size of the press ram so you could pump it down into the top of your press tube. Both holes could be marginally sealed with cured silicone to fit over the top and bottom rams where they pass through the ice chest. Mount your ice chest box inside the press frame, line up the press tube with bottom fixed support (the fixed ram) and then start pumping the upper ram down. Now, you may have to cut a small access panel in the box to make sure everything is aligned or can be adjusted. Once you have it set up, all can be sealed with caulk or some rubber gasket material to somewhat seal it up. It's not real critical to have it seal completely as you'll want the steam to vent a little anyway. Once it's set up you can connect all your tubing, steam supply tube fitted into the bottom of the chest. You'll want two or three c clamps to clamp the lid on the boiling pot so steam is not lost from that. As long as you keep feeding water to the pot and you have fuel it will steam all day.
Is it worth all the trouble? I suppose it's a matter of perspective, but at least it would be a fun project-- especially during a winter's day. None of this is expensive and none of the fittings have to be fitted critically. Just make sure they're tight and the box is secured inside the press frame. This all conceptual and some bugs are surely to be worked out, but it's all pretty simple.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Outer Space
I think that Troy (MrLowercase), or Woods and the boys at SToP had discussed how they didn't actually add any steam to the process. They use heated iron molds that drove the water out of the tobacco as it pressed them, making steam, but not adding it. This will give you a nice lightly charred surface, like on those European plugs.
You might try just putting your mold in the kiln or heating it with a torch just before adding the wet tobacco. This will also lessen how much time you actually have to keep the plug in the press. It should be rather quick, to keep the assembly line going.

 
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