Words By Alex Woodger Photos By Robyn Rosenfeldt
If you’ve got a bountiful harvest of citrus to squeeze, you don’t need to mess around with fiddly squeezers or noisy and expensive electric appliances.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as being able to make something at home that produces just as good – if not better – results than a store-bought appliance. And being able to make it from bits and pieces you’re likely to have lying around is the lemon icing on your homemade cake.
What You Need
A one-metre length of 50 mm by 30 mm timber. Two lengths measuring around 500 mm will also do the trick, as long as they’re a similar width and thickness. Hardwood is best for both strength and longevity, but a softer timber like pine will also be fine. You’ll also need a thinner piece of hardwood the same width, around 8–10 mm thick and 120 mm long. Whatever you choose, ensure none of it is treated in any way.
Lastly, you’ll need a pencil and tape measure, a saw (a handsaw will work fine, or a circular saw if you have one), a small hinge no wider than the width of your lengths of timber, a drill, a handful of screws and a screwdriver, as well as a piece of sandpaper.
Measure And Mark
Taking your length of timber, measure and cut one at around 500 mm long and the make other around 50 mm shorter than the first. Give the timbers a light sand to remove any sharp edges or splinters, but there’s no need to go overboard – this isn’t fine furniture, it’s a quick and simple tool to make your life easier.
Starting 70 mm in from the end of the longer piece, mark a series of parallel lines spaced five millimetres apart. These will form the grooves for the juice to escape, so the number of grooves you’ll need will be determined by the size of the citrus you’re wanting to juice. But grooves spanning 100–120 mm will accomodate everything from limes through to large grapefruit.
Groove And Attach
Using a hand or power saw, cut the series of grooves you’ve just marked out to a depth of 10 mm, or one-third the depth of your length of wood. Take your smaller, thinner piece, measure and cut it so it covers the length of the area you’ve just grooved.
Align the two longer lengths of timber and, using a couple of 25 mm screws, attach the thinner piece onto the shorter length, ensuring it is aligned over the newly grooved area. This way, when you lay the two pieces on top of each other, the grooves and the newly attached thin piece will meet.
Next, lay the two lengths end to end with both the grooves and attached thin piece facing upwards and nearest each other. Connect the two lengths using a sturdy hinge so the thin piece of timber can close over and onto the grooved area.
Clamp, Cut And Squeeze
Depending on how much fruit you need to process, you may find it useful to clamp the longer, bottom piece to a table so the grooved area is protruding. And depending on your space and needs, you may even want to set up a permanent juicing area by screwing or bolting the squeezer to a benchtop.
Slice your fruit into halves and place a pot or bucket directly underneath the grooves. Place the fruit pulp-side down on the grooved area, before applying pressure with the top piece of timber and squeezing the juice into the receptacle below. You’ll be surprised how efficient, quiet and rewarding this can be for juicing large quantities of citrus.