I’m all for saving a few bucks. And anything to get me out in the shop making something.

Often, my wife shows me a picture of something and that’s all it takes.

I’m on a mission to make it myself. Better. Cheaper.

We have the technology.

Insert image here of the radar screen, rocket crashing and putting that little ball-thingy in the ear of the six-million-dollar man.

Maybe Steve was able to fight bigfoot not only because of the bionic-action arm, but because he ate tofu?

Nah.

Well, we’re eatin’ some tofu here. And apparently it’s all watery and stuff. So you have to press out the water.

And I can’t find a bigfoot to just stomp it out for me.

Making a Tofu Press

So the tofu we buy is a block about 4”x5” and maybe 2-something inches high.

The design needs to be large enough to hold a single block, put some continuous pressure as the tofu is pressed and able to be cleaned easily when you’re done.

I spent about $20 for the parts below. You can do it for under $15 if you get lucky at the dollar store with cutting boards. More on that later.

Here’s the parts list:

  • 2 small, rigid, cutting boards from the dollar store ($1 each); or
    1 large cutting board (Wal-mart: $8) you can cut down
  • 2 Stainless steel carriage bolts, 1/4” x 5” long ($3)
  • 2 Stainless steel 1/4” nuts ($1)
  • 6 Stainless steel 1/4” washers – large (sometimes called a fender washer) ($2)
  • 2 compression springs, about 2 1/2” long ($3)
  • 2 compression springs, about 1 1/2” long, with a stiffer spring rate than above springs ($1 for both at surplus store, you might pay $3)
  • 2 threaded knobs or some wingnuts for the 1/4” bolts ($1 ea. for knobs, or $1 for both wingnuts)

Tools:

  • 1/4” Drill bit
  • 5/8” Paddle Bit (sometimes called a wood spade bit)
  • 7/16” wrench or adjustable wrench

If you have to cut down a larger cutting board then you’ll also need:

  • Band saw, jig saw or hand saw
  • Router with 1/8” roundover bit; or sandpaper

The Cutting Board

Since I tried to do this a cheap as possible, I raided my nearest dollar store first. I thought I could pick up two small cutting boards that would work perfectly. They had small cutting boards, about 6” x 9”, but they were a little flimsy. I hucked it down to wally world and found a nice Mainstays (Wal Mart brand) cutting board that was really rigid, and I could easily cut two pieces out of its 10” x 15” size to make the top and bottom. I don’t remember the part number. Just buy one that will yield two 5.25”x9” pieces once cut down. If in doubt, fill the cart with options and walk over to the home section and use a measuring tape. Then leave all the options you don’t want on a shelf somewhere.

Oh, and you could get all crafty and matchy and maybe find a bamboo cutting board or some color of your choice. They’d work just the same.

Step-by-step DIY Tofu Press

 I cut down this board to two 5.25”x9” pieces using my band saw. You could use a jig saw, just about any hand saw or find Steve Austin to break it in half with his bionic grip.

I cut down this board to two 5.25”x9” pieces using my band saw. You could use a jig saw, just about any hand saw or find Steve Austin to break it in half with his bionic grip.

 I taped up the two pieces to sand the edges. I also rounded the corners to match the existing radius seen in the bottom left corner of the photo.

I taped up the two pieces to sand the edges. I also rounded the corners to match the existing radius seen in the bottom left corner of the photo.

Using a 1/8” round over bit in my laminate trimmer, I rounded the edges that were cut and sanded to match the profile on the factory edges of the cutting board. You could easily just use a hand sander or some sandpaper to knock the edges down, but that wouldn’t be nearly as fun as using a power tool.

Using a 1/8” round over bit in my laminate trimmer, I rounded the edges that were cut and sanded to match the profile on the factory edges of the cutting board. You could easily just use a hand sander or some sandpaper to knock the edges down, but that wouldn’t be nearly as fun as using a power tool.

Edges looking good.

Edges looking good.

I placed a mark, centered and about 1” in from the edge on each side, to drill from the bolt/spring assemblies. Using a spring-loaded center punch, I made a little divot so my drill bit wouldn’t wander.

I placed a mark, centered and about 1” in from the edge on each side, to drill from the bolt/spring assemblies. Using a spring-loaded center punch, I made a little divot so my drill bit wouldn’t wander.

On the BOTTOM of ONE of the boards, I drilled about 1/8” into the board using a spade bit. This will allow the carriage bolt to be countersunk and sit flush with the bottom. Then drill a ¼” hole all the way through both boards on both sides.

On the BOTTOM of ONE of the boards, I drilled about 1/8” into the board using a spade bit. This will allow the carriage bolt to be countersunk and sit flush with the bottom. Then drill a ¼” hole all the way through both boards on both sides.

Here’s some of the materials I’m using for the spring mechanism. I tried to use stainless steel where possible since it will be washed as one piece. I couldn’t find the compression springs in stainless locally. You can always sub wing nuts for the fancy knobs if you can’t find them.

Here’s some of the materials I’m using for the spring mechanism. I tried to use stainless steel where possible since it will be washed as one piece. I couldn’t find the compression springs in stainless locally. You can always sub wing nuts for the fancy knobs if you can’t find them.

Assembly was straightforward, just reference the photo, and make sure to put the stiffer compression springs on the top by the knobs—that will allow for constant pressure as water is squeezed out of the tofu.

Assembly was straightforward, just reference the photo, and make sure to put the stiffer compression springs on the top by the knobs—that will allow for constant pressure as water is squeezed out of the tofu.

All ready to make some flavorless vegan dish. Kidding. Really. Don’t comment about vegan stuff. I’m not bashing.

All ready to make some flavorless vegan dish. Kidding. Really. Don’t comment about vegan stuff. I’m not bashing.

So… DIY tofu press. I saved a few bucks. If I keep going like this I might be able to save up 6 million dollars and get my own bionics…or finally find bigfoot.

What have you made from a picture. Or for the kitchen. Or anything. Anything you made. Or if you’ve seen bigfoot. Comment and let us know.



dadand-tofu-press



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