My cheese pal, David, who lives in Manitoba, Canada has kindly offered to share the instructions on how to make the cheese curd cutter that he made me.
It was his way of saying thank you for all the cheese making video tutorial that I have made over the last few years. What a nice bloke!
Anyway, here are his instructions, to which I have added metric measurements.
Making Your Own Curd Cutter
|Curd Cutter made for a 8 litre (2 gallon) pot.|
David’s note: I have made 3 harps, one stainless steel and two from wood. The best one is shown here I will describe how I made this one.
The height of the curd cutter is the depth of your cheese making pot PLUS about 4 inches (100 mm). The width of the harp is half of the diameter of your cheese making pot. So, if your pot is 10 inches (254 mm) deep and 10 inches across, your harp wants to be 14 inches (355 mm) high and 5 inches (127 mm) wide.
Use a hard close-grained wood such as maple. Cut two pieces approx 5/8 inch (16 mm) wide x 3/16 (5 mm) thick x your desired total height. Mark off the max depth of your pot. Draw a centre line down the length of that part of the wood that will be in the pot.
Drill a 3/16 (5 mm)hole at the end but leaving enough wood at the end so as not to be too weak and to hold a 3/16 dowel. Then mark off every ½ inch (13 mm) to about 1 inch (25.4 mm) above your curd depth. Drill 1/16 (1.5 mm) holes at every mark. Drill one hole in the middle at 3/16 (5 mm) for a second re-enforcing dowel. See photo.
Cut 2 pieces for the handles 25mm x 16mm (1 inch x 5/8 x the half the diameter of your pot MINUS 3/8 inch) 10mm. Cut two pieces of 5mm (3/16 inch) dowel x half the diameter of your pot.
Mix up some 2-part epoxy glue and glue the wooden parts together. Use a clamp or an elastic band to hold the handle end in place while the glue sets.
Lay it on wax paper on a flat surface and make sure the long side pieces are parallel. When the glue has dried, some very small round-headed screws (eg ½ inch x 1/16) into the handle pieces will give added strength.
Pre-drill the screw holes to avoid splitting the wood. You can just see these screws on the bottom of the photo.
Thoroughly sand everything down and while doing it round off the end and all the corners. Pay particular attention to the long pieces that will be in the curd as these will in effect be cutting as well.
Now thread nylon fishing line back and forth through the holes. Tie off at the bottom and, working from
bottom to top, pull tight and finally tie off at the top. Use fisherman’s non-slip knots.
Mix a quantity of 2-part epoxy glue and thin it down with a little methyl hydrate (alcohol) and brush it all over. If you can get the glue to fill the holes where the nylon line goes through, that is good because it will prevent pieces of curd getting stuck in there. When it is dry, very lightly sand down the
wood with very fine sandpaper (eg 400 grit) – be careful not to sand the nylon – and give it a second coat. The glue will seal the knots in the nylon and help to prevent them coming undone.
Note: 2-part epoxy is usually considered ‘food safe’ though no guarantees are implied here with your brand of epoxy.
Gavin’s note: David does not take orders, which is why he gave me permission to post these instructions so that you can make your own curd cutter.
I have used this curd cutter many times now, and David even sent me on for my 14 litre pot, which is a little larger. To clean it before and after use, I wash it with a weak bleach solution (1 capful to 1 litre of water) then rinse again with clean water afterwards.
It is a great tool, worthy of construction and use by the home cheese maker.
Best of luck with your construction project.