Whole Leaf Tobacco

Cavendish and Plugs

smoknron

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Thanks guys. I really like how Bob's uses his 2 x 6 wood leverage jack. It's a simple way do press tobacco but you can weigh the amount of water or what ever you use as weight on a scale and you can figure out the applied pressure on the piston too for consistency. The way I'm doing it, I have a feel for what I apply the pressure to the handle of the bottle jack but that's not consistent. I don't put a lot of pressure on it like you would lift the corner of a car to change a tire. But with my press I'm guessing really. Maybe I can figure out a way to rig something up, it would be nice to record the numbers to at least be more accurate. I'm thinking there's a way to adapt a gauge and convert the numbers from psi to lbs. I do have torque wrench also :unsure:
 

smoknron

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After the day of drying the flakes are completely delaminating. Every layer of oriental has separated.
This is the first plug I have made that is doing this. It's also the first plug I've made with oriental in it.
I think next round will just be Virginia and latakia
I found that by spraying a little distilled water on the leaf before pressing helps a lot. The sugars in the Virginias will make it stick like glue. Just try not to spray too much on it or you'll get goop dripping out of it. Sometimes that happens and sometimes not but it depends on the pressure,, and the temperature too, hope that helps.
Instead of tobacco, press your bathroom scale to a similar degree. That gives you the pounds. Divide that by the top surface area of your tobacco pressing container (in square inches) to get psi.

Bob
That's a good idea Bob, thanks. I'll get this press dialed in eventually. ron
 

smoknron

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I decided to use one of the two Instapots my wife daughter use. Since it was the first time that I used it, I guess maybe the steam setting wasn't a good choice to try making cavendish. I thought there was pressure too when it was steaming, but I could be wrong. I should have searched on how it's used. It took a very long time to get the leaf to darken up, and I decided that I like the ol pressure cooker even though I have to keep an eye on it. I pressed 50% Virginia red black cavendish, and Virginia red (flue cured) in the first picture, into a plug long enough for it to be fairly dense, but not like it would be for 24 hours. After about 6 hours pressed, I cut it up like you can see in the third picture. I'll let it sit until tomorrow and then make into to a shred. That little bit you see below it in the same picture, that's what I smoked and I'm pleased with it. I would like to be able to describe the flavors, I just can't figure it out, but it's a semi sweet, to sweet flavor that's really wonderful. Tonight I'm going to try a little bit more and search (my brain) for a better description :unsure: I think it will be better with some age, but if it stayed the way it is now I'd be ok with that. Another hour to go in the pressure cooker for a little more cavendish. I'm baby sitting the pot outside by the garage I'll snap a couple of pictures to post when I get it out of the pot. Ok, here's the next batch from the pressure cooker and hot ! Virginia red flue cured. I'll make up some more blends with this batch.
 

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smoknron

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As a General question to Bob and everyone else, when it comes to materials to make the forms what is a good and safe? I want to use wood and am not sure which varieties are safe and toxin free. I have no skill with fabricating metal otherwise i would use stainless or some such.
I should have said, and I might have forgotten to answer you on this, but the steel "form" I use for pressing tobacco leaf, is a 1020 grade, low carbon steel. Yes stainless steel is the best way to go, and I'll probably make one, but for now I use plastic, kind of like a credit card liner to keep the tobacco from touching the steel except for on the ends where it does touch, but can be easily remedied, but I haven't had any metallic taste in any of the tobacco plugs I've made and doesn't seem to be a problem. I've also used cardboard, just plain cardboard to keep the tobacco from touching metal without any problems. When I first started pressing tobacco I used hard Maple wood for my first form, and it worked well. I also lined that hardwood form with plastic, and now that I'm thinking about, I also used cardboard with the plastic as well. I've seen some really well made forms made of wood on some searching I've done on the internet. Mine was made so that the top and bottom were removable and I used a simple C-clamp to apply the pressure. Eventually I used that form on my steel press, but after a while, and using a bottle jack, the hardwood form didn't hold up well. I'm not exactly sure on which type of wood to use but I'm sure the answer is here in the forums, maybe you can search that or somebody knows what type. You can also use a bench mounted vise if it opens enough to accept a wood form. There are other ways to press tobacco too like using a piece of stainless steel pipe maybe 2" or 3" diameter and about 5"L then you can use a 6" or 8" c-clamp to press it with. If you look back in this thread, Bob uses leverage with a 2 x 6 board which is a great way to press tobacco. Also you can be more consistent with the pressure because you can use a jug filled with water half way, 3/4ths or however much you decide to use as weight. With a bottle jack, like I use, it's not consistent applying the pressure, but it works. I can't apply the same pressure every time, I can only try unless I adapt a gauge or scale which would be a good idea. Hope this helps.
 

Davo

Ahi Ka - Well-Known Member
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Not quite cavendish nor a plug, but enough of both to merit posting.

this is straight homegrown burley from last season. I air cured it and then removed stems before rolling into loose sausages and packed away in jars for 8months (I didn’t have a kiln).

I then added equal weight of water to tobacco to each jar and then placed in slow cooker for a day on low - roughly 190f.

I unrolled leaf to dry. Unfortunately it went out of case, so I had to place it back in a sealed bag with a wet paper towel for a day and this returned it to low-medium case.

I then pressed for 24 hours and it has the consistency of a crumble cake, however since it is made with threshed leaf instead of ribbon it doesn’t crumble as much. I’m not worried as I was always intending to slice it.

upon opening there was a slight tangy smell, which was not present in the leaf prior to pressing.

prior to pressing, the smoke was wonderful, earthy and malty with a cigar like floral vibe. Now it is perfect. It is exactly what I want as a daily smoke. It has lost the cigar vibe, and reminds me a lot of haunted bookshop. Which I find fascinating as there is zero bright leaf or perique blended in. I’m in heaven.

11733CCE-DF30-42D0-8B69-34E92F6B5906.jpeg
 

smoknron

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Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
59
Points
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Location
Florida
My box is double walled oak and I can make 2 different sizes of plug. I use a 4 ton jack until I'm afraid my frame is going to explode. I use parchment.

Yeah, the first one I made kind of split apart after a while, but I got to make a few plugs from it. The one you made looks stronger than the one I had. I used maple but it was only 3/4" thick so I only made the form about 3" x 5" , I forget exactly.
 
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smoknron

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
59
Points
33
Location
Florida
Not quite cavendish nor a plug, but enough of both to merit posting.

this is straight homegrown burley from last season. I air cured it and then removed stems before rolling into loose sausages and packed away in jars for 8months (I didn’t have a kiln).

I then added equal weight of water to tobacco to each jar and then placed in slow cooker for a day on low - roughly 190f.

I unrolled leaf to dry. Unfortunately it went out of case, so I had to place it back in a sealed bag with a wet paper towel for a day and this returned it to low-medium case.

I then pressed for 24 hours and it has the consistency of a crumble cake, however since it is made with threshed leaf instead of ribbon it doesn’t crumble as much. I’m not worried as I was always intending to slice it.

upon opening there was a slight tangy smell, which was not present in the leaf prior to pressing.

prior to pressing, the smoke was wonderful, earthy and malty with a cigar like floral vibe. Now it is perfect. It is exactly what I want as a daily smoke. It has lost the cigar vibe, and reminds me a lot of haunted bookshop. Which I find fascinating as there is zero bright leaf or perique blended in. I’m in heaven.

View attachment 35855
Nice.. I know what your saying about the flavors. I'm surprised sometimes when I go to smoke something I've made, and expect it to be a certain flavor or taste, and it's a little different I love it. Yeah that's some of the benefits of using your own leaf or whole leaf right? Which burley strain is that ?
 

Davo

Ahi Ka - Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
314
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Location
Aotearoa
I’m not sure of the strain as I purchased it from a local classifieds site and was just marked “burley”. I am growing it alongside some other burley varieties this year for comparison
 
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