Freshly drawn apple juice is beneficial for drinking, cooking or making wine. When apples are pressed, the resulting unfiltered juice is known as cider. Any type of apple can be pressed (but large juicy varieties such as Red Delicious or Gala provide great flavor), but make sure they are firm, ripe and unbruised. You can build your own apple press with simple materials from the hardware store. Having a homemade apple press is particularly good for making beverages such as apple wine or hot apple cider.
Place four of the 5-by-7 pieces on the narrow sides, positioning them in a square shape. Bolt them at the corners with the carriage bolts.
Turn this "box" onto the widest side. Put one of the 5-by-7 pieces up against one of the sides, lining up the edges so it acts as one of the sides of the box. Do the same thing with the last 5-by-7 piece on the other side.
Lay one of the cutting boards over the middle of the 5-by-7 frame, directly in the center. Put the two loose 5-by-7 pieces on the edges to support the cutting board edges. Secure two screws through each end of the cutting board to attach it to the box edges.
Create small nicks with the tin snips along the entire edge of one side of the metal tray. The nicks need to be about 1/2 inch long and trail off the side of the tray. Once you are done it should resemble a comb texture. Line up the tray with the cutting board. This is used so that when an apple is pressed the juice will run off the comb edges into a bucket. Screw the metal tray at all four corners to the cutting board.
Add sliced apples to the cheesecloth bag and place it on the metal tray. Place the second cutting board on top of the bag. Line up the edges so it is even with the board underneath.
Turn the piston ram on the bottle jack counterclockwise to unscrew it. Place the handle (the piece that comes with the jack) into the pump shaft and pump up and down to raise the jack. Continue to pump it until it is high enough to fit over the top cutting board.
Find the valve (which contains the pressure of the hydraulic piston when locked), which is on the bottom of the jack and resembles a flattened screw. Use the bottle jack handle as a key to turn the valve clockwise until it is locked tight.
Put the bucket right underneath the metal tray nicks. Take the handle out of the pump shaft and place the tip into the valve. Crank the jack counterclockwise to lower it onto the apples tight, squeezing out all the juice to run into the bucket.