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Dos Tortilla Presses

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Project by Mosier posted 11-02-2015 03:08 AM 1232 views 9 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As a lover of all Latin cuisines, I decided I needed a tortilla press and why buy one when I thought I could make one. The first one I made was made out of Red Oak and Maple from my local BORG. I was happy with how it came out but as with all new projects, there were a lot of things that I thought I could do better with another crack at it.

My mom dropped by and was having a lot of fun playing with my tortilla press so it gave me an idea to make her one of her upcoming birthday. Since this was a gift, I wanted it to really pop and went to my local specialty wood shop and picked up some Wenge and Curly Maple. I made hers a bit wider than mine to accommodate slightly bigger tortillas and added a few other extras. Easily the biggest improvement was adding the angled feet that allow the top masher to open but rest at an angle. I didn’t think to put them on my press and the top goes all the way to the counter which means I need more space and the hinges pop up and push the center of the press up. The angled feet take care of that nicely. The other “improvement” was adding a finger groove to the top to help make opening it easier. This was my first time using my router table to add a groove like this and of course the first test piece came out perfect and then I totally mangled my nice top. I still have no idea what caused it to wander and come out as bad as it did but luckily I’m giving this to my mom and we all know that mom’s love anything handmade from their kids, no matter how screwed up it gets. The last upgrade was purely decorative. I had a beautiful tortilla press all built so why not take a chance to royally screw it up by trying an inlay for the first time? Luckily, this came out beautifully. My mom loves honey bees so I used some of the Wenge as the body and some Bocote for the wings because the grain reminds me of insect wings. I used a Dremel and a Stew-Mac router base to carve out the inlay and cut the pieces with a jig saw mounted upside down in a box. I definitely need a scroll saw if I keep doing inlays but luckily managed to keep all my fingers using my improvised one. I’m super happy with how my second one came out and already have some ideas for my next one.

Thanks!





7 comments so far

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3362 days


#1 posted 11-02-2015 03:32 AM

Those are really nice! The inlay is a real nice added touch for your Mom. I think she will very much enjoy using the press.

Thanks for sharing!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Hawaiilad's profile

Hawaiilad

2896 posts in 2487 days


#2 posted 11-02-2015 03:42 AM

Very nice

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View Tom Canales's profile

Tom Canales

34 posts in 2058 days


#3 posted 11-02-2015 03:06 PM

Clever idea, nicely executed. How do you keep the masa from sticking to the wood?

-- I used to be indecisive, now I’m not so sure

View Northwest29's profile

Northwest29

1503 posts in 1956 days


#4 posted 11-02-2015 04:20 PM

Very cool – might have to try making one of these myself. Thanks for sharing.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View Mosier's profile

Mosier

4 posts in 441 days


#5 posted 11-02-2015 05:55 PM

Thanks Tom. To keep the masa from sticking you need some form of plastic. In Mexico, they often use a thin plastic bag from the store. In the US, the most common ways are either plastic wrap or my preference is to cut the top and one side off a 1 gallon ziplock freezer bag. This heavy plastic seems to work well and keeps over time so I just leave it in the press so it’s ready to go when I want to make tortillas.


Clever idea, nicely executed. How do you keep the masa from sticking to the wood?

- Tom Canales


View majuvla's profile (online now)

majuvla

9155 posts in 2334 days


#6 posted 11-02-2015 06:07 PM

Realy beautiful and useful project! This insect looks nice.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Sammo's profile

Sammo

77 posts in 1136 days


#7 posted 11-03-2015 12:59 AM

Nice work!

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