Most helpful critical review
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Works, if you do it right
on March 1, 2014
First, this product does work, but is a two person operation. It requires a lot of arm strength and must be worked continuously or it will seize up and you will have a devil of a time getting it unstuck jockeying the crank back and forth. This implies one person cranking while the other person's arm recovers.
I bought a small cutting table and mounted it on that using two bolts. Our very first try was with an old bucket of very dry pumpkin and squash seeds. It soon became apparent that the table was not heavy enough. My wife had to sit on the table while she kept the supply of seeds going with a chopstick. Also we had to tape the funnel to the Piteba or it would tip over. It became immediately apparent that I really should have mounted that vertical piece of wood to fix the Piteba body securely.
Our very first try was with an old bucket of very dry pumpkin and squash seeds. Pumpkin seeds are difficult to crank and NOT very productive, but we did get some dark green oil. The press-cake was driven into the reducing cap with such force that when I took it apart to clean, the press cake in the reducer was a hard, solid mass. I attacked it with a drill and screwdriver, then finally in frustration dunked the reducer in water for a half hour. The dunking loosened the press cake and now its all clean again. Next time I'll do something easier, like sesame seeds or peanuts.
The top of the bottle that holds the lamp oil does not screw on, but just sits loosely on top. This is a safety issue, and a real danger if your table shakes around like mine did. Also, the wick it came with didn't fit in the hole in the lid. I had to ream the hole out to fit a standard lamp wick.
The flame sits too close to the Piteba body and copious amounts of soot are produced, indicating very inefficient combustion. Don't do this indoors without really, really good ventilation or your room will smell like lamp oil. You never will clean all the soot off the body of the press.
With the exception of the dreadful design of the lamp, there is really nothing wrong with this unit. I feel compelled to give it only three stars however because of the unsafe lamp design. I will be looking for another bottle, same diameter but a bit shorter, in the craft stores. I'll drill a hole in the lid for the wick and use the shorter bottle instead.