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  • Just wondering about all timber tampers

    Good afternoon all

    I have read a few threads about timber tampers, but most are a couple of years old

    Is there any hygeine reasons for not using an all timber tamper? I cannot wait to be able to upgrade to a tamper the fits my basket like a glove, but for the next little while my only coffee purchases will be beans

    So in the intrim I was thinking - I have a lathe(well a non working lathe at the moment but hopefully it will be soon), I have timber, lets possibly try this!!
    If I go down this path, I would most likely give it a proper finish - is their anything against this or is is recommended?

    I guess the other option would be that if metal was cheap enough I could try to make a proper base. Is stainless the only type of metal that should be used?

    Thanks


  • #2
    Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

    hi Shannon....
    i cant see any problem with close grain (mature hardwood) timber for tampers; even naturally (slowly) grown mature pine variations should be ok... eventually some coffee oils could penetrate the timbe, but again, the tighter the grain, the less the penetration.
    metal has the advantage of giving you some weight as well, hence probably stainless in favour of aluminium; there is a thread somewhere describing a brass tamper, and it was a solid chunk of brass too!
    plastic is also an option... most grinder-attached tampers are made from some form of plastic.
    have fun!!

    L

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

      In the commercial world there would be hygiene reasons, Shannon. We arent supposed to have any timber in our kitchens at all due to bacteria being held in the grain.

      Kind of ironic in a way because I know of someone who has done a thesis on bacteria on timber and they found that the timber had less bacteria than plastic. In fact, (dont quote me on this) I think that there was something about the natural qualities of timber combating bad bacteria.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

        Originally posted by scoota gal link=1206164027/0#2 date=1206186811
        Kind of ironic in a way because I know of someone who has done a thesis on bacteria on timber and they found that the timber had less bacteria than plastic. In fact, (dont quote me on this) I think that there was something about the natural qualities of timber combating bad bacteria.
        Yep, remember reading an article about using timber cutting boards with fresh meat..... the residual bacteria was far lower than on the equivalent hard plastic ones (which I always use :)....

        They grew cultures from swabs taken off both types of boards and the wooden one was very much lower.... and they put it down to the natural bactericides in the timber.

        They also took swabs from various surfaces in various rooms of a typical home..... the kitchen (especially the bench) was the worst..... and the toilet area was by far the best. They concluded that the bench just gets wiped down with a cloth after doing the dishes - just spreading the bacteria around..... whereas the toilet is cleaned with products which destroy bacteria....

        So the safest food preparation area must be a wooden toilet seat ;D ;D ;D ;D

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

          Originally posted by scoota gal link=1206164027/0#2 date=1206186811
          In the commercial world there would be hygiene reasons, Shannon. We arent supposed to have any timber in our kitchens at all due to bacteria being held in the grain.

          Kind of ironic in a way because I know of someone who has done a thesis on bacteria on timber and they found that the timber had less bacteria than plastic. In fact, (dont quote me on this) I think that there was something about the natural qualities of timber combating bad bacteria.
          Scoota, thats changed again. A lot of TAFE colleges are tossing the "bacteria laden" plastic chopping boards, and getting wooden ones, due to woods antibacterial qualities.

          Shannon, the big problem that I would see with a wooden tamper would be its lack of weight. I think there is a thread here somewhere where someone embedded a huge metal screw in their tamper to weigh it down. But if you want a new tamper and you want to try the lathe out, give it a go.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

            why would the weight of the tamper be a concern?
            afterall we are pushing down on it so once we apply force the tamper is just transferring that to the puck.
            I would think rigidity would be most important, as flexing on the tamping face would damage the puck

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

              Good point Sunbeamer.
              I weigh a little bit more than 100kg so tamping force is no problem for me.

              I think the issue with weight could be a little to do with balance.
              The weight is at the coalface with a Pullman tamper but a wooden one would have the weight relatively evenly dispersed.

              A Pullman tamper almost starts to tamp by itself because the weight is at the business end and its balanced that way.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

                Originally posted by JavaB link=1206164027/0#3 date=1206187809
                So the safest food preparation area must be a wooden toilet seat ;D ;D ;D ;D
                I must remember that! ;D

                Viviane, Im kind of glad to hear that. The plastic boards are a problem in our business, IMO, you can never seem to wash them enough or properly. Not to mention plastics unnatural qualities anyway... :

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

                  Originally posted by Shannon link=1206164027/0#0 date=1206164027
                  I have read a few threads about timber tampers, but most are a couple of years old
                  This chap makes nothing but wooden tampers, if youre looking for a few ideas Shannon. Also, dont see why you couldnt make the tamper in two pieces, hollow out the base and then fill the hollow up with something heavy. Guess theres lots of ways that this could be done.....

                  Mal.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

                    The name of those tampers has always appealed to me but I decided the local product looked and worked better.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

                      Thanks for all the replies guys

                      I think I might give it a go once I have fixed the lathe.
                      Mal those thor tampers look really good (imo though still not as good as our local sponsor though) this is the sort of thing I will be aiming at.
                      Whilst I would love to create it in 2 pieces and wight it, at this stage my skills would probably let me down trying this :-[ I will file it in the grey matter though as something to try down the track. Mainly this is just a cheap stopgap for a while to try and help on the journey of better coffee. Ultimately when funds allow I will still be ordering a pullman me thinks.

                      Thanks again.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

                        Originally posted by Shannon link=1206164027/0#10 date=1206306256
                        Mal those thor tampers look really good (imo though still not as good as our local sponsor though)
                        I wholeheartedly agree Shannon.... when it comes right down to it I havent seen or tried another tamper that measures up to the Pullman, after all, they are precision instruments 8-)....

                        Cheers mate and have fun with the lathe ,
                        Mal.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

                          Originally posted by Shannon link=1206164027/0#0 date=1206164027
                          Good afternoon all

                          I have read a few threads about timber tampers, but most are a couple of years old

                          Is there any hygeine reasons for not using an all timber tamper? I cannot wait to be able to upgrade to a tamper the fits my basket like a glove, but for the next little while my only coffee purchases will be beans

                          So in the intrim I was thinking - I have a lathe(well a non working lathe at the moment but hopefully it will be soon), I have timber, lets possibly try this!!
                          If I go down this path, I would most likely give it a proper finish - is their anything against this or is is recommended?

                          I guess the other option would be that if metal was cheap enough I could try to make a proper base. Is stainless the only type of metal that should be used?

                          Thanks
                          Hi Shannon,

                          Some of the others have addressed some of this already. Back in the dark ages I went through these options and settled on stainless for the base and wood for the handle. My reasons against the other alternatives are at http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/why.html but as far as timber specifically - timber of any type is porous in some way; as Lizzi said, how porous depends on the type of timber and how its been cut, but were talking degrees here not absolutes. That has hygiene implications - how much is anyones guess, but its not something I really wanted to have to worry about. Then theres the weight factor, something wood doesnt tend to have so you have to artificially weight it (e.g. the Thor Hammer). Theres also the fact that it can chip with time, and also the surface is never going to be as smooth as metal so it doesnt polish as well. They can sure look fancy, some of Les work is magnificent and its perfect for the handle - I just dont think woods the best choice for the base.

                          As far as other metals rather than stainless, almost anything else readily available (brass, copper, aluminium etc) is easier to work with than stainless, because its softer so you get more dents, and they tend not to be stainless so it tarnishes over time. They sure look fancy in photos but invariably the photos you see are of nice shiny units about 5 minutes after theyve been made before theyve had time to tarnish; my experience with brass and copper is that if you cut a piece of material and polish half of it 24 hours later you can see the difference - a few days and a few fingerprints on you can see the difference without even having to compare with a new piece (think of the old 1c and 2c coins - look fancy when theyre new but pretty ordinary when theyre a year old). They were things I didnt think were particularly appealing qualities for a product thats in for the long haul.

                          Does that mean no to your question? No. In my view stainless is the best option, but a properly fitted wooden tamper will still do a better job than whatever youre using at the moment. Just get the base as smooth as you can so it polishes the puck rather than ripping it. The same applies to a base of any other metal, so long as you accept the hardness limitations and the fact it wont stay looking as nice. I try to provide a tamper thats the best for the job that it can be, but thats not to say the alternatives are completely useless for the job - they may not go the same distance or be as good for the job while theyre going but if theyre made well theyre still better than an undersized plastic factory tamper.

                          Greg

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

                            Make one yourself and youll thank yourself for it. I didi...Check this link out. I made it for my Gaggia, and ironically it also fits my VBM! Oh and it fits perfectly and works a treat!

                            http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1179883373/18#18

                            Javabeen.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Just wondering about all timber tampers

                              Heres a piccie of my tamper, turned it from a piece of redgum & finished in ubeaut EEE & shellawax.

                              Agree that you need a nice shiny finish on the underside, to polish the puck.

                              Good to have one that fits the PF well.


                              Cheers.................Sean

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