This was the first time I had ever participated in the process of making sauerkraut (other than the olfactory participation that is unavoidable). Dad would slice up an entire head of cabbage using the old board fitted with three blades. The shredded cabbage would be dumped into the crock and sprinkled with salt.
By the time we were finished - the crock was full to within 2" of the top and the cabbage was covered by it's own juices. The cabbage is covered with a cake plate that sits down inside the crock held down by a heavy jug, packing the cabbage while allowing the liquid to flow over it.
Dad says it takes about 2 weeks for the fermentation process to be complete. Then, he will freeze it. Mom used to can the sauerkraut, but they have discovered they like it better with the fresher flavor of frozen kraut.