First still = FREE still!

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desmo_2
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First still = FREE still!

Post by desmo_2 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:11 am

I was about to buy a Clawhammer Supply still that required assembly and was discussing it with a friend of mine. He said, "Don't buy one. I have one you can have." I was expecting a stainless pot with a worm, but heck no! He gave me this (I hope I have edited the image correctly):


It looks to be an Alchemade still, but I suspect it is an older one. He never got around to learning to use it, and got it from someone he knows who used it to make rum. I have already started cleaning it up using citric acid (info I learned here!), and found quite a bit of patina in the goose neck and worm, and the bottom of the pot is charred. Still, with a bit more work it will clean up nicely.

However, there are a couple of other things I am concerned about.
1) the thermometer hole is in the pot. I am reading (and seeing on new Alchemade stills) that the thermometer would be much more beneficial mounted in the onion head. Any suggestions on the best way to plug the old hole? And, how do I mount the thermometer once I drill a new one? The old hole had a rubber grommet to seal things up.

2) the connection from the goose neck to the worm...once I get them matched up, is paste enough to seal the connection?

3) the worm isn't wound perfectly and holds a bit of water. Not much...just a bit. If I roll the condenser around on its base a bit more water will spill out of the worm. Is this a concern? It seems to me the hearts will push out the heads, and the tails will push out the hearts.

4) There is no water inlet or outlet for the condenser. Not a big deal, I suppose, as the box of goods this all came with contained a small fountain pump and tubing, which I can use to circulate cooling water.

I am a complete noob and am still completely in the learning phase. I have quite a while to go before I start a real run, but just happened to stumble upon a still already.
Any coaching is MUCH appreciated!
Last edited by desmo_2 on Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Copperhead road
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Re: First still = FREE still!

Post by Copperhead road » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:22 am

Wow that’s awesome,,,,

Is it quite heavy duty or is it thin flimsy copper in the pot?

It looks like its heavy gauge Copper

A temperature gauge on a pot still is a waste of time in my opinion
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still_stirrin
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Re: First still = FREE still!

Post by still_stirrin » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:50 am

Well, it’s copper. So you can get a threaded adapter and solder it into the swan neck if you want a thermometer there. But, it won’t help you run the potstill. The thermometer in the liquid will tell you progress of the heat up, but not how it’s running, as Copperhead Road advised. In fact, it would be better to tape over the dial on the gage and learn to run the still without a thermometer anyway.

As for the flake stand, it too is copper, so you could easily drill and solder an inlet into the bottom to attach a hose to and one near the top as well for the outlet. That way you’d have a place for the hose connection that runs from your reservoir pump. Judging by the size of the flake, you’ll need to turn over the water a couple of times during a run.

Finally, make sure the worm is a steady downhill spiral. You don’t want “puddles of distillate” collecting in the worm as that can and will cause dangerous pressure build up inside the boiler.

Keep reading and be safe, responsible, and discrete.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
My LM/VM & Potstill: My build thread
My Cadco hotplate modification thread: Hotplate Build
My stock pot gin still: stock pot potstill
My 5-grain Bourbon recipe: Special K

tombombadil
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Re: First still = FREE still!

Post by tombombadil » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:09 am

Man, that's a good friend! Have you got anything fermenting yet?

desmo_2
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Re: First still = FREE still!

Post by desmo_2 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:12 am

tombombadil wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:09 am
Have you got anything fermenting yet?
Alas, no. I am not schooled up enough, yet. I have more research to do.

I believe I will add a water inlet and outlet. That will make it so much easier to run, I think.

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still_stirrin
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Re: First still = FREE still!

Post by still_stirrin » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:30 am

Desmo,

Have a look at Rad’s All Bran recipe in the Tried & True Recipe forum. It’s a good ferment and clean and quick to make. A good neutral recipe too. The bran flakes buffer the pH and provide plenty of nutrients for the yeast.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
My LM/VM & Potstill: My build thread
My Cadco hotplate modification thread: Hotplate Build
My stock pot gin still: stock pot potstill
My 5-grain Bourbon recipe: Special K

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Durhommer
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Re: First still = FREE still!

Post by Durhommer » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:36 am

Nice free rig and ss is right about the all bran recipe.after time on oak it turns into a pretty good drink!
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cranky
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Re: First still = FREE still!

Post by cranky » Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:30 am

Nice score :thumbup:

Like the others I wouldn't bother with the thermometer, don't even look at it.

As far as the flake stand (worm) I'm personally not a fan because it's hard not to have low spots in them which will tend to hold liquid and cause corrosion problems. It's pretty but personally I'd replace it with a liebig.

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