View Full Version : Still?

07-02-2009, 05:56 PM
What do people use for a still here; any suggestions? And ovens? In fact any complicated equipment?

07-02-2009, 07:39 PM
For a still you can use a big canning jar. Place a smaller glass with the liquid to be distilled inside and close. Then place it in the sunlight and it will slowly distil over. You can also use the same setup and heat it carefully in a waterbath till you get some condensation on the bottom of the lid then remove it from the waterbath and let it cool slowly (beware of breaking glass), this way you can distil off small amounts of liquid in small steps.

To calcine you can use a 'pyroflamtopf': one of those microwave dishes with a white bottom piece (ceramic?) and glass lid. You can place this on an electric hotplate, and IIRC add a few drops of distilled water carefully to help the calcination along. Or you can use a camping gas stove and a ceramic dish.


07-02-2009, 09:55 PM
Thanks Kerkring,

Very useful information. Any similar information will be gratefully recieved ;)


solomon levi
07-07-2009, 07:28 PM
I started distilling with a pressure cooker and plastic tubes.
Now I use the glass globes I've mentioned and ribbed stainless piping that
you can bend. You could use copper tubing instead.
I put my glass in water baths on an electric plate, or in a sand bath - just sand
in a stainless pot on electric plate (for higher temps than 100 degrees).
Sometimes, for lower temps/digestion, I fill a crock pot with sand and put the glass in.
You can leave these on all the time.
I bought a nice jacket condenser, but you know you can make these with any
tubing or piping coiled through a bucket of cold water.
An incubator is nice - a styrofoam cooler with a heat pad and a couple inches of sand.
Sometimes I use those small cup warmers - I find them at thrift stores for a couple $.
To calcine I use propane torches. You can get a large one at a hardware store for
50-60 $. It'll heat well over 1000 degrees. You can make an oven for it with bricks,
tile or clay. I have a feeling propane is not philosophic though - spagyric only.
For evaporating I just put stuff in the oven (about 200 degrees).
Or you can use those little candle powered fragrance/oil burners - you know,
they have a dish over the candle and you put a couple drops of oil into the water in the dish
and it vaporises the room... you can use it to evaporate to salt or whatever.

I've also made a distiller from pots at the thrift store... find a nice spaghetti size pot
and find a coffee cake thing, it's like a ring or doughnut... one that fits well inside of the
spaghetti pot (all stainless btw). Then find a lid or a glass bowl to cover. You can cut
gaskets from an inner tube... anyway, the distillate collects in the coffee cake thing.
If you can drill a hole somehow, you can tilt the whole thing and make it drip out into a receiver.
It takes a little ingenuity.

If you don't need to see what you're distilling, you can use those tea kettles that are just one
piece with no lid, just a hole to pour water in and out of, and fit a cork and piping to the hole.

07-08-2009, 03:34 AM
Thanks Sol',

You have sparked my mind with some great ideas. Just one thing...using metal piping in some of these processes - could this not contaminate your results?
I was wondering the same with using plastics as I have just mixed some stuff but was lacking a recepticle so I used a plastic bottle then I thought maybe chemicals from the plastic may leach into my mix.

What do you think?

I'm off to the thrift store as soon as I finish work today :)

solomon levi
07-08-2009, 07:00 PM
I'd be more concerned about plastic leeching than metal. I don't even
think it's safe to drink wine from "boxes" that have the plastic inside.

Then I think stainless is the safest of metals; the least reactive.

Of course, glass is ideal. But we're talking about scrappin' something
together, so...

I'm pretty happy with my glass globes and stainless piping.
Haven't notice any reacting like I've seen with copper.
Copper is just easiest to find. I'm trying to find more stainless ribbed
piping and am having a hard time. The hardware store says to check the auto store.

There's all kinds of cool glassware at thrift stores. Have fun!
Some of it will crack on you though. That's why I like the "Star" vinegar globes.
They don't crack and they cost about the same as what you'll
spend at a thrift store, plus you get vinegar.

07-09-2009, 03:25 AM
Several contemporary authors write that you should avoid using metallic equipment for distillation, though...

07-09-2009, 01:21 PM
Several contemporary authors write that you should avoid using metallic equipment for distillation, though...

Unfortunately, this may be a result of conservatism. There may or not be some reaction with the metal.
If you aren't getting results, change as little as possible. The reason for a lack of results may be from other things; bogus recipes, misunderstood chemicals, or incomplete processes.

I notice people keep repeating certain ideas without evidence.
For example, "don't collect dew off of metal surfaces", ie cars. Some vague supposed energy is destroyed/gounded out by touching metal. Or is it?

But Cars are really PLASTIC COATED metal surfaces. If a process doesn't work, it is almost impossible to troubleshoot the process, unless you can compare with a successful run.

Alcohol distillers use copper to remove sulfur compounds that effect the flavor. Does this make it useless? The insistence on "Canonical" Vitriol, Acids, etc, etc is the result of failure with industrial materials. If we understood what was going on, we could add back whatever was removed. Perhaps metals are "dead" because of the removal of contaminating amounts of Gold. Or is it Bioenergy? Or Ormes?

*** claimed that it didn't matter.if you used Industrial Sulfuric Hydrochloric acid in the "Volpierre" process, if you used dew later. He seems to claim success. I tend to think, he didn't succeed in the end anyway, but still believes its possible.

Still, the idea that using dew, makes it possible to use industrial materials is compelling. Its like finding the key under the street light after all!