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Thread: Distillation Vessels

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by thoth View Post
    Yea I think its really down to trying to find a local glassblower.
    Befriend a retired glassblower who would do this for pleasure. Ask locals. Look around.

    I have mine displayed, well, a photo of it, under Ora et labora section of My Profile. It doesn't have that pencil-sized beak either, which is a rather modern interpretation of an alembic head. Any tiny detail matters to the release of energy, and circulation of liquids, the physics of internal pressure and separation, the falling and rising of liquids, the natural cooling effect (of a longer beak), etc.

  2. #12
    I have found 2 new glassblowers in my country, but one of them a traditional one, don't work with scientific glass, the other does. The traditional is willing to try to make me the alembic with flask, for about 250, and the bend tube for 60. I don't know if i accept is offer or not, i'm afraid that the glass could break under a moderate heat during calcination, the other tube is not so big deal, since is not that expensive, and will not be subjected to high temperatures, only the flask that it will be attached.
    The other glassblower is a company that produce scientific glassware, but they completely mess my technical draws, it don't look like a alembic no more, i doubt they even know what an alembic is! But they price is not that high for a custom alembic and round bottom flask, about 350. Just for price comparison one company i use before with good results and decent prices, ask me 1700 to produce the same piece.

    What you guys think, can i risk using common glass for my alchemical glassware? Or is trow money on garbage?

  3. #13
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    Hi Draconisnova,

    I would not use anything other than borosilicate for the boiling flask, especially if using mantles, as it will almost certainly crack (buy cheap buy twice !), but if you can source boro boiling flask which should be easy enough, you could get away with non boro alembic.

    It interesting how much more efficient an alembic is over a retort. i think its basicly having as big a surface area as possible for the enclosed vapors to collide with and so condense, then just roll down the walls until the beads of water hit a rim which will direct them to the output spout.


    1700 euros is way over the top. Look at Neuberts alembics - around 250. They are in Germany.
    They may do custom stuff - I never asked, but they are top quality.

    Finding a local glassblower is like part of the quest

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by thoth View Post
    Hi Draconisnova,

    I would not use anything other than borosilicate for the boiling flask, especially if using mantles, as it will almost certainly crack (buy cheap buy twice !), but if you can source boro boiling flask which should be easy enough, you could get away with non boro alembic.

    It interesting how much more efficient an alembic is over a retort. i think its basicly having as big a surface area as possible for the enclosed vapors to collide with and so condense, then just roll down the walls until the beads of water hit a rim which will direct them to the output spout.


    1700 euros is way over the top. Look at Neuberts alembics - around 250. They are in Germany.
    They may do custom stuff - I never asked, but they are top quality.

    Finding a local glassblower is like part of the quest
    Hello Thoth,

    I put that option on the table as well, to make the boiling flask in boro, and the alembic in cheap glass. And this issue is delay my next GW. I think asking to this more traditional glassblower if he can reshape a 1000 ml glass flask for me, in fact the only thing he need to do is reshape the joint, i think it may be possible. I have found many videos on YouTube of glassblower fixing scientific glass.

    Well you need to consider what alembics and retorts should be used for, this two quotes from the Golden Chain of Homer will clarify.

    Most artists distill the vinegar in an alembic through the head, and in that way only the subtlest Spinitus * volatilie goes over together with the Phlegma. Some now use this for all works, while it is yet so weak that it easily proves its weakness when it is tasted on the tongue. It tastes like Phlegna, except that it still has a slight taste which testifies that it had retained something of the vinegar. Should they drive more strongly, however, that is through the retort, they obtain a stronger vinegar but stinking of oil and of a burnt smell.

    Furthermore, that the work of the philosophers is done in one vessel, is right. I myself have no more
    than one alembic, and for the sake of speed, at times a retort to lift the more fixed parts properly as they do not easily rise so high.


    In this two quotes you can clearly see, the proper uses of this two instruments, the alembic should be used to distill volatile matters, or to separate various volatile substances with low heat. Then of course this depends on various factors, and the type of Prima Materia you using.

    Then the retort should be used to extract what is left from the Terra Damnata, a retort is more efficient when you apply high degrees of heat, for ex. to extract oils since they don't need to raise so high, if they do they usually solidify.

    I have discover many important things in my path, by consider this important instructions. In fact you should have more then one alembic or retort, and you should try various sizes, and various degrees of heat.
    For ex. with an alembic i have successively distill matters using very low temperature, like our body heat, that i consider to be the secret fire of the philosophers, a fire that should be kept from the beginning to the end, for ex. if you consider the use of blood or urine.

    About Neubert, i have one alembic from them, it already pass many bad treatments in my hands, even pass trough calcination at high temperatures, and it resit. I'm very happy with their quality. But i want a alembic with a large joint, enough so i can fit my hand into it, i have enough of suffer to wash my glassware because narrow joints.

    Well i totally agree with you, finding a good glassware is not easy, i have few good experiments, others really bad, and i like to custom made everything, according to my needs and understanding of the alchemical path. I hope in future the 3D printing may solve my problems

    Cheers

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Draconisnova View Post
    I think asking to this more traditional glassblower if he can reshape a 1000 ml glass flask for me, in fact the only thing he need to do is reshape the joint, I think it may be possible.
    For what it's worth, my best recommendation is also to have a (Master) Glass Blower re-shape lab grade Boro vessels into the needed, more 'classical' configuration(s).

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconisnova View Post
    our body heat, that I consider to be the secret fire of the philosophers
    There are quite a few 'Fires' mentioned in Alchemical literature:

    Common Fire (self-explanatory)
    Natural Fire (possibly the Inner fire of Fermentation, like fermenting dung, not needing an external heat source)
    Fire Against Nature (up to each to interpret what it is)
    Secret Fire
    (possibly one of the previous two - or a different one)

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Draconisnova View Post
    Hello Thoth,
    Most artists distill the vinegar in an alembic through the head, and in that way only the subtlest Spinitus * volatilie goes over together with the Phlegma. Some now use this for all works, while it is yet so weak that it easily proves its weakness when it is tasted on the tongue. It tastes like Phlegna, except that it still has a slight taste which testifies that it had retained something of the vinegar. Should they drive more strongly, however, that is through the retort, they obtain a stronger vinegar but stinking of oil and of a burnt smell.

    Then the retort should be used to extract what is left from the Terra Damnata, a retort is more efficient when you apply high degrees of heat, for ex. to extract oils since they don't need to raise so high, if they do they usually solidify.

    For ex. with an alembic i have successively distill matters using very low temperature, like our body heat, that i consider to be the secret fire of the philosophers, a fire that should be kept from the beginning to the end, for ex. if you consider the use of blood or urine.

    Cheers
    Yes thats a good point. Its a bit like the way alcohol makers use a pot still for whiskey - flavours as many fusils & oils go over into reciever - similar to retort, while they use a reflux still for more neutral alcohols like vodka.

    I know what you mean about the alembics and extracting the residues. I am playing about with idea of using a very tall canning jar as an alembic. I would turn it upside down and drill a holeclose to bottom, using glass drill bit. Then make a circular rim with a narrow glass tubing just wide enough to just fit inside jar- easy to shape on domestic gass hob. Attach the glass rim just below hole, through which spirit would flow out.

    The tricky bit is finding a way to connect boiling flask to "alembic canning jar", with a tight fit, probably with a rubber or plastic gasket that could withstand heat.

    Was also looking at using a goldfish bowl as alembic. Yea I know there are a few details to be worked out

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krisztian View Post
    Gary Stadler of Scientific Glass also makes alembics based on older designs, if you're located in North America. I've made him make one that has much longer beak. Contact info: http://www.scientific-glass.com/contact.html



    Yes, those were my sentiments also. 45/50 is better than the traditional 24/40.
    If you are still around I've got a couple of questions about this: what are the measurements of the alembic head that the glass blowers from Scientific-Glass made for you, and how much did they charge you for it?



    You should also have put a ground glass joint on the tip of the side-arm of the alembic head, for easier connection to receiving flasks with ground glass joints.

  8. #18
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    Is there any reason why you should measure the temperature inside the flask? To get comparable results it is needed to measure on the very top, which in your case would be inside the Alembic helmet.

    This picture helped me a lot working with my apparatus, which is very similar to yours, JDP.

    I had problems with the ethanol vaporizing into the air and that picture (unfortunately I don't know from whom it is originally from) helped me a lot.


    I found out that for this setup it's way better to cool the receiver instead of the helmet. When you cool the helmet you still have the risk in losing pretty much ethanol.
    I don't cool the receiver like it is shown in the picture, instead I use a cooling mixture of salt and ice to cool down up to -40C. This is very easy to make and this way I found out, the old equipment is not as bad as some might think comparing to modern destilles with for example a Liebig-Cooler.

    This way for example I can distill a 40% ethanol/water mixture to 75%.

    Additional Info: I got my Alembic very very cheap comparing to your prices from here:

    http://www.lederkram.de/category.php?cat_ID=539

    They are in Germany but maybe they send to other countries too.
    Last edited by Florius Frammel; 08-29-2016 at 03:43 PM. Reason: Additional Info

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florius Frammel View Post
    Is there any reason why you should measure the temperature inside the flask? To get comparable results it is needed to measure on the very top, which in your case would be inside the Alembic helmet.

    This picture helped me a lot working with my apparatus, which is very similar to yours, JDP.

    I had problems with the ethanol vaporizing into the air and that picture (unfortunately I don't know from whom it is originally from) helped me a lot.


    I found out that for this setup it's way better to cool the receiver instead of the helmet. When you cool the helmet you still have the risk in losing pretty much ethanol.
    I don't cool the receiver like it is shown in the picture, instead I use a cooling mixture of salt and ice to cool down up to -40C. This is very easy to make and this way I found out, the old equipment is not as bad as some might think comparing to modern destilles with for example a Liebig-Cooler.

    This way for example I can distill a 40% ethanol/water mixture to 75%.

    Additional Info: I got my Alembic very very cheap comparing to your prices from here:

    http://www.lederkram.de/category.php?cat_ID=539

    They are in Germany but maybe they send to other countries too.
    The picture is of the alembic that Krisztian had built for him by the glass-blowers from Scientific-Glass. I was wondering how much did they charge him for the alembic head part (i.e. the piece that goes on top of the cucurbit and has a side-arm.) I would be interested in having one of these built with 45/50 ground glass joints: one to connect to the distilling flasks and the other to connect to the receiving flasks.

    The only disadvantage of the alembics in the link you posted is that they do not have ground glass joints. In this day and age one can take full advantage of this development for an easier and faster fitting. With the more old fashioned alembics offered in the German site you have to "lute" both the alembic head to the cucurbit and the receiving flask to the side-arm.

    For distilling things like alcohol you don't really need an alembic in this day and age. You can simply use the modern plain distilling flasks that chemists use:



    Simple rubber stoppers will do, since they are not attacked by alcohol vapors. Ground glass joints are only necessary when you are distilling substances which vapors damage rubber, like acetic acid, nitric acid, butter of antimony, etc.
    Last edited by JDP; 08-29-2016 at 07:47 PM.

  10. #20
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    I've had one of my Alembics (with ground glass joints) made by a local glassblower, by altering/modifying existing glassware.

    The Final Setup:



    The Glassblower at work:


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