I haven’t written a blog in a while. I have been wanting to do a blog, initially I said every two days. Like a business diary. A place for me to just talk about distilling and stills. To vent and relax. Connect with home distilling lovers. I have just been waiting on professional photos and a video, and well, I have been so busy, too. I might as well write something about what I have been doing with the business. Until these videos and photos come. Just write something small. I can just post cell phone pics.
I worked with a welder to design a 50 gallon boiler. A conical top of a 50 gallon barrel. I haven’t got good photos yet. Just one one my cell phone and advanced preview. It is not polished yet. So you see it raw and before prepared. You can compare the before and after photos coming soon.
The reason its going to be a success is, we can have windows on them, a cleanout, heating elements, thermometers, etc. It can be run on gas. It can come insulated or not. This can be manipulated, everyone can be custom made. To suit any distillers need. It will be functional robust. You are going to get a custom pot affordable.
The reason I am doing this, is because there are hardly if any large boilers made in the USA, American made. Its a long wait to order and you must go through customs. You buy in large quantities in order to sell these. The shipping on these may take 3 months from China. Then you have to get it from Canada. They say three weeks to ship, yeah, after its made…and that takes time to build them too. If I drop ship these from other companies, supply is short and it is never guaranteed to be in stock at any given time or they sell out fast..
This way, I can be sure of this order because its in my hands.
I am working also on a custom still. It is not ready yet, and not polished. I am showing you a preview, You can also see what a still looks like. A BEFORE pic. What it looks like before polishing after its welded. Check back for the AFTER version. I will get beautiful professional photos soon in a few weeks check back our photo account. It will be all shiny when completed. This is what a still looks like before finished. I have 6 more things I have to do. I made a few videos and will do more when testing.
BEFORE POLISHED AND FINISHED-
This still is a 4 inch Alchemist. The man who commisioned me had a special request. He has limited height where he distills. He wanted the ten foot tall Alchemist, with 4 feet pot boiler to fit in 12 foot ceiling. So this still is divided into two units. Thats only 60% of the still finished, pictured. Giving you a raw peek at what it takes to build these. This still is side by side, 5 feet tall each side on a four foot pot.
I have been on the phone with many people. They teach me things and ask good questions. Some questions I get is can you distill rice into ethanol. You can distill a rice wine into ethanol easily. I explained how.
A guy told me his brother has built a generator that runs on ethanol well. I said wow, because you can’t really import one of these from Brazil where they mostly are made. I have people screaming at me for these things. I just want all of you to know this is a good business to get into.
I am moving into my new shed finally. It has a ceiling of 18 feet. I just painted and working late tonight finishing. It is a filming studio so I can help produce a better finished product on filming, on the property. There will be two cameras for youtube. There will be better lighting, I have extra large windows that open into the beautiful woods. Better hearing so people can understand better what I am trying to say. I installed one of the Wiseway wood pellet stoves. This is SO WARM. Its so warm in there, and the heat lasts all day, I light it in morning, and when I come back at night, its very warm. I did this with some help from friends.
I finished a manual for my stills -with the people who know nothing of distilling, in mind. I call it the old lady version, for fun. So easy to understand, your grandmother can use my still. I will work on one for master distillers and micro distillers soon with advanced techinques. Coming SOON.
People call me and are blown away when I tell them their cars, as it is now, takes 50% petroleum product gas and 50% ethanol. You don’t have to convert your car, only if you use more of your homemade ethanol than 50%. Companies dont want you to know this, its a racket.
Also, I want to talk about rendering oil from Marijuana. Steam distillation from marijuana yields very little oil. But you can do an alcohol run with marijuana. This is what they call either infusion or alcohol separation. As the 90 plus percent alcohol -at a temp of 173 F- passes over the hemp, it dissolves the crystals in the bud. The alcohol and the THC will be homogenized. The only way to separate that stasis is you need to evaporate the ethyl alcohol through low heat. Once all ethyl alcohol has evaporated there will be residue of water and the oil be floating on top of the water. Then you put in rice cooker to evaporate the alcohol on low heat. Some water left behind with oil -sitting on top as oil and water don’t mix. The water is an infusion as well. This is high potency of thc that can be used topically or orally for people with rashes tumors etc..I have seen this process myself- with my still- that a client did for me, who has permit to sell, as also it is legal to have marijuana in Washington State now.
This doesnt mean I want people showing up at my door with garbage bags of marijuana, please! I have to put a stop to this. But I can discuss these principles of distilling with anyone. Its all about Alchemy.
If you ever see clip art cartoon of an Alchemist you always see a magician- looking-dude with a distillation device of some kind on his table. Thats what you will be when you take distillation seriously. When you understand you are changing something plain into something wonderful. Your spirit itself will be infused into your product.
My goal this year is to have a perforated plate. Made of copper. I will be approaching this very differently from what is out there on the market. It will have the sight glass windows, but everything else will be different. Nothing will be copied or stolen. I am not competing with anyone. Its all concepts I come up with through trial and error. I love making stills, have a passion for this. This perforated plate can be attached to all my Alchemists. So customers can add this on, without buying a new still.
I am the only one who packs the stills for delivery. I don’t allow anyone else to do this. I pack these super well. I want you to be assured.
There has been a concern out there, is copper mesh “electro-plated”? You will know if your copper mesh has been electro plated because it will have a black tarnish to it after you run your still. Then you know it is not pure copper. The copper mesh we buy comes from Texas, and is made for purposes of cleaning machines in nuclear power plants. Also used in Micro Distilling industry where all alcohol has to be devoid of any poisonous substance.
So clean a child can play with it.
I cannot wait until someone does a reality show on making moonshine stills. Building them and going over everything. Also- what we go through making them. I have crazy conversations with people. Yesterday, I was talking to an old man, who I couldn’t understand, he was chewing tobacco and spitting and he had an accent. While he was talking to me, I heard in the background his wife screaming, ” You are up to no damn good! ” and on and on.. I get these sometimes.
We do not record conversations or give out any information to anyone, third parties. We may do a blind drop ship with companies who build things for us that we sell, like the control boxes or spare parts. We just ask them to ship it to you.
Someone called me and told me there was a state where its legal to distill a certain amount of spirits. It is seen to be legal by the state -but seen as illegal by the feds. This man who called me up and told me, asked me who do I listen to? The state or the feds. I just told him the feds are employed by the people. I said our state, Washington legalized Marijuana. But it is still seen as illegal by the federal government. I don’t have too much info on this. I will look into this. But times are changing and fast. I wish I coul
d remember more of this conversation. It was a good question. Who do you listen to? It is tough call.
I can talk about removing oil from shrimp now. I traded a still for a fishing trip. I showed this man how to extract the oil from the shrimp, using my still. By loading the tower with shrimp and removing it with steam. Not only do I wind up with a brine that you pour into surrounding areas of your boat where you fish, but the oil itself, which you rub on your lures. Makes steelhead go crazy. Alchemy again. Never know what you are going to find.
My main goal is to build a still that will do everything. So anyone who bought an orginal Alchemist can have all the applications to take a window, extra modulars, essential oil extension. All for essential oils, tinctures, effusion lamps, hemp, foods, medicine, alcohol, fuel, gas, flavored distilled water..etc. Every farm should have a still. In these times one is valuable. Things are changing and people are more in touch with the land. There is awareness.
I look forward to anyone of a legal age can distill their own spirit, with fathers, mothers and grandparents. To be allowed to make 20 gallons of high proof, a year, is good. To pay a small permit to the state seems to be a win-win. The rules out there are not about safety, but just about taxes and control. Just imagine all the recipes people come up with.
I have been trying out a recipe with a microdistillery for and with them, using bananas, brown sugar, molasses and a coffee bean infusion. Washington state has 20,000 lbs of bananas that are bad, gone bad every month, spotty. The sugars in these are the highest. This can be used for ethanol as well. I had client who made ethanol for his motor bike by bananas.
Someone blogged about me, to the home distilers forum and I was swamped with orders for copper pipe to keg kits. I want to thank you. But it was a surprise. I sold out all my suppliers of a coupling, found more, sold them out, so for about a week, until I got the new order, I tested a different coupling, and it worked fine, so I used that until I got my two inch ones. Its not exactly whats pictured in the photo, but it works beautiful. I am back to my coupling. Its about keeping the production line going and not stopping. These are handmade. Occasionally, the parrots might have different stands, some fancy others plain, than what is pictured. Every piece is a work of art.
Copper Pipe to keg kits
I have been working long time with a college professor. For a course in distillation of ethanol. The students have option to buy my small 2 inch still for the course. Universities can do anything. We are in the last process. I got a copy of the course outlines/syllabus and I will look it over. Kids are now distilling ethanol. I have spent many hours on the phone with him. If this works out it will be so beautiful.
I got a package sent to me, an easy carbon filtration stand. I have to test this out too, in my spare time, fully and many times. If this works, we can sell this retail. I love testing out things to help with distilling.
I want to spread distilling empowerment. Do not be scared or intimidated. There are no stupid questions.
I am not always there- to answer my phone, because I am building stills. The girls in office take care of the orders and emails they can answer.
One day everything will be sorted and I could streamline these orders. We can buy copper in larger and larger amounts for cheaper and keep our prices lower.
I don’t believe at this time from ordering everything from overseas. I still have to, but its a work in progress, will take a while to find cheap suppliers within Canada or USA. “India and China were the top sources of radioactive goods shipped to the U.S. through 2008,” explains a March 24, 2012, Bloomberg article about radioactive scrap metal. And there is no indication that things have improved since that time, according to Ross Bartley, a metallurgist who has been tracking radioactive contamination since the early 1990s. In all likelihood, he says, the problem has remained the same or even gotten worse.
I believe in world trade and all that. But we have to be sure what we are getting.
Along with all this, I have a fiancee, a toddler and another baby coming on the way. Its challenging juggling relationships and work. Lucky I found someone excited about hard work and distilling as me. Who supports, cares and believes in me and is my best friend. Been there when I was welding all night at 11 pm and up at 6 to help me with paperwork.
Thank you for reading and I appreciate all your emails and phone calls.
We are not perfect yet, and always improving. I apologize if an order comes late. Please be patient. All that stuff, is working itself out in our business, we are getting new help. I can now focus on building.
I don’t answer emails or phones on Saturdays. I build stills during the week. I can’t answer all calls, all day. I always return them by that day or the next. If I have a break I always answer. If I hire an answering service, then people won’t get personal attention. They won’t get their questions answered…because, you can’t hire someone to answer technical questions about distillation. You need expertise and experience. I rely on some girls to answer emails about orders and answer e.t.a.s, and they are very good about this.
My girl makes fun and says I should open a full time distilling phone sex line. So many people want to chat about stills. Sometimes I am on the phone with customers for three hours. Have a glass of wine in the evening and make some friends. I know this pays off someday. I enjoy it. I will figure this out.
It takes a lot to run a business. I build stills. That is what I do. It takes alot more than that. My advice to all you copper still builders, you need a team. Customers need lots of attention and you have to give them all you can. There is shipping, driving, marketing, blogs, videos, and suppliers, wholesale accounts, prices on parts, hiring help good, articles, google ads, youtube, secure website, cart, merchant account, paypal, bills for electric, banking, facebook etc. I have to be alot of things.
That is why I made a super easy manual. Why I make videos. Why I write blogs. Cartoons, anything else..This is all to teach. I will be putting up a FAQ part 2 next. (Those are all the types of questions I have been emailed about since my last FAQ).
Please be patient with us. I thank you so much.
Its an idea I have- that some evenings I can have a live stream open -online, an hour each few days or week or something, where I teach about how to distill ethanol, or answer questions. It can be live and people can call in, video in etc..
Don’t get me wrong. I am never too busy for your call or email. I always have time. I just ask for patience. Please. I am not a machine.