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Country Living Hand Grain Mill
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- Made of solid, cast aircraft aluminum - Made entirely in the USA
- FDA Approved Food Grade Powder Coating
- Double Sealed Industrial Grade Ball Bearings
- Cast Iron V-Groove Flywheel / High Carbon Steel Grinding Plates
- Adjustable - From Cracked Grain to Cake Flour - LIFETIME WARRANTY
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Solid I-beam construction from cast aircraft aluminum, double industrial sealed bearings, stainless steel shaft, and carbon steel grinding plates come together to make a rugged and durable mill, which is backed with a lifetime warranty. FEATURES: ** Made of solid, cast aircraft aluminum. ** Made entirely in the USA ** FDA Approved Food Grade Powder Coating ** Double Sealed Industrial Grade Ball Bearings ** Cast Iron V-Groove Flywheel ** High Carbon Steel Grinding Plates ** Adjustable - From Cracked Grain to Cake Flour ** LIFETIME WARRANTY
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This is not a mill you keep sitting around your kitchen, unless you live on a farm and have a closet to store it in. It is big and cast iron. Ain't nothing going to break on it. Don't worry about the warranty, your grandchildren will be fighting over it in 2090. I knew it would be heavy duty, but I was surprised how heavy that duty was. It comes with no base, so my son and I crafted a base that we thought would work well in the kitchen. We even glue rubber on the bottom in hope that it wouldn't slide. Not good enough. Even with clamps, it wanted to slide, which my wife wasn't very happy to see happen on Corian counters. Fortunately the rubber prevented scratches. This mill needs to be mounted PERMANENTLY on the surface where you grind; bolted to the table. If you keep it in the garage, keep it covered. We've had to clean it out by taking it apart (very simple, by the way) after letting it sit in the laundry room a couple of months without a cover. Gross mold isn't tasty.
Next, unless you buy the motorized kit, be prepared for a workout. Remember your physics when considering the extension arm. Yes, the arm gives you more leverage, requiring less strength. However, your work is the same. Half the force, but twice the radius of the circle. Remember that formula, C = 2*R*pi. You're cranking that lighter force over a much larger distance. I found it easier without the arm, once I got the momentum going. However, my children under 12 years of age could not grind very much without the arm; too much strength required.
We ground 5 cups of flour (3 cups of wheat kernals) in about 20 minutes trading off the chore. I did most of the work. However on days when I was at work and the children and wife were milling, it took 45 minutes. So guess what I looking to invest in - the motor kit. Too hard for just the wife in children. Yes, the survivalist inside of me rebels. But, the power grid isn't gone yet. Is it worth it -- yes. But consider where and how you are going to use it before you purchase. Know where you are going to mount it, store it and grind it.
Hope this helps.
Overall, I give this item 4.5 out of 5 stars because it is very sturdy and well-designed, but it does require bolting to a surface (it does not come with a steady base) and it comes with flour that was made with the device but the flour ends up all over the unit during shipping. (See below for more details.) I also really like that you can easily motorize the mill. According to the manual, you can use a 1/2" 4L470 belt on the wheel (there's a deep groove just for this purpose) at 75 rpm's or less, or buy a full motorization kit (just under $400) separately. They do say that if you use anything other than their motorization kit, the warranty is void. Decide for yourself.
I'm glad that I read the reviews first because I knew before ordering that the mill would need some (easy) assembly and also would need to be bolted down to a flat surface for operating. I thought perhaps the bolting would only be necessary for extra stability, but it really does *require* bolting down. (Look at the picture to see how unstable the base would be if the unit wasn't bolted to a surface.)
The unit is *very* sturdy and I expect to still be using this unit 50 years from now. There is a package of spare parts that can be purchased separately (about $200+) which I am considering buying. I'd hate to have one small part break or get lost and then not be able to use this unit. However, I'm undecided because the device is so sturdy and I don't expect it to break ever.
When the unit arrives, it is packaged very well. Upon opening the box, my first impression is that the mill seems to have been previously used and returned by a different customer; this is not the case. Before shipping the product, the mill is tested and a small bag of the resulting flour is included in the box so you can see what quality of flour you can expect. It looks just like flour from the store, only it feels fresher. There was flour all over everything because (1) the bag of flour is not sealed properly and spilled, and (2) the mill was not emptied out and some whole berries and flour spilled from the unit itself throughout the box. This only took a minute to clean up, but it definitely detracted from my initial impression of the unit.
When I assembled the mill, I noticed the directions were a little difficult to follow, but if I used common sense it was very easy to finish. Took about 3 minutes. The most difficult part for me during assembly was that the unit is off-balance until you attach the wheel. It tended to tip off to one side; if I wasn't balancing it, the unit would fall over. I should have had a surface ready to bolt the mill to, but I previously thought it wouldn't actually require bolting down. I would recommend that anyone buying this device have a surface ready. My plan is to buy a small (heavy) plank of wood (roughly 1.5 ft by 1 ft) and then bolt the unit to the wood. (The hole for the screws is just shy of 3/8 inch; the manual does not specify the size screw to use) If this isn't sufficient I will then also clamp the wood to the counter.
Assembly requires only a few short steps: (there is a single picture included in the directions, but most of the assembly is finished before shipping which is unclear.)
(A) Bolt the unit to a surface so it doesn't tip over. If it falls, it may break something else. It's very solid and sturdy. Pure metal.
(B) There's a mini wheel on the side called the adjustment knob. (You can see this in the picture online.) This should be to your left. On the right side of the unit, remove the rubber band holding the "long key" (also called the "rear key" elsewhere in the directions) to the shaft, but keep it in place with your hand. Line up the wheel so it slides over the shaft and pin.
(C) Right on the wheel itself, about 1/2 inch from the shaft, there is a very small hole. Use the hex wrench provided (shaped like an L) to tighten this. It takes 1-2 minutes because it's awkward, but very easy.
(D) Also on the wheel near the edge, there's a second hole that the wooden handle fits into. I would recommend using a 9/16 wrench to tighten it when you're done, but the directions aren't clear if it's required. The wrench is not included.
(E)Enjoy your mill! Read the (one-page) manual for operation, cleaning, etc. They recommend not using soft wheat berries, but I read another review by a person who just cleans the unit after using soft berries or any time it gets clogged up.
---Added Feb 10, 2012---
To install my mill to a 1 1/2" thick wood block, I needed to use three 5/8" hex bolts 2 inches long (Item #63319 at Lowe's) with two washers each (Item #63307 at Lowe's). I also needed one 3/16" hex bolt 2 inches long (Item #63325 at Lowe's) also with two washers (Item #63309 at Lowe's) because one of the holes was slightly larger than the others. The paint used to preserve the metal was a little thinner in the one hole, I guess. I could have used four 5/8" bolts but chose to use the largest screws possible for stability.
Based on recommendations at Lowe's, I also used four T-Nuts on the bottom of the wood so the screws wouldn't come out (the mill itself doesn't have any threading) with round rubber guards on the bottom so it wouldn't scratch the surface of my counter. See the pictures I posted for clarification if needed.
Most recent customer reviews
She uses it all the time..