How to Build a Copper Moonshine Still – Part 4 – 2018

How to Build a Copper Moonshine Still – Part 4 – 2018

This is part 4 in our series on how to build
a copper still where we will be shaping the boiler. We are going to start by bending the teeth
up on the boiler. I should mention that these types of stills,
small copper distillers, are often sometimes called moonshine stills. They can be used, though, to distill all kinds
of products such as distilled water, essential oils, fuel alcohol, and distilled spirits
(of course with the proper permits on the latter two). So we will bend the tabs up with the pliers
by very meticulously grabbing each tab and just bending it upwards so it sits at a final
resting place of about 90 degrees to the boiler. You want to grab the tab right where it meets
the boiler and just bend it up. If you have a pair of sheet metal pliers it
will make this job go a lot faster. I have some but I figure most folks won’t
so I just went ahead and did this with a regular pair of pliers. Like I said, it takes a bit longer but you
get the job done just the same. So once you’re finished bending the tabs with
the pliers what I like to do is take a body mace and a ball-peen hammer and I like to
place the body mace, this could be a chunk of metal or just something with a flat solid
edge and a hard 90 degree bend on the bottom. And I like to place that up against the bottom
of the tabs. And I just run down all of the tabs and tap
the bottom against the mace just to make sure that you have a really crisp, clean, flat
edge, all the way across that boiler bottom. This will ensure that the bottom of the still
is flat once it’s finished and it will also ensure that the boiler bottom fits down nice
and flush with those tabs once you drop it in, which will make soldering a lot easier. Ok for this next step i’m going to ahead and
put some gloves on. I’m not going to be soldering anything just
yet. But the edges of these parts can be sharp
and I’m just making sure to protect my hands so I don’t end up cutting myself. So what I’m doing here actually is, I’m
going to roll the boiler wall (the still boiler wall) over. So we’re starting with a flat piece here. We’re going to end up with a cylinder. You don’t want to get too aggressive with
this because if you end up rolling real hard and you crease the copper you’re not going
to be able to get the crease out. You’ll still be able to build the still and
it will still function but you will notice that crease once it’s finished. So you, you want to apply firm but even pressure
across a pretty large chunk of the material if you can. Don’t just like fold it over as if it’s a
piece of paper. You, uh, so, you need to balance that though
with the fact that the more you work this copper the stiffer it will get until you heat
it up again. So you kind of want to split the difference
there between trying your best not to apply too much pressure but then don’t, you know,
don’t be too, don’t go too light on the copper as well. So, um, I’m showing you this part here in,
this section of the build, in real time so you get a sense for exactly how much pressure
I’m putting on the copper while i’m rolling it and how much time it’s taking. So I’ll just continue to roll and re-roll. And I like to roll the copper over on itself. And keep in mind it does not need to be a
perfect cylinder at this point. In fact it’s almost a little bit easier that
get riveted together are not quite bent um, not quite rolled as much as they should be. And you’ll, don’t worry about that, you’ll
be able to roll it out later. So once you get it rolled to the point that
it’s a reasonable shape. A reasonably shaped cylinder. What I like to do is just take a little pair
of locking pliers, you line the rivet holes up. You lock one end of the still boiler wall
together. Grab a hammer. Again grab your, your body mace. Or a little chunk of metal or something. You pop a rivet down in. I’m going to join the boiler at the second
rivet hole up from the bottom where we bend, where, where we bent the tabs. I’ll explain how to do that one last. You need to sit it on something. An anvil. You could use that little mace. A sledge hammer or just another piece of metal. You sit the boiler down on to byour hard surface
(the surface you’re going to hammer against) and you just tap that rivet so it expands
ever slightly and mushrooms into place. I’m going to move on to the next rivet hole
here. Um, tap it a few times. The key with installing these rivets is actually
not to hit them too many times. If you really just like hammer down on them
and pound them absolutely flat it tends to expand the copper at the seam there where
you’ll be soldering and then sort of deforms the copper and the boiler wall doesn’t look
as straight at that point. So my advice is just hammer the rivets, tap
the rivets enough times (hard enough and enough times) to get them to the point that they
are secure and no longer moving. Once you hit that point, stop hammering. Now to do this last rivet here I have to unbend
some of the tabs. I suppose I could have just not bent these
to begin with but um, I forgot. No big deal. This is just to make it easier to hammer that
rivet in because that rivet hole is so close to the bottom there. And of course i’ll bend that tab back before
soldering the bottom in. Alright, make sure to check out part 5 of
our series on how to build a copper still where we will begin soldering.


  1. I have a question I love all of the how to build vids
    But I have some questions when it comes to heating and using this after the build
    When we are cooking the liquid the Solder won’t melt?

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