How to Build a Copper Moonshine Still – Part 5 – 2018

How to Build a Copper Moonshine Still – Part 5 – 2018

Alright welcome to part 5 in our series on
how to build a copper still, otherwise known as a moonshine still. We are building a 5 gallon copper distiller
from scratch using parts from Clawhammer Supply and in this video here we are going to be
soldering the boiler together and I’m going to start by taking wire brush to the seam
on the inside seam of the boiler that we’ve shaped and roughly shaped and riveted together. um I’m just cleaning this boiler I’m just
cleaning copper one more time with a brush here just to make sure there’s no oxidation
the cleaner you can get this copper uh the better the solder is going to stick to it. In the second video I believe we actually
roughed up all of the seams of the flap of this boiler here so the seam that’s actually
lapped there has already been roughed up um and I’m just gon I’m just adding a little
bit more um cleaning it just one more time just to make sure that um the the solder sticks. Ok so the first step here once you have the
um copper roughed up is to apply some flux. I’m using water soluble flux. Very important to use water soluble flux . It’s
going to be very difficult to get the residue off if you use anything else. um You can find water soluble flux at any
of the big box hardware stores. We also sell it on our website
so. Go ahead and um get your plumber’s torch out. Um we’re using regular propane MAP gas is
not needed regular propane and I’m going to be using uh lead free solder, also very important. uh lead free plumbing solder. Uh also available on our website. So the key with soldering is to um apply just
enough heat to get the solder to melt and no more. You can’t really see what I’m doing um very
well here under the boiler but as soon as that solder starts to melt I actually remove
the torch I remove the torch from the copper and I just let the solder melt there I’m doing
it right there I um let the solder melt and I won’t apply heat again until the solder
won’t melt um. If you happen to apply too much heat which
I’m just about to do here in fact you could see it I applied just a little bit too much
heat on that last section, you can see just a little bit of um the surface turn dark there
it’s ok because I already had solder there. But if you apply too much heat you’re going
to scorch the copper it will it’ll you know soot up on you and the solder won’t stick. If you apply too much heat it turns black
it soots up you actually are best um served to just go ahead and let it cool down a little
bit and hit it with the wire brush again apply some more flux and get that carbon build up
off of there. So just run on down the line here let the
solder sort of fill the seam there um flow into the seam and then as you move up the
boiler wall also hit all of the rivets so you should have a continuous bead of solder
inside of all the rivets. You can actually solder the boiler from the
outside I used to do that in fact if I were just building a still for myself I probably
would do that, however, it doesn’t look as clean its a lot easier to do that it just
doesn’t look as clean. This way you have the solder here on the inside
um and you really don’t see any solder from the outside. Alright so once you’re done soldering the
inside of the boiler you’ve got the seams from um solder end to end and the rivets are
all um soldered. I would suggest hitting at the wire brush
one more time um and cleaning that seam off it’s just easier to clean um at this point. Alright so you’ll notice that we don’t have
the perfect cylinder at this point so what we’re going to have to do before we move on
is shape the boiler. Um we want to at this point get it as round
as possible we want to make as perfect of a cylinder as we can before we before we drop
the bottom in. It’s actually a little bit easier uh to solder
um the boiler if you know when it’s not a perfect cylinder and that seam sort of sits
um more flat I guess the parts lap together the edges of the boiler lap together a little
bit better. Though at this point it’s you know this is
the last chance we’re going to have to really straighten this thing out so just kind of
work it by hand eyeball it it doesn’t need to be perfect um, but you’ll be able to get
a pretty round um there we go that look pretty good it looks much better than what we started
with. Um it’s more important that the bottom is
round at this point than the top. Once you have a cylinder we’re going to solder
the boiler bottom. What we’ll do is we’ll drop the bottom in
as you can see I’ve already roughed up roughed up the edges of the boiler bottom here and
again that’s uh for the purpose of making sure that the solder sticks properly. So what I’m going to do before I drop the
bottom in is I’m going to get out my flux again. This is water soluble flux uh plumbing flux. Um I’m going to coat all of the teeth with
the flux. Make sure you hit all of the teeth and I’m
even going to hit the outside just a little bit. Most of the solder is going to be on the inside
but you’ll have some float around to the top. Um the outside of the teeth there so make
sure everything has a good layer of solder on it. And then um I’m going to do the same thing
to the boiler just work your way around the edge of the boiler bottom both sides top and
bottom of the boiler bottom there um about half an inch in from the edges. Alright, and then what we’ll do is drop the
bottom in. Ok, what I like to do is take a hammer and
just the blunt end of a hammer whatever it doesn’t matter what just tap the boiler bottom
down it doesn’t take much tap it all tap it down so it’s sitting nice and flush on the
teeth there as you can see it’s um again these are machine cut parts so if you have everything
um cleaned up before you start and you do um you’re pretty much you know you’re careful
about bending those tabs it’s going to set pretty flat. Um here’s the secret here’s what I’ve learned
I’ve built a lot of these stills what I have learned that if you take a weight and you
drop it down on top of the um that boiler bottom there um it will add some pressure
and push that boiler bottom down against those teeth. It’s sort of a balancing act because you have
to um you know you’re working on the edge of a table and you’re dropping a weight down
there you want some of the weight to be distributed on the copper edge that you’re sealing but
then you don’t want it you know so much weight that the boiler falls off the table there. Another secret is that it is easier to solder
these boiler bottoms in from the inside so you’re heating from the outside adding the
solder to the inside and what I’m doing is I am actually starting about four inches away
from three or four inches away from that from the vertical seam and I will work my way around
the boiler until I get back to that seam. It’s easiest to solder the bottom um in around
the area of the seam last so you just make your way around the boiler until you make
it all the way back and I’ve reached that point now and what has happened here is that
there is a tiny bit of a gap between the boiler wall and the boiler bottom and I’m just going
to take my hammer and just very lightly tap that boiler against the bottom there just
to eliminate the space and here’s the secret on on this seam. Apply the heat to the bottom of the still
not to the vertical wall but to the bottom get a little bit of solder built up against
the outside wall there the inside I guess of the wall there and then add just enough
heat to the actual um vertical wall there to get the solder to flow against that vertical
seam there and you’re done. This one turned out pretty clean. Just inspect it make sure that you’ve got
solder um visible solder all the way around the bottom there and you’re done. Next video part 6 installing the vapor cone. You won’t want to miss it.


  1. Great videos, am i trying to get my hands on some cooper sheets like you have 16oz 24 gauge c110 food grade , but i have 2 questions for you. First one is what is the size of the sheet it self?
    Second one is the cerated end you fold at 90 degrees do you make them or it comes like that? And if not how do you make them, any tricks you suggest. Thanks from a northern Quebec fan

  2. how does distilling over a propane burner not remelt the solder?? just because it's not as concentrated and as hot? or does that happen sometimes?

  3. copper sheet doesn't seem to exist here in Australia asked every hardware and metal place and no large copper pipes either

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