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Who Should Build My Still?


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It looks like we are going to start small with ~50 gallon still. Now, the way I see it there are several different "classes" of still-builders to choose from. In no particular order:

1.) German/brand name/high dollar models.

2.) Industrial/big shop American builders

3.) Backyard/small shop American builders

4.) American design/middleman and Chinese manufacturer

5.) Deal directly with a Chinese manufacturer

6.) istill (don't know how to categorize this one :) )

7.) anything I haven't thought of

Sooo, any thoughts are welcome. If you like my classifications, if you don't. Pros and cons for or against a generic "type" of manufacturer. If you have a specific builder in mind and/or specific line of reasoning to support a certain builder.

I'm most likely not going to go with the big name/German types for the obvious capital investment-type reasons. HOWEVER, if there are people out there that would rather have their fingernails pulled out than use a particular still that may fit in this category, I'd like to know why you feel that way.

I will also probably avoid anybody with limited experience building, etc., assuming they exist and I'm smart enough to figure out who they are. If you can help me look for legitimate signs to be wary of, that would be very helpful.

I'm especially interested in anything you consider to be a "must-have" or a "deal-breaker".

Basically, I'm hoping some of you guys with way more experience than I have (not a high bar to clear, unfortunately) will help keep me from making any incredibly dumb mistakes. I appreciate your time.

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A question you first have to ask is "what are you going to make?" This will tell you what type of still you'll need. Then, you have to work it in with your budget and how much you want to produce in a month. These answers will point you to the still you need and who you can afford to pay to build it. FYI, we built our own still and thumper and it works great!

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I think a good way to think about asking any question on this forum is to treat it like a call in radio show. Sometimes a simple, "how do you do X?" or "do you see any point in Y?" are easy to ask questions with pretty black and white answers. On the other hand, asking a question that is tied to many specific individual business needs/desires, to include your budget, is a bit tougher to just give a blanket answer. I'm not saying no on can answer your question, but I will say that no one can answer your question better than you.

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Lots of other ways, too! making a still is great way to learn to TIG weld :-)

We used #4, and if you ever wanted to lay eyes on it, you're welcome to visit anytime. I think that the iStill is a valid option (unless you want a shiny showcase still for your location) and I wouldn't count out the Bunker Stills continuous option.

I learned to distill on a 40 plate still made of MILD STEEL, but as everyone here suggests, choose what your product will be...and let that lead you to your equipment.

Good Luck!

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