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Re: Copper versus stainless steel

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  • sn_cur
    ... When you disassemble it you need to completely remove ALL the old solder from the joins, before using new solder or braze to reassemble it. It can be a
    Message 1 of 24 , Jul 2, 2007
      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Larry <larry@...> wrote:

      >
      > It's fairly common to find antique stills with copper boilers, and these
      > are the prime candidates for health hazards, as a lot of them were
      > assembled with common solder, or even pure lead. If you get one of those
      > (probably pretty cheap) you need to disassemble it, and put it back
      > together using silver solder.
      >

      When you disassemble it you need to completely remove ALL the old solder from the joins,
      before using new solder or braze to reassemble it. It can be a lot of work, but fortunately
      the lead based solders are soft and come off fairly easily with sandpaper.

      The new solder or braze must be free of lead, cadmium, and antimony.

      Cheers
      sn
    • dakini_painter
      All the discussion centers on copper in the boiler, packing and/or column. What about copper in the product condenser, in the coil itself? Wouldn t all or
      Message 2 of 24 , Dec 5, 2007
        All the discussion centers on copper in the boiler, packing and/or column.

        What about copper in the product condenser, in the coil itself? Wouldn't all or nearly all the
        reactions with the copper have occurred previously? Since there's no free sulfur in the
        alcoholic vapor that's being brought over, are there any reactions that might occur with
        copper?

        The reason I ask is that the professional stills from Christian CARL or Holstein all have SS
        condensers.
      • Trid
        ... Depends on your setup. Because the CC and Holstein stills are bubble plate stills with copper vessels and columns, there s a lot of surface area through
        Message 3 of 24 , Dec 6, 2007
          --- dakini_painter <cheryllins@...> wrote:

          > All the discussion centers on copper in the boiler, packing and/or column.
          >
          > What about copper in the product condenser, in the coil itself? Wouldn't all
          > or nearly all the
          > reactions with the copper have occurred previously? Since there's no free
          > sulfur in the
          > alcoholic vapor that's being brought over, are there any reactions that might
          > occur with
          > copper?
          >
          > The reason I ask is that the professional stills from Christian CARL or
          > Holstein all have SS
          > condensers.

          Depends on your setup. Because the CC and Holstein stills are bubble plate
          stills with copper vessels and columns, there's a lot of surface area through
          which the vapor passes. I would strongly suspect that this has sufficient
          catalytic action to render a clean product irrespective of a stainless
          condenser. I would also be inclined to believe that there is indeed free
          sulfur in the vapors as evidenced in the sacrificial copper in commercial
          columns as well as spending plenty of (my own) time cleaning the black gunk out
          of my column and condenser. Whether it's other oils, sulfur, or whatnot, the
          mere presence tells me that it's not pure ethanol/water sticking to the walls,
          so there's something present. If that something is at least partially composed
          of sulfur, then I'm happy knowing that my entire vapor path (particularly the
          condenser, where the surface area is greatest) is copper.

          It would stand to reason (as I have understood the workings) that if you have a
          stainless boiler, you need a copper column/condenser. If you have a copper
          boiler, or at least a copper column with plenty of copper in the vapor path,
          then at least *somewhere* there is the sulfur removing characteristic and
          therefore, a stainless condenser is less of an issue.

          Trid
          -tell me I'm not the only one who eyes *anything* made of copper with an
          ulterior motive
        • sn_cur
          Copper conducts heat much better than stainless. This means a copper condensing surface is more efficient, and so can be smaller than a stainless one for the
          Message 4 of 24 , Dec 6, 2007
            Copper conducts heat much better than stainless. This means a copper condensing
            surface is more efficient, and so can be smaller than a stainless one for the same amount
            of heat exchange.
          • dakini_painter
            Not all have bubble plate columns. CC also has variants with a cognac style helmet that goes straight to a SS condenser.
            Message 5 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
              Not all have bubble plate columns. CC also has variants with a cognac style helmet that
              goes straight to a SS condenser.



              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Trid <triddlywinks@...> wrote:
              > Because the CC and Holstein stills are bubble plate
              > stills with copper vessels and columns, there's a lot of surface area through
              > which the vapor passes.
            • dakini_painter
              But that wasn t my question. :) If it was only a matter of heat exchange, sure, but then why aren t these condensers made of Cu? ... amount
              Message 6 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
                But that wasn't my question. :)

                If it was only a matter of heat exchange, sure, but then why aren't these condensers made
                of Cu?

                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "sn_cur" <sn_cur@...> wrote:
                >
                > Copper conducts heat much better than stainless. This means a copper condensing
                > surface is more efficient, and so can be smaller than a stainless one for the same
                amount
                > of heat exchange.
                >
              • Harry
                ... aren t these condensers made ... Cost reduction, mainly. Copper is needed in the distilling path to remove sulfides and produce a better, cleaner product.
                Message 7 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "dakini_painter" <cheryllins@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > But that wasn't my question. :)
                  >
                  > If it was only a matter of heat exchange, sure, but then why
                  aren't these condensers made
                  > of Cu?


                  Cost reduction, mainly. Copper is needed in the distilling path to
                  remove sulfides and produce a better, cleaner product. This is
                  already achieved before the vapours get to the condenser. Stainless
                  steel is a lot cheaper than copper, and requires less maintenance
                  (cleaning). All of which makes it a sensible choice for a condenser
                  in this type of still. Remember, the people who buy and operate
                  these stills need to save money everywhere they can, or the
                  operation will go broke. There's not much profit margin in
                  commercial distilling. Govt. gets the lions share.

                  Slainte!
                  regards Harry
                • scannerfan
                  Don t know about that Harry some of the riches people in my country (Canada), are the beer and liquor producers. Empires have been built on both. Sam
                  Message 8 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
                    Don't know about that Harry some of the riches people in my country
                    (Canada), are the beer and liquor producers. Empires have been built on
                    both.

                    Sam

                    > There's not much profit margin in
                    > commercial distilling. Govt. gets the lions share.
                    >
                    > Slainte!
                    > regards Harry
                    >
                  • scannerfan
                    Of course I never considered volume, low profit margin + high volume = EMPIRE Sam
                    Message 9 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
                      Of course I never considered volume, low profit margin + high volume =
                      EMPIRE

                      Sam


                      > Don't know about that Harry some of the riches people in my country
                      > (Canada), are the beer and liquor producers. Empires have been built on
                      > both.
                      >
                      > Sam
                      >
                      >> There's not much profit margin in
                      >> commercial distilling. Govt. gets the lions share.
                      >>
                      >> Slainte!
                      >> regards Harry
                      >>
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Distillers list archives :
                      > http://infoarchive.net/sgroup/distillers/
                      >
                      > FAQ, Howto distil etc. :
                      > http://homedistiller.org
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
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                    • Harry
                      ... built on ... Yes, but they don t use little 50-150 litre boutique Holsteins or Christian Carl Eau-de-Vie stills either. The moguls you speak of, their
                      Message 10 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
                        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "scannerfan" <scannerfan@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Don't know about that Harry some of the riches people in my country
                        > (Canada), are the beer and liquor producers. Empires have been
                        built on
                        > both.



                        Yes, but they don't use little 50-150 litre boutique Holsteins or
                        Christian Carl Eau-de-Vie stills either. The moguls you speak of,
                        their product output is measured by the trainload per month!


                        Slainte!
                        regards Harry
                      • Trid
                        ... I would speculate that the outer water jacket is stainless, but the heat exchange surfaces inside might very well be copper. Having never cracked one open
                        Message 11 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
                          --- dakini_painter <cheryllins@...> wrote:

                          > Not all have bubble plate columns. CC also has variants with a cognac style
                          > helmet that
                          > goes straight to a SS condenser.

                          I would speculate that the outer water jacket is stainless, but the heat
                          exchange surfaces inside might very well be copper. Having never cracked one
                          open to see, it's just speculation, though.
                          I do know that some are made with a copper spiral in the cap to function as a
                          "catalytic converter" regardless of plates. Then again, with just the cap on
                          top, such as the cognac style, perhaps that's sufficient copper exposure. At
                          this point it's pretty much a SWAG[1] on my part.

                          Trid
                          [1] Scientific Wild Ass Guess
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