Hollow iron is still heavy

I spent a few hours this weekend working on tearing apart the cane mill in preparation of restoring it.  Some folks like the old rusted iron look and, too a degree, I do too, but when it comes to something I am going to use to make food, I think I would rather have it cleaned up and protected.  Plus, I got to buy a sand blaster so it’s legit.  Anyhow, I used lots of PB Blaster, an amazing rust buster, and delicately tapped on various pieces until they loosened up and came apart.  I was surprised to find out that pretty much all of the mill came apart which is fortunate because it weighs a ton!

03_12_2013 009 Cogs on the Chattanooga Plow Company cane mill

So, to make sure it makes sense, I’ll describe how it works.  Basically there are three rollers that are joined by large metal cogs at the top. The  largest roller has an iron shaft that extends above the mill to which I will attach a long pole.  In this case, The Chattanooga Plow Company numbered the mills according to how long the pole should be for proper leverage.  In my case, I need a 14 foot poll to go with my Chattanooga #14 mill.

The top of the Chattanooga Plow Company cane mill

So, I will attach a mule (like my wife and kids) or a horse or even a 4 wheeler to the pole.  The beast of burden will walk in circle turning the main shaft which will, in turn, rotate the other rollers as well.  The rollers are spaced about 1/8th to 1/16th inch apart.  Sorghum canes are fed into the gap.  The rollers rotate and pull the canes into the mill and crush the stalks releasing the juice inside the canes.

The hollow main roller of the Chattanooga Plow Company cane mill The base of the Chattanooga Plow Company cane mill

So, luckily the mill comes apart which makes my restoration much easier.  I was surprised to find out that the largest roller was completely hollow.  It will still more than I could lift so luckily my main mule wife helped me get it off the mill’s base.

The Chattanooga Plow Company cane mill disassembled and ready to be restored

I bought a sand blaster this week and was surprised how cheap they actually are.  Now that I have the mill apart, I plan to try my hand at sand blasting.  I also have another plan in action to remove rust also.  Abigail and I are doing a little science experiment to find a chemical method to remove rust also (more on that another day).  Depending on how that works, we may go that route instead, mainly because…well…science!  Hey, science has ways to make lifting heavy stuff easier too, doesn’t it?

My cane mill/sorghum stuff

9 thoughts on “Hollow iron is still heavy

  1. Look up silicosis in relationship to sandblasting before you start. I would also look up the various media types too as this iron may be softer than you would use regular sand for.

  2. Well it sounds like the new hobby is keeping you busy. It’s nice when the family can get together and rally around a new adventure. Wishing you well on your rebuild.

  3. You might could put the kids on a riding mower going in circles to turn that thing! 🙂 When we first moved out here there was a neighbor down the road that made that stuff. I remember seeing the horse or mule walking in circles. Seems like they had a fire burning where they were cooking it or something. It’s been too long! And of course, I have watched them make it at the Pumpkin Festival in Milton.

  4. Brother – I actually got glass bead which I know has issues as well but I will not be using actual sand. Anyhow, I plan to wear PPE so I should be good…what do you use in yours?

  5. Goodness sakes, I hope you like sorghum! That is quite the fix-it job you’ve gotten yourself into. I’m anxious to see what it looks like when it’s all restored.

  6. I would love to have a sandblaster… and a building to store it! Coincidentally, or not, I’m reading a blog now where a guy is restoring a huge amount of rusty tools using vinegar baths. It seems to be working well.

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