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!
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.
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.
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.
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?