After waiting 19 years, my father bought me a Cavallin rolling mill
as a gift, a 120mm combo, made in Romania, which I picked out from
Otto Frei. Barely a year later, a student, which she had no strength,
severe arthritis in her hands, managed to break my rolling milling by
trying to roll a piece of copper with a crease in it. After 2 years
of trying to get it fixed, and after a personal letter to president
of Otto Frei, I finally got the entire gear/handle replaced. It was
an extraordinary frustrating situation, and a very expensive gift,
and alas, I’m so afraid of having anything happen to it, that I don’t
use it. I should, but I don’t. I even thought about having it
motorized, but the gearshaft is a good $1100 alone, parts included,
so I gave up on that.
Instead, I bought a cheap but huge double roller mill made in India
from Contenti. Handle is backward, so I get a really good rowing
machine exercise just in using it and have shoulders worthy of a
linebacker. It does have one good thing - the grooved rollers go
from really large - 1/4" all the way down to 21g, which I have never
found any other rolling mill that goes that small. I can’t tell you
how much I appreciate that tiny detail, for I mill and draw 90% of
all of my silver and gold wire.
I find my personal favorite rolling mill is the Durston double roller
mill at Metalwerx School of Jewelrymaking, in MA. I just love that
baby, and use it as much as I can. The gear ratio is perfect, and
rolling is no sweat - just a sweet little mill.
I was using an antique rolling mill from the 1880’s for a long time
at a college I was teaching at. I wonder if that mill is still
there. The handle had to be fixed several times.