Cavallin vs. Durston Rolling Mills

Hi All,

I bet this has been debated before but I couldn’t find it on line so
what’s the opinion out there?

I’ve owned 2 Durstons. One was a bargain because someone put a nail
thrugh it and it had a goove, and the other was too small a 100mm and
the rollers had mill marks on them. I have now saved up for a 120-130
mm combo. I have seen a Cavallin locally for $750 and it seems to be
the set up I want. All things being equal it has 65mm diameter
rollers as compared to Durstons 60mm for the 120-130mm size-which is
a plus especially compared to the 50mm dia. on the 100mm mills. The
overall finish of the Durstons impresses me more as the Cavalin has
some plasitic but we’re talking dust sheild here so it’s not

But have any of you with more experience put these mills through
there paces and have strong opinions one way or another? This is
basically a major purchase for me and I’d like to get it right

Feel free to contact me directly at

Warren Allen
Whatrix Designs

ps I will finally be updating my site in the coming week as i have a
table top studio set up and about 70 pices to photograph this
weekend. W

Hi Warren,

I like the work on your site. Please do put up more!

With regard to the Cavallin vs Durston, I am a Durston gal all the
way. I found them easy to maintain and calibrate, easy to grease
and very durable. I have a 130mm combination in the private studio
and a 150mm flat in the school.

I got a very nice deal at the Tucson Gem Show at Rio’s Catalog in
Motion. Durston is one of their suppliers. They reps are very nice
and I got to ask a zillion questions and play with the different
mills. Thank you Rio!

I honestly can’t comment about the Cavellin, since I haven’t really
used one very much. The gearing is very smooth on the Durston.
It’s just a really good mill and very solidly built.


Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph: 781/891-3854
Fx: 781/891-3857
email: @Karen_Christians

Warren, I have two Cavalins and they are great. I have had them one
for twelve years and another for fifteen. Both work great and are
very dependable.

Regards J Morley/Goldsmith/Laserwelding

Warren, you asked about strong opinions and those I got! It took me
well over 2 years to finally select and buy my rolling mill and I
chose a 150mm Durston combo mill. It should probably be sufficient
to say I love it but that would be something of an error of omission.
I really love it. I feel it’s allowed me to take a major step
forward as a maker and artisan and that doesn’t happen every day.

Since you already own a couple of Durstons there’s no need to talk
about how well made they are, how easy to maintain, etc. But I do
have to put in a few words about Durston the company. I’ve been in
and around tools for most of my life and I can say with confidence
that I have never encountered a company more committed to service and
customer care than Durston. I’ve had a few special requests for
rollers and such and they have taken care of me in the most
gracious, helpful and generous way that I feel as if I’ve become part
of the family. They have simply been spectacular and it’s made me a
Durston man for life.

One strong opinion and a side of passion,
Trevor F.

I have both Cavllin and Durston mills and up until recently I would
have said either one would be fine. However on my Durston D4 158
(purchased new in 2000) I just had one of the helical gears that
drive the flat rolls break a tooth off at the root of the tooth. The
flat rolls on this mill do not get much of a workout (we use the
wire rolls every day) as I have a 100 mm Cavallin power mill that is
used for most flat stock but I needed a wider section of stock the
other day and was using the flat rolls on the Durston . In the
process of rolling this flat stock there was a noise of something
hitting the floor and I thought that something had fallen off the
bench next to the mill, all of a sudden the crank on the mill
stopped and would not continue forward. I backed the stock out of
the mill and tried to turn the crank forward and it stopped again at
the same point so I thought that there must be something wrong with
the gears and pulled the cover of the reduction gear first and
started to disassemble it to look for what could be wrong. During
this process I did not find anything in the reduction gears that was
causing the problem but did see something that truly disturbed me.
The gears are coupled to the various shafts in the mill with key
slots in both the shaft and gear and keys that lock the two
together. One shaft has two gears on the same shaft and sharing a
key. The outer gear appeared to have been misaligned when it was
assembled and the person who assembled it forced the gear on the
shaft rather than align it properly. this resulted in a galled gear
and a offset key.

After further inspection of the reduction gears I determined that
the problem was not in the reduction gears and pulled the cover on
the drive gear side. Here the broken tooth helical gear was obvious.
I then looked on the floor for the thing that had made the falling
noise earlier and found the tooth from the gear. In removing the
broken gear from the shaft I found it to be almost impossible to
remove. It required a great amount of force on the gear puller to
separate it from the shaft.Once I had it off the shaft the reason
was obvious the key was not filled to fit the key slot of the gear
and the gear had been forced on the shaft in such a way as to wedge
a piece of key between the shaft and the id. of the gear next to the
key slot. I am not certain of the distortion of the gear caused by
this brute force assembly process is what caused it to fail but I
would not be surprised if it was a contributing factor. This lack of
care in the assembly of a precision and expensive machine disturbed
me as the Durston is supposed to be a top quality mill and the lack
of care in the assembly process does not fit in with this
perception. I am still awaiting a replacement gear for my mill right
now so it is still out of commission. I have not had any gear
problems with my Cavallin mills but I did get a bad flat roll (it
had an area of sub surface porosity in it that showed up after the
initial use of the mill) on my manual Cavallin it was promptly
replaced by the vendor and it has worked fine for 15 years.

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

I had a flat and a wire Cavallin rolling mill. Sold them both and
bought a Durston D-4 150mm combo mill. No complaints.

This is a little off thread…but an old friend who is hanging up
his jewellery tools in NZ has among other things, a great set of
Durston rollers for sale.He’s sworn by them for years.

Combination ie flat roller on top, square wire roller underneath for
sale,on factory stand.Excellent condition. Asking NZ$3000…ie about
half new price.

Contact me for more details.He also has a ring
stretcher/shrinker,ring rollers,draw-bench,vibrating tumbler,burn out
kiln and a few sundries.

Contact me in the first instance for more details.Colin.