Durston D2 or D4

Hey everyone!

Just here at New Approach School in Virgnia Beach, creating my tool
list for when I return back to reality! Sorry Mr Bank Manager!!

Anyways my husband has very nicely offered to buy me a Durston D4
rolling mill - providing I can find a good deal! so where is the best
place to get one? I’d like the D4 because I will never need to
upgrade it - but would a D2 be more than adequate for someone just
out of school? I’m a toolaholic and I have a problem - I know a D150
would be fine too, but the double ones look prettier :wink:

Thank you all!


Anyways my husband has very nicely offered to buy me a Durston D4
rolling mill - providing I can find a good deal! so where is the
best place to get one? I'd like the D4 because I will never need to
upgrade it - but would a D2 be more than adequate for someone just
out of school? I'm a toolaholic and I have a problem - I know a
D150 would be fine too, but the double ones look prettier ;)

Those two mills are both top of the line, cream of the crop models.
There are many many goldsmiths who, despite being out of school for
decades, don’t yet have mills that fancy or costly. You’d be unlikely
to exceed the capacity of a D2 unless you’re planning to work with
unusually large sizes of sheet metal. In silver, sometimes that
happens. But here’s the thing. Silver is not so easy to make large
good ingots and your own larger sheet metal. Gold, yes, but how
often will you need to make gold sheet that large? With silver, small
bits of sheet metal are practical, but trying to get flawless larger
pieces can be an excercise in frustration, so many people I know buy
commercially made sheet metal for the projects needing larger sheet.
And silver is cheap enough you can stock several thicknesses without
totally breaking the bank.

To phrase this a bit differently:

For the high school kid who’s just gotten his or her drivers
learning permit, or maybe that first actual license, Should they be
satisfied if the first car daddy buys them is a fully loaded, 80
thousand dollar BMW 7000 series with all the bells and whistles (a
car quite comfortable on the german autobahn at 140mph or more, but
who’s power you’ll never legally be able to fully use here in the
U.S.). Or should they insist on never needing to upgrade to a more
powerful car, and go straight to the Bugatti, (I think that’s the
name. A million + dollar beast capable of speeds around 240mph on the
straightaway, if you can find some place to do that.) Obviously,
because our newly minted young driver loves cars, the suggestion that
they’d be fine starting off with a decent Toyota Corolla, an
economical workhorse that will do the job reliably for years to
come, would be just out of the question…

The point is, if you want the D4, and hubby will fork out the cash
for it, well, heck. Go for it. But you’re unlikely to absolutely need
that much mill now, and like as not, will never really absolutely
need one. Even the D2 may well be more mill than you really need now
or in the future. For me, while the two double mills do indeed look
cool, and save some floor space, I’d rather have two seperate mills,
one flat, and one for wire. Costs less for the same capacity, and I
find the seperate mills easier to use as well. Maintenance is also a
bit simpler with seperate mills. Personally, I’d think that
considering the vast array of tools you might wish to equip yourself
with, spending what a D4 or even a D2 costs right off the bat simply
means that you’ll be overequipped for rolling, and underequipped with
perhaps a lot of other useful items you could have used some of that
cash for.

One other aspect to keep in mind is that good rolling mills seem to
retain a fair portion of their value over time, so if you do
eventually upgrade after starting with a smaller mill, your old mill
can be sold reasonably easily for enough to make it a worthwhile
consideration. Used mills put up for sale seldom sit around too long.
So if, down the road, you find you really can justify a mill like
that and need to upgrade, that process might be less painful than
you’d think.


Ooh Lucy, you’re a lucky, lucky girl! Oh to have a choice of which
Durston to go for. I will be dreaming of owning a Durston for many
years to come I think. They both look wonderful mills, either of
which would be a joy to own.

There are only a few minor differences in spec - I guess only you
know which one is going to suit your needs more. Both mills do D-wire
in sizes 1.5, 2, 3 & 4mm, but only the D4 does it in 5, 6 and 7mm as
well, so if you need the bigger sizes, the D4 would be the one to go

Enjoy whichever one hubby treats you to.


I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a Durston 150 mm, must
be the D2 to designate two rollers, last fall. In MHO, it is the
single most important purchase that I have ever made. It has opened
windows that I did not know existed before. I am sure many will weigh
in again on this thread, but my advice is buy the biggest and best
you you can afford, you will not regret it. Mine came from Rio, no
affiliation, but they have been good to a peon and are always there.

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Yeah, the D2 is the double mill of Durston’s. It is truly an amazing
machine. With a wide variety of grooved rollers and wide flat
rollers, along with the removable side rollers, you can be as
versatile as you want to be. I have a machinist friend who has made
me custom rollers in various widths for half-round stock, so I can
make any width of half-round stock up to about 11 mm wide.

Another nice feature of this mill, having one wheel to adjust the
upper rollers, and one for the lower set, is that you can do a
squaring operation on the one set, and do your half round and flat
rolling on the other set without having to re-adjust the mill for
each operation. That huge set of square grooves is also great for
narrowing and upsetting half-round or rectangular wire stock, as
well. Just keep your mill oiled up and covered when not in use, and
it will last many lifetimes.

Jay Whaley


I have had both the D2 and the D4. I started with a Durston direct
drive mini mill which I used for many years and sold for pretty much
the purchase price.

I bought the D2 and it was great. Then I saw the D4 at SNAG and
bought the floor model after, literally, turning around and selling
the D2, again, at about what I paid. I wanted the wider sheet rollers
so that I could widen spiculum blanks, etc.

All of these mills were wonderful. There is some redundancy in the
D4 wire. One or 2 of the “D” wire slots (1/2 round) are repeated on
the main wire roll and the side roll.

The D4 offers 2 gear ratios. It came with the lower handle which is
a higher gear ratio allowing the rolls to be turned more easily --but
with fewer roll revolutions per handle turn. This is really nice for
rolling wider sheet: an easier but a longer process…

The lower gear ratio requires a different handle which I installed.
The downside of the easier gear ratio is that it takes FOREVER to
roll it wire. You don’t really need the ease of rolling with wire, so
the extra time required at that gear ratio was frustrating.

These are great machines and I use mine all the time for so many

You can’t go wrong with Durston…

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With reference to rolling mills, before you buy one, you need to know
what kind of thickness of metal can be accommodated in the particular
machine you are interested in. This will mean not only how thick of a
sheet that can be rolled, but also what kind of height and width can
be achieved with the grooved section of the mill.

Upsetting, or thickening the edge of a rectangular strip, is done in
the grooved section of the rollers, and the size of the largest “V”
groove will limit how wide this strip can be.

Larger rolling mills can not only be used to make wider sheet stock
and larger wire stock, but will also make tiny wire with its smallest

However, you can’t make larger, wider stock in a small rolling mill.

In my latest video, “Making a Roller Printed Ring”, I show how to
make an 11 mm wide strip of sterling silver into one that is 9 mm
wide, with substantially thickened edges, by using one of the largest
(and highest) grooves on my Durston C 130. The C130, while not the
widest combination mills Durston makes, still accommodates an 11 or
even 12 mm width strip to be upset on its edges. The big Durston D2
will probably go as high as 18 mm in its widest groove.

So the question is, what capacity do you think you will need?? The
larger the mill, the more creative you can be with larger and wider

Jay Whaley