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Rolling mill basics for newbie

I took a 10 week metalsmithing class last summer, and fell in love with the rolling mill. This spring I bought an older Cavallin - marked “8” on the body. It has combination rollers about 3 1/2" wide - 2" wire, 1 1/2" flat rollers. Question #1 - I want to impress patterns on silver and copper sheet. I also have brass pattern plates made for rolling mills - 2" wide. How do I use these in my rolling mill? Do I cut them down to 1 1/2" wide? Question #2 - do I pickle each time I anneal before running metal through the mill? Thanks in advance! I don’t want to be afraid of wrecking my rolling mill -

See if you can find a set of plain rolls for that mill. You should be able to swap them in and out fairly easily, Then your pattern plates will work fine.

You don’t need to re-pickle each time you run the sheet through your mill, but it helps to re-anneal every so often, when you notice that the process is slowing down. Once you do that, re-pickling is good to do as well.

Thank you, Andrew Any tips on where/how to find plain rolls? It is an old
mill -

If you do pickle, make sure that the material is very dry or you will leave a stain on the rollers. I use simichrome to clean my rollers and then 3 in 1. I do this often, especially in the summer as my shop is damp. As noted by others, looking for a set of plain rollers is the best solution. Good luck…Rob

Here are the rules for Studios that the Florida Society of Goldsmiths have:
To use:
 Anneal your metal wire before running it through the rolling mill.
 NO STEEL!!! No steel wire!
 Metals to be printed on must be COMPLETELY dry
(use blow-dryer near tumbler or dry towel)
 Roll your metal down in stages.
o Start with a dead pass. Mark the groove with the sliding guide.
o Tighten the roller .125 degrees on the dial.
o Flip the piece end to end and roll it through again. This will create a more even roll.
o Once wire starts to form square wire turn metal 90° so the wire doesn’t distort and and creates a more even square shape.
o Tighten down until you have a snug fit. The rollers are still able to turn. That is the tightest it can get in that opening.
o Go to the next smallest groove, and repeat these steps. It may be necessary to anneal between stages.

Ensure any piece you put through rolling mill is completely dry.

Do not use steel in rolling mill unless mill is protected on both sides by copper or brass.

Do not roll botanicals through mill without protection of manila folder or heavy paper.


Thank you, Jean Marie -


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Thank you, Jean Marie -


Following is a link from the Ganoksin library. Skip the first part if you don’t want to know the “why” and go to the “what” at the end.

Thanks much, Robert!