Rolling mills - care and feeding

Any suggestions as to the best way to maintain a rolling mill as close to
it’s new state as possible? Thanks again. You guys are GREAT!

… and I forgot: keep the bearings well lubricated with appropriate
grease or oil, depending on what the manufacturer recommends. Take the
rollers/booms out once a year, clean the bearings carefully and relubricate

Kind regards (again)
Niels Loevschal

hang a piece of natural sponge so it touches the back side of the rollers.
Keep it soaked with oil so each time you turn the mill it oils the rollers.
Also place a canvas bag soaked with oil over the mill to protect from dust
and moister. Frank (25 years in the swamp of Houston TX and my mill still
looks new)

Any suggestions as to the best way to maintain a rolling mill as close to
it's new state as possible?  Thanks again.  You guys are GREAT!

Yep: don’t roll anything through it thats been in the pickle, MAKE SURE
you dip the metal into a water and baking soda solution before going into
the rolling mill or you will stain and corrode the rollers. Keep it covered
with a plastic trash bag or the cover it came with when not using. When
done using for the day squirt some cheap oil (3in1 or whatever…) over the
rollers and turn the crank until the rolls are completely covered. Crank
down on the clearance to just before the rolls touch to make the oil
spread evenly over the rolls. Thats about it…Dave

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Yes, here is a few tricks, some of them learned the hard way:

The key word is: be careful.

  1. Never roll an item just coming from a pickle. You can flush it
    eversomuch in water, there will still be some acid residue on it, which
    will be squeesed out on at by the mill and eventually harm the
    rollers/booms. Carefully flush your pieces in an alkaline solution (bases
    don’t hurt the rollers/booms) and then flush in plenty of running water and
    let dry.

  2. Take good care not to put something hard beteen the rollers/booms. If
    you want to use the mill for texturing metal sheet, take good care that any
    material which could get in touch with the rollers/booms is softer than the
    steel of the rollers/booms. I.e. when texturing with steel mesh use a
    copper sheet or similar to cover the steel mesh with, - and don’t squeese
    so hard that the steel mesh get in contact with the rollers/booms.

  3. Clean and oil the rollers/booms regularly and often. I have an oil
    filled rag laying on the mill and wipe of the rollers/booms every time I
    have used the mill. What oil? I use weapon’s oil, and you should definitely
    not use any organic oil, but i think that the American/US type 3-in-1 would
    do as well.

If you treat it well and with a lot of care, it will last you a lifetime -
and even longer

Kind regards from sunny Denmark (as of today, at least) Niels Loevschal

Does residual oil on the rollers have any impact on the metal being
rolled? I might think that it might pose a problem with soldering. Is it
enough to wipe the rollers well before use? Susan

Susan: use paper towels to wipe the rollers free of oil real well,
shouldn’t cause a problem, it never has for me. The metal will slip if
there’s much oil left on the rollers anyway and I have a feeling the
rollers pretty much squeegee any oil of the metal anyhow…Dave

I keep my rollers well greased to protect them, and after rolling metal
through, and before soldering, I wipe any grease off the metal using
denatured alcohol. Never have any problems. good luck- Alma

The residual oil should be cleaned off before soldering. It can be cleaned
with soap and water. I like to keep a bottle of Windex next to my bench, it
comes in handy for several things.

A few years ago I learned a trick from a friend, to keep the rollers
clean. Cut out a piece of sponge to fit above the top roller and one to fit
below the bottom roller. Oil them and install them on your mill. The will
keep the rollers well oiled and clean off any dust. I used furniture
padding foam. It lasted about a year before the oil started to break it

Timothy A. Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry

If you are concerned about residual oils from the rolling mill on rolled
metals it might be wise to just wipe them down with solvent before heating
or soldering. It takes just a few seconds and takes all the guess work
out of it.


Yes: there is a thread on orchid about that very thing…but to hit the
high Points.

  1. Never force to large a piece through the mill this will cause rollers to
    Dent and possibly break

  2. Always wash and dry any pickled metal before Putting it ( use a baking
    soda wash and scrub thoroughly)

  3. Always oil The rollers when finished for the day…if you do those
    things your mill Should last a long long time Hope that helps

When I first purchased my Rolling Mill I called Rio Grande and asked the
same question on maintaining my mill. My notes from that conversation are
as follows:

1. Oil bearings with 20-30 weight oil before use.
2. After use clean rollers with #00 steel wool saturated with light oil.
3. Oil 4 to 1 gear assembly with 85 weight oil. Might need oiling every 40-20
	hours of continuos use.
4. Put cosmoline on large gears every 40 hours of continuos use.
5. For long term storage put cosmoline on rollers and gears.

I would suggest you call your supplier and find out what they recommend fo
r your brand of mill. It’s to bad they do not include these instructions
with the mill.

George Hebner

If you clean your piece with pumice before soldering, you won’t have any
problem with the oil residue from the mill.

Rene Roberts

If you clean your piece with pumice before soldering, you won’t have any
problem with the oil residue from the mill.

Rene Roberts

  1. Put cosmoline on large gears every 40 hours of continuos use.

  2. For long term storage put cosmoline on rollers and gears.

Thanks for the list. It looks pretty complete. Since cosmoline isn’t
available at my local Ace hardware store, I wonder if the Vaseline I’ve
been using for years on my hammers and stakes, lathe, and other tools might
not be just as good? Geo.

Hi Geo,

The purpose of the cosmoline on the gears is lubrication, not rust
protection. Get a product that’s meant for gear lubrication (vaseline
isn’t). Any thick non liquid grease will work, Ace or any hardware store
will probably have several in tubes to choose from.


Hi George, I have been using vasoline on my rolling mill, liberally
covering rollers and the gears. My 20 year old mill is in perfect
condition, and runs smoothly, so I will continue to use it and do
recommend it. I have a question not at all related to rolling mills, but
will ask it here. I have a prestolite torch which serves me well for
silver, but am now making the transitiion to working with gold. I need
a torch that has tips suitable for working with gold, and have checked out
the various catologs—and am quite confused. It seem that the “little
torch”–highly recommended by many, comes in a number of models, for use
with different types of gases. I have been using acetyline with a B
tank, and will need to invest in new tanks for the the little torch, and
am considering getting a torch that uses Propane. However, It seems that
the smaller tips cannot be used with the propane, and I wonder if the
larger tips that come with the torch are useful for working on
gold–especially small items and chains.

Also, what about the little torch that uses the disposable propane and
oxygen tanks. Are these a good investment? I will appreciate any
assistance that is offered.
Thanks–Alma–in gorgeous, rainy Oregon.

 gears every 40 hours of continuos use. . Since cosmoline isn't available
at my local Ace hardware store, 

you might try a gun shop. not sure of current practice, but this used to
be the standard for long term storage or shipping of firearms

Hi Alma, I had the disposable style regulaors for my “Little Torch” and
scrapped them for a regular oxy/act setup. the disposable oxidiser tanks
don’t last very long and at $6 - $7 per were getting expensive. I bought 2
$.99 adapters to go from my cutting torch to a “Little Torch” and am very
happy with the setup. The only “bad” thing about it is the oxidiser
regulators line pressure guage, which goes from 0 - 150 psi. doesn’t have
the resolution to easily set the pressure which is about 2 lbs . hth jim