Rolling Mills

Now that all of you have been so helpful on the slip roller
issue I now realize that is definately need an official rolling
mill. I’ve been doing alot of inquiring and wonder if any of
you have tried the rolling mills out of India? There is one
made w/out a reduction gear but it is claimed to have a larger
crank assembly or something like that so that it isn’t too
difficult to turn. The other one out of India supposedly has a
reduction gear but the roller is only 3", half flat and half
square wire. An 1 1/2" seems quite small for flat stock doesn’t
it? Any thoughts? Thanks in advance. Lisa

Lisa Hawthorne

I am very interested in having a Rolling Mill, but don’t have a
clue. I have used two types in classes I have taken. I of course
would like all the bells and whistles, but will take any advice
forwarded. If anyone has one to sell, please let me know. Questions,

1 What should I look for?
2 What is the best price for value.
3 What above simple rolls are suggested.
4 Where are the best prices?

Thank you in advance.

Hi Teresa,

1 What should I look for? 2 What is the best price for value.
3 What above simple rolls are suggested. 4 Where are the best

The first thing to do is determine what your requirements are, are
you going to be rolling ingots into sheets, reducing sheet
thickness, rolling wire (round, shaped), patterns, or something
else. How much rolling will you be doing, will a manual or
motorized mill be required? How much money do you have to spend?

After determining your requiremnts a good place to start is with
tool catalogs from several of the larger jewelers suppliers, Rio
Grande, Gesswein, Swest etc. You can compare descriptions & get an
idea of prices of different sizes & types of mills.

Unless you really need a mill, there are lots of other tools that
will ha ve a larger immediate pay-back.


Depends what you plan to use the rolling mill for. I thought I
would use mine for rolling designs into metal… lace, sandpaper,
etc. What I use it for is to roll metal and change its shape.
Make my own bezel, flatten wire, etc. ANYWAY, I called and talked
to the people at RIO grande and for what I could affford I
purchased the Durston Mini Mill and have not been unhappy. I have
not yet had a time where I said "boy, I wish I had a biger mill."
I am not a big time jeweler. Make lots of bracelets, one of a kind
know the brand but they are cheap. My 2 cents worth.

FWIW: I motorized mine, since some jobs require a 2nd pair of
hands, whic h I don't have.

Dave, Would you mind posting some directions as to how to go about
motorizing one?


ICQ # 9472643
Bacliff, Texas Gulf Coast USA

Nancy said,

  Dave, Would you mind posting some directions as to how to go
about motorizing one?

I’d be glad to, if there was a relatively simple & inexpensive way
to do it. I was fortunate in being able to find a reversible
gearmotor at an industrial surplus store. That along with some
roller chain & sprockets g ot the job done. Of course there’s also
the matter of making up a suitable base & doing the electrical work
to make it work when it’s plugged in & n ot blow a fuse or trip a
circuit breaker.

Out of pocket expense for the motor, sprocket & chain was about
$80. The electrical components added about another $10. The 1/4"
steel for the bas e came from my ‘on hand’ supply.

All things considered, unless you’ve got a better than average
machine sh op & skills, I’d not reccomend trying to motorize the
mill yourself.


I have used those crank handle type rolling mills a few times and
always thought that only a gorilla would be able to turn it. Here in
Japan the rolling mills are made with two large 10 inch size gears to
drive the top and bottom rollers. And the handle is the steering
wheel type; flip it over and it will free wheel for over 30 seconds.
Smooth and light. I see ladies in their 70s and 80s using it without
grunting. I could never understand why the makers are still
producing those crank handle type. Yes, it’s expensive, like
everything else here in Japan, run from $1,600 to $2,000. But when
you consider the wages here (one of the highest in the world) it
would parallel the cheaper crank handle mills. Labor and material are
cheaper in America and in Europe, so I’m sure someone over there
would be able to manufacture similar rolling mills cheaply and let
everyone enjoy the task of rolling. Min Azama in hot, hot Tokyo.

1 Like

jja… this sounds like a great mill. does anyone know if it’s
available in the u.s.? home of high tech? i’m not 70 or 80 yet but i
anticipate getting there! and would like to avoid the brute force
technique… mj

    I put the ring on my mandrel tapped a little bit  and the stone
was out  in less than 20 seconds.  There is in no way that I'd
recommend this type of setting to a customer of mine.  I think its a
big myth that the stone is secularly set.  

Your mandrel is acting as a wedge, and can exert a great deal of
spreading force on the ring. This is an effect that normal wear and
tear won’t duplicate. Sure, a crook can spring a stone out (he could
swap stones in a prong set even quicker). But a customer with that
ring on their finger is a lot less likely to loose a kretchmer tension
set that they will loose the same stone set in a tifany six prong
head, where prongs are little nubs that can sometimes be bent back
just by being caught on ones clothes. Consider how much of our
repair business involves tightening loose stones. Kretchmers settings
simply don’t do that. Sure, they are springs. And springs can be
sprung open. That’s the idea. What differentiates the Kretchmer
settings is not that they won’t spring if forced. It’s that if
deformed from it’s appropriate shape, they will spring back to it with
a greater chance of retaining the stone still as designed, than would
most other types of settings, if they were similarly stressed.
Prongs don’t spring back. Most channel sets require just a little bit
of spreading, say from bending the ring just wrong (which is easy, in
many cases, snce the gold is often fully annealed) before stones
loosen. Once loose a little, they loosen more, till they’re lost.
Kretchmers settings don’t allow that, since they simply don’t just
loosen a bit, unless forced way past their limits. I DID say you can
remove a stone by springing it out. But the point is that if you
spring it open, but not enough to loose the stone, then let go, the
stone is then again probably tight. When I used the words “a LOT of
force”, I was thinking in comparison to the bending force needed to
pull prongs back.

Certainly, there are more secure settings that Kretchmers tension
sets. After all, the point of the whole setting is to create a
setting that looks like it’s so tenuous that it couldn’t hold a stone
at all, only to find that in fact, it’s more reliable than the
standard tiffany style head, which is the most common means with which
diamonds are set in engagement rings. Some other styles of eetting
are much better than standard heads. Full Bezels, for example. Or
partial bezels, if what’s underneath the stone or otherwise
supporting the partial bezels, is sturdy enough. Such things usually
require cutting metal away to remove a stone. But even with these,
stones are more likely to sometimes need tightening than a true
tension set…

Peter Rowe

Poppy, Please let me know your contact details and we will send you
an instruction manual on Rolling Mills. If any one else would like one
please e-mail me on or look at our web site for
further details Sara Durston Director

Hello I am in the process of purchasing a rolling mill and am would
appreciate any advise. My thoughts currently are a full combination,
130mm rolling mill. I was looking at the Pepe Mills as I heard the
steel was good quality and the price was good. Comments from friends
included the handle was a bit short and the gear ratio was only
4:1…I am not sure how this will effect the usefulness of the mill.

thanks -n

If you are looking for a full 130 mm Combination mill you should
consider the Cavallin. This is a good reputed manufacturer that
specializes in Rolling Mills only and the price is around $795.00
plus shipping. They have been around for many years and there are a
lot of parts available.

regards Kenneth Singh

Hi Everyone, I am new to the list and a new jeweler. I am getting
ready to buy a Durston Rolling Mill, but am not sure what the
difference is between one with reduction. Can someone please
explain, is worth the extra $100 bucks? jena

jena, Take it from someone who made the wrong decision, get the
reduction gear. You will have the mill for a long time and may not
always be as strong as you are now. I also think that the reduction
gear gives a smoother role.


   not sure what the difference is between one with reduction.  Can
someone please explain, is worth the extra $100 bucks? jena 

The reduction gearing means that for every turn of the handle, the
rolls only rotate a partial turn. This means you’ve got greatly
increased leverage on the handle, and can exert a lot more force on
the rolling process, without actually needint to strain your arm so
much. whether you need it depends a lot on what you do. If you work
mostly in sterling and soft metals like that, and especially if much
of what you’ll roll is wire in the rolls grooves, (if it has them),
or narrower pieces of sheet metal, then the reduction gears will
mean that while you won’t have to pull/push the handles so hard,
you’ll have to crank it around more, so it ends up being about the
same amount of work, or perhaps even a bit more tedious than rolling
without reduction gears. For wire, especially, where you can be
rolling quite long lengths, reduction gears mean you’re cranking and
cranking and cranking the mill… But if you’re working in harder
alloys, like white golds, or are rolling more substantial widths of
sheet metal (or just want to reduce it more per pass, then the
reduction gears become almost essential. With them, you can do it.
Without them, sometimes you might not have the strength to actually
move the handles as you wish.

In general, rolls made for wire, usually don’t need reduction gears
unless you’ve got one that goes to the very large sizes, which will
probably not be the case for you… Combination mills for both sheet
and wire on the same rolls often don’t have them either, since the
width of the sheet metal you can roll is limited often to only half
the width of the rolls. But most mills made just for sheet metal
(flat rolls) are at least offered in reduction gear models, and I’d
generally recommend getting them on a flat roll mill. Otherwise
you’ll sometimes find that the energy needed to pull and push those
handles around can be pretty tiring.


If you are talking about reduction gearing it means that it reduces
the amount of energy that you have to expend to pass a piece of metal
through the rollers. You have to turn more revolutions but it is
easier. Joel Schwalb @Joel_Schwalb

Hi Jena,

 I am getting ready to buy a Durston Rolling Mill, but am not sure
what the difference is between one with reduction.  Can someone
please explain, is worth the extra $100 bucks? 

I’d spend the extra $100 & get the unit with the reduction gearing.

Unless you’re a strongman type, you’ll find it very difficult to
turn the mill crank without the reduction gearing. It reduces the
force necessary to turn the mill by 1/4.


Jena I have a Durston mill (without reduction) and wish I had got the
geared version. Even with my considerable bulk (250 pounds and
counting) it is hard work rolling sheet. Roller printing is also a
mojor issue since I have difficulty taking a big enough bite in one
pass. If you can go for the reduction model. Having said all that the
mill was my first big piece of equipment and I wouldn’t be without it

  • use it every day and it has paid for itself in reduced stockholding
    of metals many times over.

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England

Tel: 01229 584023

Hi Jena, It is well woerth the exrta $100 for the reduction gear.
This enables you less fatigue, and easier handling. Make sure you
always anneal well and always quench in water. The pickle will clean
the fire scale at the end. Acid can transmit to the mill and cause
real problems.

Paul Coca

 but am not sure what the difference is between one with reduction.
 Can someone please explain, is worth the extra $100 bucks? jena 

I purchased a Durston with reduction and am glad I did. It takes
muscle to change the shape of metal.

Howard Woods
Early in Eagle Idaho