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Old 08-05-2013, 03:24 PM   #1
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Default Antique Clothes Washer Wringer --> Grain Mill?

My wife & I have been brewing for about 5 or 6 months now and have found lots of info and answers on this forum. But it's finally time to post because I'm not seeing this question/idea addressed anywhere.
I have access to an old antique washing machine - the kind with the roller/wringer thing on top. I'll include a link to a pic of the same model which someone has for sale on Etsy below (and I don't think they have a chance in hell of getting the $445 their asking for it!)
Anyway, every time I walk by this thing I start eyeing up those rollers and wondering if it would be possible to tear it apart and re-purpose the wringer part as a grain crusher. I'm just curious if anybody has ever attempted a similar project? Wondering if it can be done.


http://www.etsy.com/listing/15219132...FYhAMgodEQIA2w

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:30 PM   #2
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My grandma had one of these. The rollers were made of wood, so I'm thinking that it wouldn't be very good to mill grain with.

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:40 PM   #3
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That would be awesome if it worked. And turn the basin into a mashtun too.

One of the biggest issues would be the dinky motor, though you could restrict the grains going into the rollers to compensage. You have ~12" of usable roller and that would be a waste not to be a able to use it all, and replacing them with machined rollers isn't going to be cheap. The gap can be "set" with the lever at the top, but i do recall the gap being fungible and slowly opening over time- to have it set and stay set would be problematic as well. The gearing behind the rollers may be up for the task, it's old school americana manufacture and was made to handle squeezing lots of clothes (and fingers).

I have friends who collect these things, these maytags are worth $ to the right person/sucker.

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:40 PM   #4
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Could you sell it on craigslist to help finance the purchase of a new mill?

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:40 PM   #5
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The rollers on this unit are rubber btw.

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:53 PM   #6
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Outside: Right - the rollers are a type of hard rubber - I'm not sure whether they'd be too soft to crush grain or not? One other issue that would definitely need to be addressed is it's designed so the spacing between the rollers adjusts itself with the clothes you're putting through it (e.g. if you try to shove a real thick pile of clothes through it, the top roller lifts up widening the gap and then snaps back into position after it's passed). So to crush grain that would have to be over-ridden somehow.
BinghamtonEd - that thought had crossed my mind too. Technically it belongs to my parents so I'm not entirely sure they'd give their blessings to sell it (or gut it to make into a grain mill for that matter).

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Old 08-05-2013, 05:04 PM   #7
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Well I just tried a little experiment that pretty much dissuaded me from attempting this project. I put a few kernels of 2-row through the rollers and they came out the other side completely unscathed. This tells me I probably would indeed have to replace the rollers so by the time I do that I'm betting I could just buy a nice mill. Oh well - it was a fun idea.

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Old 08-05-2013, 06:29 PM   #8
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Most "modern" ones use rubber rollers and they are designed to be soft enough to not crush buttons and zippers. Wouldnt be much fun if you had to replace every fastening device on your clothes after every wash. As you found out grains are tougher than buttons and zippers and the rubber rollers are useless.

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