|Originally Posted By midmo:
Originally Posted By robpiat:
Seems like I saw a new US maker with a red one or something that was comparable to the Country living....I forget the name. I don't remember whether it was cheaper or about the same price.
The Grain Maker mill... thread is here:
Grain Maker vs. CLGM thread
Yep...Also found this review last night
The first thing I noticed about the Grain Maker, besides its fire-engine-red powder coating, was its impressive all steel construction. With a shipping weight of 23 pounds and the price of $425.00, it is definitely a sturdy piece of machinery. Its frame is built on a tube of steel with welded joints. Equally impressive are the steel plates, which show some intricate machining.
The Grain Maker comes with a limited lifetime warranty and I with this kind of construction I can see why the manufacturers (BitterRoot Tool and Machine) were willing to back up their product.
The flywheel is a few inches smaller than that of the Country Living Grain Mill, but the extension bar is long enough so that it equals that of the Country Living Mill with the power bar extension accessory––and provides the same amount of leverage.
The proof of the grinder is in the flour, so I mounted the Grain Maker to an immovable work bench with washers and wood screws and set about to give the Grainmaker a test run.
The adjustment knob requires a provided hex key wrench to adjust the consistency of the flour. The hood sits directly over the plates and knob, and I found it difficult to adjust because of the minimal clearance between the knob and the hood. Those with smaller fingers might have an easier time of it. However, the hood is removable and the plates can be adjusted more easily without it in the way.
I adjusted the grinding plates so that the mill was producing a decent, but slightly gritty, bread flour (about a 7 on the scale of 1 to 10: 10 being a cake flour). The first thing that I noticed was that the mill was next to impossible to turn with one hand (some background: I'm 190 pounds and lift weights to stay fit). I could only get short bursts of motion, and not enough sustained momentum to make an entire revolution of the flywheel.
Seeing that it was necessary to use both hands, I found that the handle was a couple of inches too short to comfortably use both hands, but by overlapping I was able to get the mill moving––barely. This mill, plainly, wasn't designed for manual use by anyone but Hercules or the Incredible Hulk. After five minutes of grinding I felt as though I had done three sets of bench presses, and I discovered the weak point in the mill's construction. The handle is a drilled plastic rod with some foam padding for comfort. By the end of five minutes the foam padding had slipped off and torn.
The literature that comes with the Grainmaker suggests that you should "expect to output one cup of flour a minute." This may be true for a very coarse flour, but I found that for a slightly gritty bread flour that 2 1/2 minutes per cup is closer to the truth. This is still quite speedy, but you'll need someone burly to do the grinding.
Close inspection of the instructions suggests that it "may be necessary to take out the stainless steel Grainbreaker auger for easier grinding". I think that not only may it be necessary, but you should immediately take the Grainbreaker auger out of the mill and toss it into the garbage can.
With the Grainbreaker removed the difficulty of grinding grain with the Grainmaker finally falls into the realm of capability of the less than super-human. The mill will produce a finer flour (8 on the scale of 10) at a rate of one cup per 3 1/2 minutes. The mill still requires a fair amount of torque to turn––more torque than it takes to turn a Country Living Mill equipped with the power bar extension handle option.
Another claim that I put to the test is the assertion that the Grainmaker can do peanuts. The nuts wouldn't feed, so I had to mash them into tiny bits. At this point the bits began to feed into the grinding plates. Unfortunately, those bits never exited––even when I loosened the grinding plates. The only peanut butter that I managed to produce was the goo stuck between the plates. Any claim that the Grainmaker can grind oily product like nuts or seeds appears to be founded in wishful thinking.
Let's face it. Hand grinding flour is hard work, but grinding flour with the Grainmaker is harder work than comparable mills. Its saving grace is that, like the Diamant and Country Living Mill, it has a v-groove in the flywheel, which can be hooked to a motor. However, if you plan to motorize your Grainmaker you'd better make sure your motor has plenty of torque.