The Best Method Of Setting Stills

If stills are not set right, great injury may accrue to them, in burning

and damaging the sides, singeing the whiskey, and wasting of fuel too,

are not the only disadvantages; but more damage may be done in six

months, than would pay a man of judgment for putting up twenty pair.

If they are set with their bottoms to the fire, they are very apt to

burn, without the utmost care of the distiller, in stirring her when
newly filled with cold beer, until she is warm, and by previously

greasing the bottom well when empty. If wood be plenty, stills ought to

be set on an arch, but if scarce, the bottom ought to be set to the

fire. The following method is calculated for a furnace of either two or

four feet long, and with the bottoms exposed, or on an arch as the

distiller may fancy.

Make up a quantity of well worked mortar, composed of the greater

proportion of good clay, a little lime and cut straw.

Lay the bottom of the furnace with flag stones, or good brick, from two

to four feet long, as may be deemed most proper, let it be from twelve

to sixteen inches wide, and from twelve to fourteen high. Then if it is

designed to turn an arch, set the end of a brick on each wall of the

furnace, leaning them over the furnace, till they meet in the middle--so

continue the range on each side, until the furnace is completely covered

in, leaving a small hole for the flue leading to the chimney behind,

leaning towards the side, from which the flue is to be started, to

proceed round the bilge of the still, which passage must be ten by four

inches wide.

After completing the arch as described, lay thereon a complete bed of

mortar, well mixed with cut straw, set the still thereon, levelling her

so that she will nearly empty her self by the stoop towards the cock;

then fill up all round her with mortar to the lower rivets, carefully

preventing any stone or brick from touching her, (as they would tend to

burn her) ... then build the fender or fenders; being a wall composed of

brickbats and clay well mixed with cut straw, build it from the

commencement of the flue, and continue it about half round the still ...

this is to prevent the flames from striking the still sides, in its hot

state, immediately after it leaves the furnace, presuming that it will

terminate before it reaches the end of this little wall or fender,

between which, and the still, a space of two inches ought to be left for

the action of the heat, which space preserves, and prevents the wall or

fender, from burning the still; the mode in common practice, being to

place it against the still, which will certainly singe or burn her. When

this defender is finished, commence a wall, which continue round, laying

a brick for a foundation, about four inches from the lower rivets; thus

raising this wall for the flue, continuing it at an equal distance from

the still, leaving a concave to correspond with the bilge of the still,

and to be of precisely the same width and height all round the still.

This precaution is absolutely necessary in building the wall of the flue

exactly to correspond with the form of the still, and equally distant

all round, for reasons 1st. The fire acts with equal force on every part

of the still, and a greater heat may be applied to her, without burning.

2d. It has a great tendency to prevent the still house from smoking.

When the wall of the flue is completed round the still, and raised so

high, that a brick when laid on the top of the wall will extend to the

rivets in the breast of the still or upper rivets, then completely

plaster very smooth and even, the inside of the flue, and then cover the

flue with a layer of brick, with a slight fall, or leaning a little from

the still outwards, so that if water were dropped thereon, it would run

off outwardly, carefully laying a layer of clay on the top of the wall,

on which the brick may rest, and thereby prevent the brick from burning

the still; carefully forming the brick with the trowel, so as to fit the

wall and rest more safely--cautiously covering them well with clay, &c.

and closing every crevice or aperture, to prevent smoak from coming

thro' or the heat from deserting the flue till it passes to the chimney

from the flue; then fill the still with water, and put a flow fire under

her to dry the work. When the wall begins to dry, lay on a coat of

mortar, (such as the next receipt directs), about two inches thick, when

this begins to dry, lay a white coat of lime and sand-mortar, smoothing

well with a trowel; rubbing it constantly and pressing it severely with

the trowel to prevent it from cracking.

There are many modes of setting stills and bringing the fire up by flues

variously constructed, but I have found the foregoing plan to afford as

great a saving of fuel, and bringing the still to a boil as early as any