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Manual Grain Mills

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I'm on the verge of buying a grain mill and have a question for those of you that have a manual model:

How long have you used your mill before you had to replace the plates or any other critical part?

I want to get something to be as prepared as possible and I think having a manual grain mill is a critical prep for all sorts of reasons including having the ability to store wheat and the likes for long-term periods of time.

I know the manual mill offered by Pleasant Hill is pretty highly rated but are there other quality hand-cranked mills out there and if so what is an expected life-expectancy for the plats and other components?
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I've been using my Country Living mill since the '90s and haven't had to replace anything. I don't use it as heavily as I would if it was post SHTF, but I've put a lot of miles on it so far. Most good mills will last a lifetime but it's always wise to have spares just the same.
 

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Knowledge is Power
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There are lots of manual grain mills out there, but do your homework. If you want something that will grind flour then you probably don't want one of the cheap cast iron ones that you'll see. They don't grind fine enough for wheat flour, but they do a good job with cornmeal. The Country Living mill is good, but pricey. The Norpro mill is good for making flaked oats. Many cheaper mills will be labeled as grist mills instead of flour mills. I did a lot of research and bought a back2basics mill. It does a good job with wheat, but whole corn kernels get stuck a little bit so I have to feed it slowly and keep jamming a spoon handle or something in it to force the kernels into the grinding hole. Also, the hopper is a little small, but is similar to other designs. Like other mills, I have to put an improvised cover over the outlet to keep fine flour in the bowl instead of on the counter. Overall, it is a good piece for the price, but it takes a little work to grind corn. I may get a cheap cast iron mill just to do the corn and keep the back2basics just for the wheat. The cost of both of those mills will still be much less than a Country living mill, but the Country living mill gets great reviews and seems to be well built.

I hope that helps.
 

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I have control issues
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Like Pangea, I have the GrainMaker mill. It has a lifetime warranty on all of the parts. They DO have "extra" parts available for sale, for those of us who prefer to have "backups" in case of SHTF, or to reduce "down" time while replacement parts may be in transit, but everything is so well made, that you'd have to SERIOUSLY abuse the thing for anything to break. It's not a cheap mill, but they DO offer a "layaway" plan, and it's made right here in the USA, in Montana. I have personally met the people who make it (REALLY nice people!)--it is a family business...the Dad and sons make the mills, and Mom handles the business/marketing end, with help from the kids. It all started because she asked her husband to make a mill for her--she wasn't happy with the ones that were available, so had him make one to HER specifications. She uses it all the time, and friends/family then asked for him to make mills for them, so the business was born.
 

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Definitely the Country Living Grain Mill. It is built tough and you can change the auger to grind corn and beans.

The back to basics is great if you're grinding a few ounces of wheat per day, but a loaf of bread takes upwards of a pound of ground wheat. I got blisters after a few minutes. It's better than nothing I guess.
 

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I bought a Country Living Mill three years ago, so it is much too early to tell when the first part wears out.

But I put a request in my will, so that my great great grand children remember so send you a PM when the first set of grinding plates or something wears out.:D:
I have a feeling that might take a while. I have a Country Living Mill as well and I don't see it wearing out any time soon.
 

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Like Pangea, I have the GrainMaker mill. It has a lifetime warranty on all of the parts. They DO have "extra" parts available for sale, for those of us who prefer to have "backups" in case of SHTF, or to reduce "down" time while replacement parts may be in transit, but everything is so well made, that you'd have to SERIOUSLY abuse the thing for anything to break. It's not a cheap mill, but they DO offer a "layaway" plan, and it's made right here in the USA, in Montana. I have personally met the people who make it (REALLY nice people!)--it is a family business...the Dad and sons make the mills, and Mom handles the business/marketing end, with help from the kids. It all started because she asked her husband to make a mill for her--she wasn't happy with the ones that were available, so had him make one to HER specifications. She uses it all the time, and friends/family then asked for him to make mills for them, so the business was born.
How do you like your mill? I've been shopping around for one and this seems very sturdily built. Best of all it's handmade in America!
 

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Sky Soldier
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I just purchased a Augason Farms Hand Wheat Grinder from Sam's Club. I recieved it and opened it up to find a Back to Basics Grain Mill, I have made six loafs this week with Hard White Wheat for Walmart for around $12 for a 25 lb bag.

This morning I stopped by a Health/kitchen supply store and found that they sell 25 lbs bags of hard red/white for $9. The store is 4 blocks from me and I would have never guessed.

I was speaking to the shopkeeper and she was trying to sell me an electric wondermill. I explained I had a hand operated one already, and she replied , "Oh! That will be nice when there is no electricity!", I told her that "suppose it would be." I thought it odd evn though thats why I bought it.
 

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I just purchased a Augason Farms Hand Wheat Grinder from Sam's Club. I recieved it and opened it up to find a Back to Basics Grain Mill, I have made six loafs this week with Hard White Wheat for Walmart for around $12 for a 25 lb bag.

This morning I stopped by a Health/kitchen supply store and found that they sell 25 lbs bags of hard red/white for $9. The store is 4 blocks from me and I would have never guessed.

I was speaking to the shopkeeper and she was trying to sell me an electric wondermill. I explained I had a hand operated one already, and she replied , "Oh! That will be nice when there is no electricity!", I told her that "suppose it would be." I thought it odd evn though thats why I bought it.
Trust me, if you actually bake bread regularly (I bake 2 whole wheat loaves most weeks), the Wonder Mill is worth the cost. Less than a minute for a pound. VERY good flour, I cannot believe how well the bread rises (better than commercial ground WW flour). I do need to see what sort of an inverter it requires to operate via battery, though.

And yeah, I need a backup mechanical...
 

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If you cannot afford the Country Living Mill, the Wondermill Jr. Deluxe is excellent and I bought mine for around $200 delivered. High quality. There are youtube tests on the Wondermill and probably the others as well.
 

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I found a health food store locally that carries bulk dry beans, grains (winter wheat, etc.) and rice. I would like to start adding ground beans to our diet regularly - in soups, crock pot creations, and gravies.

Thinking I will go with a Back to the Basics grinder but wondered if any of you have had experience with grinding dry beans in these grinders?

We have a Kitchen Aid mixer (picked up used for $40 at a flea market) which I'm sure has an attachment but it would be nice to have a back up or 2.
 

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Just got my back to basics mill yesterday and ground my first wheat today. It seemed to have a good reviews for being a reasonably priced mill. Put a small amount through twice to see what it would do and get rid of potential metal filings. Then I put a 1/2 cup through = about a cup of flour. It was pretty good, not as fine as commercial flour, but I ended up with a decent product. I mixed up a partial whole wheat loaf in my bread machine and came out pretty good. I'm a small household, so it'll suit my needs fine. I will give corn a try, just to see how it does.
 

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I found a health food store locally that carries bulk dry beans, grains (winter wheat, etc.) and rice. I would like to start adding ground beans to our diet regularly - in soups, crock pot creations, and gravies.

Thinking I will go with a Back to the Basics grinder but wondered if any of you have had experience with grinding dry beans in these grinders?

We have a Kitchen Aid mixer (picked up used for $40 at a flea market) which I'm sure has an attachment but it would be nice to have a back up or 2.
Watch out on those Kitchen Aid mixers. The gearbox(and gears within) are made of nylon and will quickly strip if you're using the attachment. They do have a metal gearbox that you can order and install yourself. Taking it apart is not hard, but do it somewhere you can easily clean up, and don't wear clothes you wanna keep when doing it, cuz that entire head is packed with grease. The metal gearbox is standard on the professional mixers they sell, but the residential models are made with they nylon, because most end users won't be using the attachments (like the grain mill) on a daily basis.
 
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