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June 9, 2014

How To Make Flour Paste For Distilling

How Copper Stills Were Sealed

Once assembled, Clawhammer copper stills will actually be comprised of 2 pieces: the boiler assembly and the column assembly (see the picture below). These two parts are NOT permanently attached. This allows the still to be taken apart to allow for filling, cleaning, and easy storage. However, the upper and lower assemblies must be sealed together before the still can be used.

Before we get started, a reminder: Distilling alcohol is illegal without a federal fuel alcohol or distilled spirit plant permit as well as relevant state permits. Our distillation equipment is designed for legal uses only and the information in this article is for educational purposes only. Please read our complete legal summary for more information on the legalities of distillation.

Because this still is designed to be a replica of vintage copper distillers, we are going to show you how the "old-timers" sealed their stills. However, please note, if a still has not been sealed properly, vapor could escape from the joint. If being used to distill alcohol, alcohol vapor could escape from the joint. A leaky still should never be used, especially in a confined space. Alcohol vapor is explosive at high concentrations. So, always seal the still properly and never distill indoors unless proper code requirements for ventilation and fire suppression have been met.

Rye flour paste is the traditional method used by master distillers of the old days to seal seams on copper stills. Below is the recipe and procedure that was used. Note, we do not recommend any particular method for sealing a still. The sealing method is the users discretion. But in any case, the seam between the lower and upper portions of the a still must be sealed before use.

Vintage Rye Flour Paste Recipe

Clawhammer Copper Still

  • 3/4 cup rye flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Mix the rye flour and water together with hands
  • Roll the flour paste into a snake
  • Once the boiler reaches 115 degrees apply the flour paste to the still
  • As the still heats up the rye flour paste will cook onto the still creating a seal at the joint
  • Always monitor the still to make sure that vapor is not escaping from the column assembly joint. Re-apply paste if needed.

Do not distill at home unless you have the proper permits. It is illegal to distill alcohol at home for consumption. The information set forth above are provided for informational purposes only are not intended to be relied upon by any person, or entity, as a basis for any act or decision whatsoever. Please read our legal summary and disclaimer, as well as and terms of use before purchasing or using any of our products.

  • Can plumbers putty be used to seal?

    Posted by dan on November 20, 2021
  • Will paper mache work to seal a small leak i know paste will but you have to reapply sometimes

    Posted by Charles on November 13, 2021
  • i make a lot of wine and beer but i want to make some whiskey plan to
    buy a small still soon

    Posted by william boone on September 26, 2019
  • does anyone know a relatively easy way to mount a thermometer to my 10 gallon copper pot? I’d rather not drill any holes in the pot but will if that’s the best way.

    thank you, kind Sirs.

    Posted by ken on August 19, 2019
  • My paste starts leaking after a while of boiling, is that normal ?

    Posted by Kevin on July 31, 2019
  • Will this work on any kind of still?

    Posted by Outlawviking on February 22, 2019
  • hello, I just bought a still(10 gal, all copper with thumper) I ran some water thru it at 220 degrees, and recleaned it, I was going to make a sugar run to start the finial clean out, my question is can I SAVE SOME OF THE FINISHED RUN TO REUSE IN MY THUMPER ON NEXT RUN? OR DO I THROW IT ALL AWAY? THANKS CHRIS

    Posted by chris on May 19, 2018
  • Noob Comment:
    Has anyone ever tried flour tortillas?
    It’s what I use for Chicken/dumplings because it’s much easier than mixing the flour & water.
    I may try soaking some strips of them in water to get them loose then put them on.
    Any thoughts?

    Posted by Tdick on August 17, 2017
  • How do i get the rye flour off my still easily after done stilling?

    Posted by Rachell on July 18, 2017
  • to the person with the sealing problem i use damp paper towels rolled up to make a gasket clamp down & it should be fine

    Posted by bud on February 08, 2017
  • hold on mate, save those peach pulp squeesings. put them up in small containers and refrigerate. next time you have a bowl of ice cream add some peach pulp!!!!!!! and smile, smile, smile.

    Posted by gafftop on September 22, 2016
  • Pancake mix and water works great as well

    Posted by SUpermf on September 03, 2016
  • I use corn meal and flour to water works good for me

    Posted by Roosterman on May 19, 2016
  • Is there a permanent way to seal the lid.

    Posted by Carl Mott on May 03, 2016
  • I’ve been trying to make a paste to seal a lid on a stainless steel pot but I kept getting leaks. I used regular flour and water and put it along he indent ion on the inside of the lid and kind of made some to lap over the lid and pot on the outside. Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong? I even tried clamps and just putting bricks on top of the lid and it’s still leaking. Thanks guys! Would appreciate the help

    Posted by Lethie on January 01, 2016
  • i just used flour and water. worked fine. I tried gluten free flour once, its all we had at the house, that did not work well. it didn’t mix into a putty, there was like grains in it like sand it felt like. I made it work in the end, but i would never try it again. Just a word of advice, stay away from gluten free. I only used it because i was lazy and didn’t read the label and assumed it was regular flour.

    Posted by j on December 03, 2015
  • i just used flour and water. worked fine. I tried gluten free flour once, its all we had at the house, that did not work well. it didn’t mix into a putty, there was like grains in it like sand it felt like. I made it work in the end, but i would never try it again. Just a word of advice, stay away from gluten free. I only used it because i was lazy and didn’t read the label and assumed it was regular flour.

    Posted by j on December 03, 2015
  • Anybody got a picture of still working.
    Trying to see how condenser and wTer lines connect.
    Thanks chAs

    Posted by Chas Smith on September 25, 2015
  • SGT Greywolf,
    I altered this recipe to 1/4 cup oatmeal, 1/4 cup rye flour, and a 1/4 cup oat flour added to 1/3 cup of water. It smells like oatmeal cookies baking as it hardens up, and it flakes off fairly easy when you’re finished.

    Posted by Robert on August 29, 2015
  • I’ve used this recipe for the flour paste and it works great .. thanks for sharing. Fact is, it works so darned good I can hardly get it off when cleaning up. anybody Got any suggestions for that little chore?

    Posted by Sgt. Greywolf on August 16, 2015


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