Sealing Technique for alembic stills
Hand-made and hammered from sheets of copper to form gentle and gracious curves, there are no two alembic pot stills that are identical in diameter. Each lid is specially made to fit into each pot. Being hand-made there might be some slight slack between the separate pieces.To seal off any eventual vapour leaks a very simple technique may be used - flour and water.
Simply mix the flour with some water to make wet soft dough in a small recipient. Then with your fingers simply push and rub this mixture into the joints of all the items.
When assembling your pot still, insert the swan neck into the pot with gentle pressure. Also connect the swan neck to the condenser. When vapours start to rise, should a leak occur simply add some dough to this leaking area.
After years of usage some natural slack may occur between the copper pot and the swan neck lid and should sealed off to prevent the escape of vapours.
To loosen the separate parts of the still for cleaning once distillation is complete, simply give a direct blow with the heel of your palm upwards to the rim of the separate pieces.The dough comes off easily.
An alternative method is the use of silicon tape or any other sealing tape that will sustain high temperatures. Take care not to tape the alembic joints excessively as the objective is to seal off escaping vapours and allow the alembic hood to pop off should an obstruction in the piping cause excessive pressure build up.