Getting Ready to Roll

When I was first getting my studio put together I knew that a rolling mill was a must have for my design style. I was planning to pattern sheet and wire, reduce metal thicknesses,roll wire, and create graduated wire. And having my own rolling mill would give me the opportunity to do some fold forming and of course to create sheet from ingots that I’ve made from my scrap.But what a big commitment to make! I knew that I wanted a tool that would last a lifetime,or maybe longer. After doing a lot of research, I decided that a 120 millimeter combination with reduction gear would work perfectly in my studio. For what I needed the choices quickly narrowed down to only two, a Cavallin or a Durston rolling mill.

The Cavallin Rolling Mill is made in Italy, the Durston in England. Both of them are well-regarded and have been in business for many, many years. The Cavallin had pulled out of the US market for a few years ago but is back,stronger than ever.

I checked with several metalsmithing friends who have their own rolling mills. Two of them were kind enough to let me come into their Studios to play with both a Durston and Cavallin Mill.

I arrived with annealed metals, Copper and silver sheet, to my friend’s Studio. Her Durston is a beautiful machine. I easily rolled my 20 gauge silver down to a 24 gauge. And, she had some pattern papers that we ran the copper through with. All in all we had a lot of fun and the Durston is a terrific Mill. I was almost sold on the Durston at that exact moment, but I had already set up a time with the other friend to take a look at their Cavallin. A few days later I went to his Studio. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did.

Once again, I brought annealed metals, 20 gauge copper and 20 gauge sterling silver sheets to run through his machine. Because I was trying to compare the Cavallin and the Durston, I did everything that I had done before. I rolled the sterling silver down to a 24 gauge. I found it easier to do with the Cavallin mill. It was a true pleasure to work with and seemed a natural fit in my hands. My Durston friend had given me some of the patterned paper that we had used on her mill. I used this again on the copper sheet that I brought with excellent results.

After my Durston VS Cavallin test I came to the conclusion that both the Durston and the Cavallin are versatile, excellent quality Rolling Mills. They both offer excellent customer support, especially now that the Cavallin is represented in the United States again. The Cavallin simply felt “better” to me.

So, as you can probably tell by now, I ended up purchasing a Cavallin Rolling Mill for myself. I could not be happier with how much this has improved my work. I can’t imagine not having one at hand. The rolling mill in my studio makes my life so much easier, not to mention it saves me a lot of time! Time I can use to drink coffee and work on metals.