Moonshining as a Fine Art: The Foxfire Americana Library - Foxfire Students (2011)
A GLOSSARY OF STILL PARTS AND TOOLS
Bale—wire or chain strapped across top of cap to keep it from blowing off during the cooking process.
Cap—the top third of the still. It is removable so that the still can be filled after a run.
Cap Arm—the copper pipe connecting the cap with the next section of the still; it conveys steam to this section.
Cape—the bulge in the main body of the still. It is the point of greatest circumference.
Collar—the connection for the cap and the body of the still.
Condenser—a two-walled, sealed pipe which is submerged in water. Steam forced into the top condenses and flows out the bottom.
Flake Stand—the container through which water is constantly flowing for final condensation of the steam. Holds the worm, condenser, or radiator, depending on which apparatus is being used.
Funnel—usually holds whatever material you are using to strain the whiskey. Whiskey passes through it and into the jug or jar.
Furnace—stone structure in which the still sits for heating.
Headache Stick—the long thump rod.
Heater Box (or pre-heater)—a device which heats the fresh beer which will be used in the next run (see diagram on this page).
Long Thump Rod—an open-ended copper pipe which conveys the steam into the bottom of the thump barrel where it is released.
Mash Stick—the stick used to break up the cap that forms over the mash and stir up the contents of the barrel. Sometimes it is made of a stick which has a crook in the end. Several holes are drilled in this crook, and pegs are inserted to form a comb-like device. It can also be a stick with several nails driven in the side.
Plug Stick—a hickory or white oak stick with a bundle of rags fastened to one end. The rags jam into the slop arm thus sealing the bottom of the still.
Proof Vial—a glass tube used to check the bead of the whiskey. A Bateman Drop bottle was the most popular as it held exactly one ounce, and was just the right shape. Others used now are bottles that rye flavoring comes in, or a government gauge.
Relay Arm—the pipe connection from the bottom of the relay barrel back into the still.
Relay Barrel or Dry Barrel—a fifty-gallon barrel with connections for the cap arm, relay arm, and a long thump rod. Catches “puke” from the still during boiling and conveys it back into the still.
Still—the container into which the beer is placed for boiling. Also called the Evaporator, Boiler, Kettle, or Cooker. The name can also refer to the entire operation from the evaporator through the flake stand.
Swab Stick or Toothbrush—a hickory stick half as thick as your arm and long enough to reach from the top to the bottom of the still. One end is beaten up well so that it frazzles and makes a fibrous swab. This is used to stir the beer in the still while waiting for it to come to a boil, thus preventing it from sticking to the sides of the still, or settling to the bottom and burning. If the latter happens, the whiskey will have a scorched taste.
Thump Barrel—also Thumper or Thump-Post—a barrel which holds fresh beer, and through which steam from the still bubbles thus doubling its strength. The strengthened steam moves from here into the short thump rod which carries it either into the heater box, or into the flake stand.
Worm—a copper tube, usually sixteen to twenty feet long which is coiled up so that it stands about two feet high and fits inside a barrel. Water flows around it for condensing the steam which passes into it from the still.