Millstone (photo)

Mikey(SoCal-Z10-22/23)November 12, 2005

I recently made this millstone and placed it in my garden yesterday. This section of the garden is being renovated, thus the bare dirt....

The millstone is 25" in diameter and 7" thick, thus I'm fortunate that it rolls easily.... It is still in the curing process. - Mike

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That looks really great. Once moss grows it will look perfect. You say it's heavy...could you have placed some polystyrene inside as you packed in the hypertufa, maybe?

lol, I'm well impressed :o) What did you use as a mould?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 3:22AM
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My climate is so dry (Mediterranean) that lychen will grow here but not moss...... The mold was formed using 8" wide steel roof flashing that is available in our Home Depot stores. They also sell aluminum flashing but it was not rigid enough so I used the steel flashing. After cutting the flashing to the desired length, I clamped it and then used aluminum flashing tape to secure it in place.

I put the mold on a concrete patio area, laying a scrap of a garbage bag on the bottom. I cut a 4x4 for the center hole and braced the outside of the mold with bricks and concrete block.

I then made up a couple batches of tufa mix and filled it. I then placed a couple boards on top with bricks on them and then removed the outside brick and concrete bracing so the form would be perfectly round. The mix was wetter than I intended and thus you can see the moisture on the concrete patio.

Even though the 4x4 was well greased with Crisco, I had a dickens of a time getting it out of the hole three days later. I had sanded one end of the 4x4 to give is a bit of a taper, but obviously that wasn't enough. I should have shaved much more wood off to account for swelling and/or I should have wiggled it back and forth several times during the setting time.

After three days I cut the aluminum flashing tape and peeled back the flashing and the greased mold opened up easily. I then took a wire brush to the millstone and punched out the 4x4. - Mike

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 1:33PM
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Great job :)

Thanks for the photos, they've made the process very clear.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 4:50PM
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andrea_san_diego(z10 So Cal)

That is so very, very cool. I've wanted to make one and now you've layed out the instructions so perfectly, I think I'll try it. I'd like to use a millstone as a fountain in my garden but they are so expensive that making one is the only way to go.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 4:55PM
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Hi Mikey
You might try a chunk of styrofoam instead of wood or wrap your chunk of wood with Plastic kitchen wrap. That way the chunk of wood will just fall out and it also won't suck moisture from your tufa.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 4:58PM
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andrea_san_diego(z10 So Cal)

Here's a link to a fountain that you could make by stacking millstones.

Here is a link that might be useful: concrete fountain

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 5:38PM
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Buddyfly(4A/4B Ont)

I LOVE it Mikey! I am inspired to try making one as well! Thanks for the visuals. The nice folks at this forum are always so helpful with showing us how they do stuff.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 6:22PM
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It's terrific Mike! I think I might have to try as soon as I get a chance. Do millstones have any historical significance in your area or do you simply like the looks of them? I seem to recall someone else here made a millstone that had grooves carved in it. Hmmm... got me thinking, will have to do a search.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful photo-torial. Most inspiring!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 6:43PM
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myback_garden(6b ON Canada)

Your millstone looks great Mike.

I just made one as well yesterday morning....demolded and did some carving (I made some grooves on it and patterned it all the way around) to-day.

I used a 45 gallon hard plastic (about 1/4' thickness) drum that my hubby ran through one of his power saws at 6" heights. We were able to get 6 mold rings out of it. My millstone is 24" round and about 4" thick.

I will take some pics tommorrow evening and try to get them posted.
We were in Aylmer this afternoon and I saw a pretty big millstone at the entrance to their fairgrounds. I asked Steve if he will take some photo's of it for me tommorrow so I will post them as well if he gets them

I had been wanting to make a millstone all summer for a waterfall as well..but have been waaay to busy to play much in the mud or get on this forum(although I have been sneaking in every few weeks when I have gotten a moment or two.)
With the colder weather settling in around us( I have a nice workshop in my basement that hubby made for me last year) I am hoping I will put it to good use throughout the winter. There are so many things I am wanting to make.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 10:50PM
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sereneseen(z4 IA)

Mike you millstone is great! I love it. I was wondering what type of tufa mix you used. Thanks for photo-torial too. Very helpful.

Does anyone know how a tufa millstone will hold up as a fountain after it is cured?

Thanks again Mike.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 10:59PM
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Serene - I'm not much of an expert, but I guess if you left out the peat from the mixture, used a waterproofing admixture instead of water, cured it well, then it would be pretty waterproof.

I guess you've inspired everyone, Mikey! Can't wait to try this out.

The previous poster was right about the wood swelling because of water from the mixture seeping in.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 3:28AM
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Serene: The mix ratio was 3 peat, 2 perlite, 1 vermiculite and 2 1/2 cement.

GardenChicken: It's possible the Spanish missions used them but I'm not sure. They certainly aren't commonly seen here and I just liked the rustic look they add.

Myback Garden: I look forward to seeing your project as well.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 8:20PM
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ltd123(6A southern Ind)

Photos make the message so easy to understand! Thanks.
About what weight would you estimate this millstone is?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 9:46PM
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rustinj(z7 AL)


Great job...thanks for the pictures. How heavy is it?


    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 8:07AM
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I would estimate it to weigh 80-90 lbs.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 10:40PM
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Zowie! Great project. Thanks for the great pics, instructions AND inspiration!.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 1:56PM
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While looking at this old post I noticed I didn't post a follow-up photo of the millstone in place.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 1:34PM
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That looks great Mike. I have wanted to make one and now may actually try it in the spring. Too late now to do it.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 8:43AM
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