Zebra pot distilation device

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memorire

Member
Jan 21, 2010
35
0
Germany
Hello,

I have just experimented a little bit with a 14cm Zebra billy can and it looks like you can use it to distill fresh water from salt water, if you ever need to.

You need only the billy, a cup which fits inside and something to raise the cup inside the billy. I used an empty tin can, with a hole punched into the bottom so it does not swim, because of the air bubble.

The setup is like that:

Put the empty tin can in the billy, put the cup (I used a 0,5l metal cup) on it and pour some dirty or salted water inside (i just used table salt) so it does not touch the cup. Put the lid on and boil away.

The lid has that indentation (under the grip) where I poured some cold water. The idea was that water would condense on the lid and then run on the indentation and then in the cup. I let it boil for 10-15 minutes and had a small sip of distilled water inside.

A lot of vapor was escaping under the lid, but still it worked. You would have to run it the whole time to have some useful amount of water, but it works.
 

memorire

Member
Jan 21, 2010
35
0
Germany
I doubt you can use this setup to distill alcohol because the collecting cup is in the hot environment itself, the alcohol would evaporate the whole time I suppose.
 

memorire

Member
Jan 21, 2010
35
0
Germany
Charles,

probably it would work, with a large enough receptacle inside the pot. But it would really need to have a diameter only a little bit smaller then the billy for water not to miss it. But the cooling would be really better. Maybe it can be somehow improved by using the nesting pot that comes with the billy and making a small dent in its bottom? Or used the way I described but cooling the lid with a rag, which is kept wet.

David,

there is even an easier way - a specialized distillation device. But that was not the point. What I found is another use for the Zebra billy. In the improbable situation that you have a billy and contaminated water. But it probably could be used to extract aetheric oils in the field too.
 

andythecelt

Nomad
May 11, 2009
261
2
Planet Earth
It's similar to a process used in many countries to produce a kind of hooch. The technique I use (or would if it was legal in the UK *coffcoff*) is to suspend a bowl inside a large soup pan filled with any dodgy home brew. Just use a wok on top filled with cold water and ice to keep it cool enough for the alcohol to condense on the underside, run down the lowest point and drip into the bowl. It's a bit crude because you have no way of monitoring the temperature, you have to guesstimate how long to boil the liquid in the pan to yield most of the alcohol without doing it long enough for the water to evaporate too and water down your hooch. I've tried running a large batch, then putting the product through the still again to get a purer alcohol. After a second run through it was flammable, and after a third run through the still it was good enough to power a meths stove.
 

Andy BB

Full Member
Apr 19, 2010
3,290
0
Hampshire
...just for heavens sake don't drink it! Nothing like a nice cup of methyl alcohol to turn the lights out..........................
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,497
1,618
S. Lanarkshire
For hooch it's easier just using the back step on an icy cold night......or the freezer if you're not being bushcrafty :)

Water freezes before the alcohol does, just let it half freeze and pour off the liquid ....it's quite a good way of clarifying cloudy stuff too :)

The zebra distillation set up works to make stuff like lavender waters too; not so much like essential oils, but certainly the water is strongly scented. Can be used with chamomile or roses, or the classic anti midge mixture of mugwort, melissa and myrica gale.

cheers,
Toddy
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,497
1,618
S. Lanarkshire
Have you tried bananas ? :D

Very well rounded taste, not bitter, very 'rum', and makes an interesting, adults only, sorbet.

cheers,
M
 

calgarychef

Forager
May 19, 2011
168
0
woking
I used to distill wine like that, but with a big pot. I'd take mum's largest stainless steel pot, spin off the plastic handle from the lid and turn it upside down. Then I'd put the home made wine I stole from dad in the pot but not too much at a time, a couple inches. Then I put three sticks in the pot and balanced a small bowl in the "crotch" the sticks made. Then put the lid on upside down and put some snow into the lid, then heat it on my camp stove outside. Always distill outside folks!! When the snow would melt down to water I'd use more snow as a "sponge" to remove the water and then add snow again. The alchohol we got was never very strong because of lack of effeciency etc. but it was way better than drinking that home made wine of dads!