How to use a Durston rolling mill

Durston rolling mill

How to use a Durston rolling mill

No jeweller’s toolkit is complete without a rolling mill. Whether you are an expert jewellery maker or are just starting out in the field, the rolling mill is a vital tool for thinning wire and sheet metals, as well as imprinting patterns and textures onto metal. So now you have bought that longed-for Durston rolling mill, what now? Here is a straightforward guide to using the Durston rolling mill, as well as plenty of tips and tricks for getting the most from your machine.

pixomatic 1627378009806 - Maddisons UK

Durston Mini C80 Combination Rolling Mill 80mm

£750.00 inc. VAT
Made to order – delivery for this item up to 6 weeks
pixomatic 1627380059973 - Maddisons UK

Durston DRM C100RE Combination Rolling Mill 100mm

£1,110.00 inc. VAT
with Extension Rollers Made to order – delivery for this item up to 6 weeks
pixomatic 1627383795598 - Maddisons UK

Durston DRM W130 Powered Wire Rolling Mill

£3,300.00 inc. VAT
with Extension Rollers Made to order – delivery for this item up to 6 weeks

Everything you need to know about using a Durston rolling mill

Before using your Durston rolling mill, it should first be bolted securely to a stand or bench, which is itself bolted to the floor. When using it for the first time, you need to fit the turning lever by sliding it into place and attaching the grub screw using an Allen key. There will be a rust prevention substance on the rolls which needs to be removed first by applying white spirit sparingly with a clean cloth. Ensure the black plastic guards covering the gears are in place at all times whilst you’re using the machine, and only lift the mill from the base using at least 2 people as it is heavy.

To roll a metal sheet:

  1. Anneal your sheet metal first to make it easier to work with. Remove any impurities by pickling the metal and clean it with water.
  2. Dry the sheet thoroughly as damp metal can leave marks on rollers.
  3. Feed the dry metal into the mill using firm but not overpowering pressure on the rollers.
  4. Once the metal has been rolled through the mill, fold it over end to end and roll it again. Ensure you have lowered the rollers appropriately to get a snug fit first. Metal may need to be annealed again if it becomes tough to work with.
  5. Put metal through the rollers as many times as needed to reach your desired thickness.

When rolling wire, anneal it as many times as necessary throughout the process so it does not become tough. Roll wire two or three times in each groove, rotating 90 degrees on each pass. Make sure rolls are nearly closed at the last pass before going on to the next groove. If edges fray or the surface wrinkles it is often a sign that the wire has become too tough and should be annealed.

Once you have mastered the basic techniques of rolling the metal, you will be able to move on to printing techniques and let your creativity run free.


Getting the most out of your Durston rolling mill

  • Always use dry metal in your Durston rolling mill. Using damp metal will leave marks on rollers and may affect the maintenance of your rolling mill.
  • Roll metals gradually and gently – never be too aggressive as this could cause permanent damage to your metals or your machine. Rollers should be tight enough to feel resistance when you roll, but not so tight that they are difficult to turn.
  • Practice makes perfect so always start by testing out your machine and your technique with some scrap materials before using anything you do not wish to damage.
  • Try some premade pattern plates to imprint patterns on your metals. Patterns can also be imprinted using a piece of paper, picture, or even a paper towel. Try this technique with copper for the best results as it is easy to run through the rolling mill.
  • Spend time getting to know and understand your Durston rolling mill. Play around with textures and techniques and remember, practise really does make perfect!


Whichever type of Durston rolling mill you are using, from the Durston mini rolling mill to the Durston combination rolling mill, with a bit of practice you’ll soon be able to elevate your jewellery making skills to create some of your best work yet. Maddisons of Durham stock a vast range of Durston products for you to choose from, so why not browse the full collection today.

Please ensure you thoroughly read the manufacturer’s instructions before using your machine.