Learn how to build a boka still with our easy step-by-step guide.
Lots of distillers prefer to build their own moonshine stills because it gives them more control over the size of the still. Some believe making your own still can save them a bit of money. While most will not save money by making their own still, they will probably learn something and have fun along the way.
Boka stills are some of the most popular still designs amongst DIY moonshine bootleggers. In this guide, we are going to have a quick look at the best way to build a boka still.
What Is A Boka Still?
Image courtesy of @ @imbikatolyesi
The boka still or Bokakob reflux still was originally designed by Alex Bokakob. This is one of the most popular still designs because it is fairly easy to build at home. These reflux stills are easy to operate and can be used to yield 95% AVB spirits where it is usually very hard to reach the proof of this high spirit using a pot still.
Boka stills are also classified as LM column reflux stills because Liquid Management (LM) is used to control reflux in these stills.
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How Much Does It Cost To Build a Moonshine Still?
The cost of building your own moonshine still depends on the size of still you choose to build, the type of still you want to make, and the materials you have available at home.
Reflux stills are typically more expensive to build than pot stills. The copper materials required for building your own still can be quite pricey.
For most moonshiners, building a pot still usually ends up costing $200 and up, especially if they want to build a particularly large still.
For many people, it is much easier and cheaper to buy a pot still online because these are currently available at very good prices.
How Do You Make A Reflux Still?
To build your own reflux still, you will need quite a few materials and tools. You will also need to have the required skills for operating certain tools such as blowtorches and pipe cutters. Here is a quick look at reflux still you can make at home relatively easily;
- 2ft ½” OD copper
- 6ft ¼” copper tubing
- 1 x 1 ½” copper end cap
- 1 x sheet of copper plates
- 15ft ¼” plastic water pipe
- 1 x ¼” needle valve
- 1 x lead-free solder roll
- 2 x ¼” stainless steel hose clamps
- 1 x digital thermometer
- 1 x 30l stainless steel pot and lid
- 1 x stainless steel kitchen sink drain
- Packing materials (stainless steel scrubbies or copper packaging)
- 2 x 5/8” wood dowel
- Blow torch
- Pipe cutter
- Needle nose pliers
- Flathead screwdriver
- ½” wrench
- 400 grit sandpaper
- 3/8” drill bit
- Tin snips
- Adjustable wrench
How Do You Make A Homemade Still?
Once you have collected all the tools required, it is time for you to get to work on your own homemade still. Here is a quick look at the right steps to take to build this still.
Build the copper condenser
Grab your wooden dowel and ¼” copper tubing. Create a coil by bending the copper tubing around the dowel. Be careful to ensure that the tubing runs in the same direction and do not kink your tubing. Keep bending your tubing in a circular motion. You should now have a tightly woven copper coil with two straight pieces of tubing sticking down.
Cut the slanted plates and slots
- Find a slated pipe template that suits your 1 ½” column.
- Trace the template onto your copper sheet and cut using tin snips. File the edges smooth. When you are finished, you should have upper and lower copper collection plates.
- You can now cut the slots for the upper and lower copper collection plates.
- These plates are used to collect distillate from the condenser and allow it to exit your still via a needle valve.
- Use your template and trace out the slot on your column. You can use a hack saw to cut the slot in your column. The plates should slide inside your column with ease.
Cut the column and drill holes
- Grab your 1 ½” copper pipe and cut it 24” long
- Drill a ¼” hole beneath the lowest point under the bottom plate. This is where the sprits will exit your still.
- Drill another ¼” hole below the upper plate for the thermometer.
- Take your copper end cap and drill two ¼” holes in the cap. These will be the inlet and outlet tubes for your condenser. You should line these holes up with the downward tubes of the copper condenser you previously built.
Solder your column together
- Grab your coil condenser, slide it into the holes of the copper end cap, and solder it in place with the coil tightly against the cap.
- You can now slide this coil into your column. The end cap should fit nicely over the column. Do not solder it together. You need to be able to remove the coil for cleaning and capping it loosely will prevent pressure from forming in your column.
- Slide your collector plates into their slots and solder them in tight. Be careful to leave no holes for leaks.
- Grab your leftover ¼” copper tubing and cut it 4” long. Give it a 90-degree bend (don’t kink it) and insert it inside the hole above the bottom collector plate. Solder it in place with the bend facing downward.
- Solder your needle valve to the end of this ¼” copper tube you just added to your column.
- Cut another piece of ¼” copper tubing 2” long. Solder this piece onto the other side of the needle valve you just soldered into the copper tube. This piece will guide your liquid into a collection container.
- Grab your ¼” copper tubing again, cut it to ½” long ad solder it into the hole you drilled below the upper plate in the column. Your thermometer will be placed inside this tube.
Attach your column to your boiler
Find the center of your pot’s lid and mark with an x
- Measure the radius of your sink drain. Subtract ½” from this radius and circle a line around the x you drew on your lid.
- Cut out the circle to the exact same size you just drew
- You can now disassemble the sink drain and reassemble it around the hole with the top part of the drain facing up.
- Remove the brass nut from the bottom of the sink drain. Solder the brass flange you removed into the bottom of the column you previously created. You can now screw the column into the sink drain so it will stand upright on the pot.
Set up and test
You should now be finished with the construction of your reflux still. You can now give everything a proper clean and assemble the full boka still and test it.
- Attach your pot lid to the column via the sink drain. Hand tightening is sufficient.
- Attach the ¼” water line to the inlet and outlet of the condenser and fasten with hose clamps.
- Slide your condenser unit into the top column. The column should fit tight inside your copper end cap.
- Place your digital thermometer in the slot you created for it.
Your boka still should now be completed and will be ready to use. Now go and find a good moonshine recipe and give your contraption a try.
A Better Alternative
Does this sound like more work than you are willing to take on? It is usually cheaper (and always easier) to purchase a quality still instead of making your own.
Our Magnum All-in-One Copper Coil still is a great alternative to making your own boka reflux still.
The Magnum is-as the name suggests-a huge still. At 50L, the still can run even the largest recipes. It has dual vapor chambers and copper coils. This means that your output is a higher ABV in a single run without any sulphur.
The Magnum is also a fermentor. This means that there is less to buy and store. A Magnum is a great investment in taking your shining to the next level.