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Lee Household Flour Mill - my Review / Evaluation

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subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Lee Household Flour Mill - my Review / Evaluation

LEE HOUSEHOLD FLOUR MILL

I'm in love with Lee...

The Lee Household Flour Mill is an electric grain mill manufactured by EM Lee Engineering. Purchased new, models start at $556. However, used mills are available at times on eBay at significantly reduced prices. I purchased a model S-600 on eBay several months ago and have been exploring the mill's capabilities since then.

Choice of Four Models

MODEL

MOTOR SIZE

OUTPUT PER HOUR

 Operating Voltage
    115 AC-DC
 Current Draw
    3.0 amperes
 Overall Height
    20 inches
 Shipping Weight
    20 pounds

FINE FLOUR

COARSE MEAL

 500 1/6 H.P. 3 to 5 LBS. Not Adjustable
 600 1/6 H.P. 3 to 5 LBS. 20 to 25 LBS.
 S-500 1/4 H.P. 6 to 10 LBS. Not Adjustable
 S-600 1/4 H.P. 6 to 10 LBS. 40 to 45 LBS.

The S-600 model I purchased is this company's top of the line flour mill. It is a one-pass variable grind electric mill that uses a unique design for milling grain. It is adjustable from a coarse mill to a very fine flour. To-date, I have used it primarily to mill fine flour from hard spring wheat for bread and soft wheat flour for pasta and cookies. I have also milled a very coarse corn grits (from popcorn).

I have been extremely impressed with the fine flour this mill can produce. The flour I mill from hard spring wheat (red or white) is virtually indistinguishable in feel from a standard, commercial bread or all-purpose flour yet it is entirely 100% whole wheat. I also own a Nutrimill (micronizer) grain mill and I feel that the Lee Household Flour Mill produces a better fine flour.

This mill does have limitations. Like a micronizer mill, it is not capable of remilling flour. It cannot mill bean flour or small size grain such as millet or amarinth. It is difficult to clean. The units that become available on eBay may be missing some parts (most usually the flour receptacle bag and the lid for the grain hopper).

On eBay, I paid $125 (plus $15 shipping) for a working stone-based mill that can mill fine to coarse flour for most of the grains that home-millers use (wheat, rye, spelt, corn). Given the price, I'm willing to live with this mill's limitations, though I would be the first to admit that this mill is definitely not for everyone.

If anyone wants additional information on this mill, please post back to this thread or PM me (I have done extensive searches and have collected most of the information available on the 'net relating to this mill). I would be delighted to exchange information with you on this mill.

===== Selected Internet Resources about the Lee Household Flour Mill ==========

freerangegourmet.com/Docs/LeeFlourMill - the primary source for documents (user manual and other documents) on the Lee Household Flour Mill. All documents are in Adobe Acrobat's pdf format and can be downloaded to your computer.

www.eminstrumentswi.com/lee.html - information on models from the original manufacturing company, Lee Engineering.

weldon's picture
weldon

Have you confirmed that the company doesn't make them still


http://www.eminstrumentswi.com/lee.html


still lists them on the webpage, and we bought on about 2.5 years ago from them.  They said they still make them when I called.  An email to the company might be in order.

I have to agree about the mill, I love ours.  We inherited one from my wife's grandmother which broke (turned out to be a 20$ part) and we tried several other grain mills before I found the company, which happily sent me the parts I needed and a new model we paid for so we had a spare and so we could adjust the grind of the flour easily.  They aren't cheap, but the one we inherited has ground several tons of grain in its 40 year life and is still going strong.  (Nana made bread once a week and my wife makes 5 loaves a week for the family, all whole wheat, that turns into a good bit of wheat.)


 

weldon's picture
weldon

Lee engineering is still making the grain mill.  I sent them an email last night and lo and behold, first thing this morning I've got a response say yes they still make it and here's some info on it.  The prices when I bought our recent one weren't cheap, but it's the best mill around (I've tried flour from 8 different grain mills) and will last you your lifetime.  If you find one on ebay they also have all the spare parts for the machines so you can get the lid for the grain hopper or a new bag without problems.


Happy bread making

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

weldon on Sep 23  2009 wrote:
...it's the best mill around (i've tried flour from 8 different grain mills)

Please tell me the other (8) grain mills you've tried. I would be interested in your evaluation of the Lee Household Flour Mill vs these other grain mills.


It would be helpful to know what grain(s) you routinely mill for bread baking and the quantity you mill at a time for each mill.


Thank you - SF


======= PS ========


I sent you a PM to THANK YOU for your initiative in contacting the manufacturer of the Lee Household Flour Mill. I eMailed the manufacturer inquiring about replacement parts (specifically the cloth grain mill receptacle bag, which is the only part that was missing from the model S-600 that I purchased)

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

I have been corresponding with Tom Thresher of EM Lee Engineering, the company that makes the Lee Household Flour Mill. He provided a current price list for this mill, which I am passing along to interested millers.

LEE HOUSEHOLD FLOUR MILL - PRICE OF NEW MILLS AS OF AUG 2009
MODEL NUMBERFEATURESPRICE
500fine flour only
1/6 HP motor (slower output)
$556
S-500fine flour only
1/4 HP motor (faster output)
$613
600adjustable from fine to coarse
1/6 HP motor (slower output)
$621
S-600adjustable from fine to coarse
1/4 HP motor (faster output)
$698

 

=== COMPANY CONTACT INFORMATION ===
Tom Thresher
electro_mechano@sbcglobal.net
Phone: 1 414 247 1127
3712 W. Elm St., Milwaukee, WI 53209

=== EM Lee Engineering Company site ===

www.eminstrumentswi.com/lee.html

athagan's picture
athagan

I'm glad you posted this.  There's a Lee mill at the cannery in Jax that I've been wondering about for years.  No one knows anything about it and I've never seen one before.  Now I know.


.....Alan.


 


 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Do you know what this mill is used for?


Is it an item for sale, or is it used to mill flour?


Any further information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

merrybaker's picture
merrybaker

Congratulations on your purchase.  You won't be sorry!  I bought one when my son was born, so he'd be raised on healthy bread.  The mill came with a one-year warranty.  That was 35 years ago, and it’s still going strong, and has never needed a repair. 

My only advice is to put a note on top that says, "Don't Forget Bag."  Once or twice I forgot to put the bag on, and I came back to find the entire room coated with flour!!   You do NOT want to go through that!

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

I'm delighted to hear from another owner of this mill.


Can you tell me whether you clean the mill after using it?  The manual recommends it , but do you find it to be necessary? 


Aslo, if you do disassemble it for cleaning, do you find it difficult to reinsert the carborundum milling ring? That's the only thing that gives me trouble.


Looking forward to hearing from you. - SF

merrybaker's picture
merrybaker

Hi, SF,

Yes, I do clean my mill after every use.  Otherwise, I'd be afraid of attracting grain moths (or worse), or that flour left inside could go rancid.  But I'm lazy, so I mill a month's worth of flour at a time, clean the mill, bake two weeks' worth of bread right away, and keep the remainder of the flour at room temperature.   That's based on Reinhart's recommendation:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4276/interview-peter-reinhart#comment-21990

Yes, even after all these years, I still hold my breath when replacing the stone.  Because it's such a tight fit, it must go in at exactly the right angle.  Just lightly set the stone over the circular hole, and wiggle it slightly until it falls in by itself.  If it gets stuck, tap lightly it with something soft.  I use a meat mallet wrapped in a folded kitchen towel, tapping clockwise around the stone.  Again, the key word is lightly.  It may take 20-30 taps, but then magically it will fall in. 



A couple other hints.  After I clean it, I store the cloth bag in the fridge (inside a plastic bag).  That way, any flour remaining in the bag doesn't go rancid.  Also, it needs washing very rarely that way.  Because that leaves the chute at the bottom uncovered, I rubber-band a baggie around the open end, so no grain moths can enter the chute. 

When I read about other mills, I sometimes wonder if mine is worth the trouble.  But the flour is so beautifully fine that I soon get over it. 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Great info- very helpful - thanks for taking the time to reply.


Your experience replacing the carborundum ring is exactly like mine. Because of this, I too find myself milling more than I need for one baking. I agree with you that this is the one major drawback of the Lee grain mill.


Have you ever thought of making your own bag(s) for this mill? I purchased a new flour bag from EM Lee Engineering, and now that I see how it is constructed (and, more importantly, the fabric used) I'm going through my fabric stash to see if I could duplicate it. Most important, I would think, is to make sure the inside of the bag is a little fuzzy in order to catch the flour dust that's generated. I'm contemplating trying to use 100% narrow wale corduroy *inside out* but am not sure it would be fuzzy enough. Any thoughts?

roadtrekker's picture
roadtrekker

I tried these- check them at harborfreight.com/3-pack-replacement-filter-bags-94764.html

 $4.99- item 94764 from my local Harbor Freight-holds at least 6 cups, perfect size elastic top for the mill neck, no dust flying around, made and held 4 cups of out flour.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

@roadtrekker - these look interesting. The price is certainly right but I wouldn't want to damage the mill.

Is the inside of the bag fuzzy (it needs to be fuzzy to trap the fine dust generated during milling so as not to damage the motor)? Does the weave allow air to escape during the milling process?

Do you have an original bag so that you could post a comparison?

Many thanks - SF

 

roadtrekker's picture
roadtrekker

This came with no bag or hopper;  I used a 2 liter soda bottle with the mouth cut down and bottom cut off as a hopper taped in place. After I was done and bag was off, about 1/2" of flour coated mostly the apex ends of the oval.My SO is in medical devices and said the bag is a "random fiber" nonwoven cloth, yes it lets air through as it is a vacuum bag.  I cannot tear it unlike some vac bags for home vacs.  No dust came out to be sucked in by the motor, and with no more than 6 cups ground, it still has some airflow  escape at the top.  The elastic is doubled, and all seams are sewn.

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

The Lee mill I got also did not come with a collection bag.  So I made one in about 30 minutes from some flour sack material: Basically, I cut a chef's towel in half, folded it, sewed the sides, trimmed down the top to length, folded over the top a couple times, sewed that up and inserted some elastic.   Works like a charm.  I'll be washing it in the laundry once a week.

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

I just got my mill yesterday.  Fortunately I've had a pleasant experience cleaning it.  Portable electric powered Air Compressor w/ Air Gun attachment for the win!  ($30-40 from Amazon).  (I use this compressor to clean out dust from my computer among other things--handy little device).

Of course I do dust out this flour mill outside with this air compressor as to not blow dust everywhere inside.  I can say my front door now has a light coat of dust on it though lol.

I don't bother taking out the stone as the air compressor gets inbetween.

cjjjdeck's picture
cjjjdeck

I'm a newer and proud member of the Lee Household Mill Owner's Club!

I got a lucky find on eBay on a S-500 model in pretty much perfect condition and with all parts/accessories included and in great shape.  Although it does not have the ability to adjust the grind like the other models mentioned (this is their base model), the grind of the flour is absolutely perfect for bread and I couldn't be more thrilled with it.  I also want to thank everyone who has participated in subfuscpersona's thread, as research info on this product is scarce to non-existent!  It gave me confidence in pursuing one of these great machines.

Since the subject of removing the stone during cleaning came up, I thought I'd share my experience with it, pictures included.  I do clean my machine after every grinding session (usually 3 to 5 lbs of berries at a time).  I found using a paint/pastry brush does a pretty good job of getting into the places to clean the residual grindings out.  I currently have a 2" brush but I will change it to a 1" brush very soon as the 2" can't quite get into everywhere.  

I found that removing the stone right after the milling session, while the mill housing was still warm, made removal of the stone easier.  The heat expansion of the metal housing seems to open that tight tolerance enough to make the task of removal a bit easier.

Here's my "cleaning" prep.  As you can see, I took merrybaker's advice on the "baggie" over the chute while in storage; it's fits perfectly....thanks merrybaker!:

Lee cleaning prep

 

To mark the stone's position, I use painters tape (masking tape works good too).  I fold a little of the tape over itself on each end of the piece I use to make a "tab" for easy removal.

Prepping marking tape

 

I attach this tape to the top of the motor housing and continue over the edge of the stone, then I draw a line on the tape OR you can draw a line on the tape before you install it....whichever... your preference:

Positioning and marking the tape

 

Then cut the tape where the motor housing and the stone meet.  Now you can match up the marks when re-installing the stone after cleaning:

Cutting the positioning tape

 

The best technique (or, most successful) I've used to remove and re-install the stone is grasping both sides of the motor housing (where the face attachment screws are located) with my index and middle fingers just behind the screw protrusions.  I use both thumbs to apply equal pressure on each side of the interior surface of the stone, then I slide/wiggle it out or gently push/wiggle it back in.  I tried to capture the technique in the next two pictures:

Stone removal pic 1

 

Stone removal pic 2

 

It's worked pretty good for me so far.  Hope this helps!

persimmon's picture
persimmon

Do you know if there are any advantages to a carborundum stone vs a ceramic corundum stone?
Is this mill available with steel plates instead?

Damian's picture
Damian

About 8 years ago, I acquired the Lee Mill my father originally purchased in the very early 60's.  It's been run multiple times weekly from the start.  I did replace the stone about a year after I had it, and picked up an extra bag.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Why did you feel it necessary to replace the "stone" on the Lee mill a year after purchase? Was there a problem with the flour produced by the mill? Was the stone damaged in any way (chipped / cracked / something else)?


From feedback, I get the impression that many current owners of a Lee mill have either inherited it or purchased it used. If you could describe in more detail why you felt the stone needed to be replaced and/or what influenced your decision, I'm sure it would be helpful to readers.


Looking forward to your response... SF

Damian's picture
Damian

I believe the stone was nearly 40 years old when I replaced it.  When I first received the mill from my father, I inspected it and found one of the spot welds on the impeller was starting to separate, so I ordered a replacement.  The original stone had a fairly pitted internal surface, so I replaced it also.  The mill was still operational, but it ran smoother after replacing the parts. 

edc's picture
edc

Hi Guys-


Just saw your thread, and I'm one of those who just inherited this S-600 unit (seems to be fully intact) from my father. A group of "grinding blades"(?) came with it, but there were no instructions where they are used (they may not even be a part of this unit). The only printing on them is FACE C, FACE D, FACE E, FACE F; 4 of them.


Also does anyone know where I can find out what parts are involved and how they are assembled in the grinding unit? None of the info I saw on the internet contains a breakdown of the parts.


Ed

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

I'd try eMailing the company directly (contact info below). Probably would be very helpful if you could attach some digital photos of the "grinding blades" in the email.


=== COMPANY CONTACT INFORMATION ===
Tom Thresher
electro_mechano@sbcglobal.net
Phone: 1 414 247 1127
3712 W. Elm St., Milwaukee, WI 53209


 


 

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

Does it have grinding blades?  I thought it just spun the grain around really fast hurling it into the stone to vaporize into powder (impact) which is then let past with the gate adjustment.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

You are 100% correct in your description of how this mill grinds grain.

There is a stationary carborundum milling ring which is removable and fits *very snugly* into the unit. There is an impeller in the center of the milling chamber which dashes the whole grain against this milling ring at a very high velocity.

This is a unique (and highly effective) way to mill grain. To my knowledge, *only* the Lee Household Flour Mill uses this (patented) design for milling grain.

One advantage of this design is that the mill can continue to run (even when all the grain in the hopper has been milled) without concern. Since the actual milling stone is *stationary*, you cannot damage the milling ring even if the mill continues to run after all the grain has been milled.

 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

LEE HOUSEHOLD FLOUR MILL - ORDERING REPLACEMENT PARTS

People who acquire a used Lee Household Flour Mill may find that some parts are missing - often the flour receptacle bag is not included and sometimes the grain hopper (or the grain hopper lid) is missing also.

Tom Thresher of EM Lee Engineering (the company that makes the Lee Household Flour Mill) sent me a replacement parts price list. Every possible part can be purchased from the company (you could actually repair a non-working unit if you know what you're doing). I'm not that mechanical, so I am giving a (very) abbreviated version of the complete list.

LEE HOUSEHOLD FLOUR MILL - COST OF SELECTED REPLACEMENT PARTS
Price List Effective As Of Aug 2009

PARTPHOTOCOSTCOMMENTS
Flour Receptacle Bag$34Believe the company when they say "Use only the flour bag supplied with the mill. This bag is made of a special material which keeps the flour out of the air in the room and out of the motor windings, armature and bearings. Flour in the motor may result in serious damage."
The cloth bag has a fuzzy interior which captures the flour dust created during milling yet the weave allows excess air to escape. Definitely accept no substitutes!
Grain Hopper & LidHopper: $34
Hopper Lid: $6
The grain hopper is a sturdy, slightly flexible plastic funnel that fits snugly into the mill. You could try a substitute but, unless it fits very tightly, you'll probably experience flour dust being blown out the opening.

Sometimes just the lid is missing. If you have the hopper but not the lid, try substituting a shower cap.
Grinding Stone$98The carborundum milling ring should be in good shape. If for any reason yours breaks, it can be replaced at a reasonable cost. If you have an older model, check first with the company that the replacement is the correct size.

 

==== COMPANY CONTACT INFORMATION ====
Tom Thresher
electro_mechano@sbcglobal.net
Phone: 1 414 247 1127
3712 W. Elm St., Milwaukee, WI 53209

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

Hey thanks for this info.  I'll be ordering a new hopper and lid as the one I have smells of mildew (50-60 years old will do that I guess -- being stored for many years in humid garage).

 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

In my continuing quest for any and all information on this mill, I have found the original patent, which was filed June 1949 with the U.S. Patent Office. The patent filing is available (for free) on the 'net (instructions how to get it will follow).


I am utterly fascinated by the design of this mill - in contrast to every (non-micronizer) type mill currently on the market for the home user, it does *not* use a fixed groved plate and a rotating groved plate to mill grain. Instead, the milling chamber has a stationary stone ring; grain is dashed against this ring by a rapidly rotating impeller (think incredibly powerful fan) located in the center of the milling chamber. This method of milling grain was part of the original design, as this quote from the patent filing shows:

Quote:
A further object is to provide a grinding mill having a stationary abrasive member or stone against which the grain or other granular material to be ground is spun or whirled at high-speed by centrifugal action to effect rapid attrition of the material with a light touch

Aside from morbid curiosity, the patent document may be of use to those who wish to repair a Lee Household Mill. To find the patent on-line, enter this link in your browser


http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2627376.html


Scroll down in the page to find the link that says Download PDF 2627376 and click on it.


This is an Adobe Acrobat reader file (pdf file). Your browser should have a plugin to open this kind of file (using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader or other pdf readers). You can save this file to your computer.


The direct link to the pdf file is http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2627376.pdf


 

guiness's picture
guiness

I would like to obain a slightly more coarse grind out of an S-600 than I do when the mill is set to maximum gap.


 


Has anyone tried adjusting the maximum gap width?

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

the link to the manufacturer is in numerous posts in this thread

mmccarrell's picture
mmccarrell

I picked up an S600 and and am very impressed. It appears to be a newer model and aside from being all funked up with rancid flour, and missing the lid. It works perfectly. Throw grain in and flour comes out. Noisy as all get out but fast even on super fine. I honestly can't tell the difference between fresh ground from the mill and whole wheat flour from the store. Very nice and I paid only 20 bucks for it. I can't say I'd pay full price for one since I'm very cheap but I think it'll be great for years to come. Maybe my daughter will even use it. And thanks to subfuscpersona. You are very helpful.


 


Matt

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

A big thank-you to mmcarrell for sharing his experience. This thread has become a primary 'net resource for user experiences re the Lee Household Flour Mill.


The model S-600 that mmccarrell bought can grind from coarse to fine. When initially purchased, he found that the lever that controls flour fineness was stuck. Cleaning the milling chamber of old flour build-up solved the problem.


If you normally mill on a fine setting (which many of us do), flour buildup inside the milling chamber can be a problem. Heed Merrybaker's advice (posted Oct 2009 in this thread) and clean your mill on a regular basis, ideally after every use.

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

You really can't tell the difference between freshly ground flour and storebought?  I sure can.. I get a full rise out of freshly ground whole wheat--just as good as white flour purchased from the store.  I've NEVER had any luck with storebought flour with respect to rise.

PostCarbon Pioneer's picture
PostCarbon Pioneer

I've been given an S-600, which due to this posting have discovered was a princely gift indeed !  The flour is wonderful ! However, the User Manual is missing, and I'm wondering if anyone would be willing to scan it and send it to me in PDF?


Also, can anyone give me an estimate on how long one hopper of hard red winter wheat should take?  Mine took about 15 minutes or so....

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Send me your email address using PM - I already sent you a PM requesting your email address. I'll email the docs I have to you. (For your own security, don't post your email address as a reply in this thread).


re your Question on length of time to to mill "one hopper" of wheat - the hopper holds about 4 lbs of wheat (or similar sized grain). How much wheat are you milling at a time? How fine are you milling your grain?

PostCarbon Pioneer's picture
PostCarbon Pioneer

Yes, my S-600 seems to be in perfect working order.  A full hopper of wheat is what I'm grinding, and it seems to take about 15 minutes or so, and don't know if that is about right. 


The other day I filled up the hopper again after it was about 1/2 done, and it quit on its own, just like a thread here mentioned.  I wasn't sure if I should just leave it though--got paranoid, so I unplugged it and let it set.  The first time I plugged it in, it wouldn't go, but the 2nd time it started up fine.


I'm grinding on the finest setting.

LarryG's picture
LarryG

I would also like a copy of the user manual. I do not know what "using PM"


means and do not know how you want me to send my email address to you.


What am I to do?

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

PM means "personal message"


I just sent you a message.


Sign in to TFL, click on "Messages" in the upper left-hand side, and reply to me with your email address. You'll get the documentation as an email attachment in a few days.

strshine's picture
strshine

I, also would like a copy of the manual for the 600 model of the Lee Flour mill. The one we got looks brand new and i don't want to mess with it until I know what I am doing. Thanks

Karen

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

All available documentation may be downloaded from this link

http://files.freerangegourmet.com/Docs/LeeFlourMill/

Documents available from this link cover all current models of the Lee Household Flour Mill (500, S-500, 600, S-600). They are in pdf format and can be dowloaded to your computer.

This link was given in the first post of this thread and still works (as of this posting date). Information on the differences between the current models of the Lee Houshold Flour mill is also given in this thread.

taco's picture
taco

I have a S-600 Lee Household Flour Mill that my father purchased many years ago. The mills runs great but the stainless cutters that turn inside the grinding stone have some damage. I would like to purchase a replacement part and a user's manual. Thank you.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Contact the manufacturer directly. They will have this part for your model S-600.


Contact information has been given repeatedly in this thread. For your convenience, I repeat it (yet again)


==== COMPANY CONTACT INFORMATION ====
Tom Thresher
electro_mechano@sbcglobal.net
Phone: 1 414 247 1127
3712 W. Elm St., Milwaukee, WI 53209


While I am confident you can obtain the part, the actual repair will (probably) be up to you. When you contact the company, ask if they include instructions as to how to make the replacement. Also ask if you will need special tools.


They may also be able to send you a user manual. If they cannot, please contact me directly (either as a reply to this thread or as a personal message) and I will email you the documentation I have.

roamingwidgeteer's picture
roamingwidgeteer

I have a Whisper Mill and consider it anything but quiet, although it not nearly as loud as my sister's Nutrimill (ear protection mandatory!). Could someone tell me how the Lee compares in dB and frequencies? I'm very interested in buying one when the not-whisper mill has ground its final grain, but would prefer not to need a set of ear protectors on hand.


Many thanks :)

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

My significant other's mother sent us an EM Lee Engineering S-6 Flour Mill--made before the S-600.  It's about 50-60 years old she says, and looks like your S-600 but painted a metallic green instead of white.  I believe it is probably identical to the S-600 and it also has the course and fine settings.

Today was the first day I have ever made bread from freshly ground whole wheat flour.  I ground it up on the finest setting.  And WOW, was I surprised how the dinner rolls turned out.  They rose every bit as high as rolls made with white flour.   I guess this is because the bran is ground up so finely it doesn't cut the gluten when rising (or something).  Or perhaps the yeast loved the nutrient rich freshly ground flour?   I am not quite sure but it was very healthy, tasty--sweet & nutty without any bitterness--& 20% fiber which is good for a diabetic like myself (versus the 5% or so fiber in white flour).

I am now convinced I can use this flour in place of white flour for everything!  I always had problems with whole wheat flour I bought from the store in the past--bread would just not rise high enough, always having to substitute 50% or so with white flour.

My brother and his family loved these 100% whole wheat rolls.  They are very picky eaters and several of them (large family) have never really liked whole wheat bread--but they loved these made with freshly ground whole wheat.

Freshly & finely ground whole wheat flour is a godsend!

Additionally, today I made some pancakes with this flour as well and they were noticably more delicious than ones made with bagged flour.

 

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

I just snapped a couple pictures for you all of this vintage S-6.  The first pic shows the entire mill with the flour collection sack I made for it (using flour sack cloth)--didn't cost me anything to make as I had thread, elastic and a spare chef towel laying around.

The second picture is a closeup showing the S-6 model number on this unit.

Enjoy.

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Your mill looks great,  glad to see you have it working well.  

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

you're so lucky to inherit it from family. I love the fine flour it can produce. I am sure you will get a lot of use from it.

One small suggestion on settings (based on my experience with my S-600) is to move the adjusting lever slightly towards the "C" (coarse setting) rather than positioning it all the way to the "F" (fine) setting. For example, when milling hard wheat (hard spring or hard winter wheat) I postion the lever about 1/4" from the "F" setting. This puts slightly less stress on the motor and I find the flour to be just as fine as when the adjusting lever is fully on "F". 

Try experimenting with the settings. For most baking you'll want a fine flour, but this doesn't mean that the lever has to be fully at "F". For example, rye or spelt is slightly softer than hard wheat, which is why, for rye, I position the lever about 1/3" from the "F" setting (and still get an extremely fine flour).

Your bread looks lovely. Enjoy using your mill. It's always great to hear from other owners.

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

..with the freshly ground flour produced by this Lee Flour Mill.  (Ingredients: only 100% whole wheat--whole kernels with hull/bran--flour produced by this mill, salt & water, sourdough culture.)  20% of the total carbohydrates is fiber, yay!  This loaf tastes great!

 

CaperAsh's picture
CaperAsh

I just bought a used S-600 which doesn't seem to be working properly. I noticed on opening it up that I cannot find what in the manual is described as the 'inner ring'. Can anyone with one of these mills kindly post in a picture of an inner ring so I can be sure I am not overlooking something obvious staring me in the face. But as it is now, if I remove the stone, there is nothing else I can find apart from the spinning parts which are screwed to each other.

 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

From your description, it appears that the inner ring is missing from your model S-600 Lee Household Flour Mill. For the adjustable models of the Lee mill, the inner ring helps control how fine the flour must be before it can leave the milling chamber to be collected in the cloth receptacle bag.

Without this ring, I fear your mill may not work properly.

You should be able to purchase this part directly from the manufacturer. Contact information has been given numerous times in this thread.

FYI, Here are two photos of the inner ring on a model S-600.

Milling Chamber with Everything *Except* the Inner Ring Removed

 

Inner Ring Removed from Milling Chamber

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

The Lee Household Flour Mill requires cleaning after every use. Whether you're milling a small amount or the maximum amount of grain that will fit in the grain hopper, a significant amount of flour is always trapped inside the milling chamber.

If you don't clean the mill, the trapped flour can become rancid and contaminate your next batch or it might attract grain moths and other vermin. If you have the adjustable version, flour buildup can make the adjustment lever difficult (or impossible) to move.

The metal components you remove to access the milling chamber can be wiped off with a dry (or slightly damp) cloth. Never get any water on the inside of the grinding chamber. Never get any water on the milling ring.

Getting Organized

You'll need a small brush (or you could use a hand-held vacuum cleaner or an air compressor). I like to put a cookie sheet under the mill to hold the components as they're removed. If you want to save the flour as you brush it out, put a bowl with a fine mesh kitchen sieve on top under the flour outlet. Most of the flour you'll brush out is fine enough to be used for baking but there will be a small amount of cracked or whole kernels that you'll want to discard.

Step 1: Remove the Front Cover and Plate

Unscrew the front screws and remove the front cover and plate. This exposes the milling ring. As you can see, there's a fair amount of flour on the milling ring as well as on the inside of the front cover. Brush it out and then gently remove the milling ring.

Step 2:  Clean the Milling Chamber

Remove the milling ring. In the adjustable models (600 & S600), there is an inner ring behind the milling ring. Remove it also. Flour residue builds up at the rear of the milling chamber. For adjustable models, wiggle the adjustment lever back and forth to make sure it moves easily.

Step 3: Clean the Flour Outlet

Now that all the components have been removed and the milling chamber has been cleaned, put the mill on it's side and brush out the flour outlet. Because the milling process releases moisture from the grain, the flour here has a slight tendency to cake, making it a little harder to remove.

Make sure all inside components are removed before cleaning the flour outlet!

This photo was the best one I had to show the location of the outlet. You must have removed the milling ring before this step.

Step 4: Reassemble the Mill

Make sure that all parts are thoroughly dry before reassembling. The most difficult part will be reinserting the milling ring. Other posters to this thread have already dealt with this, so I'll simply link to their excellent instructions.

Cleaning the Lee Mill
Removing and Reinserting the Carborundum Milling Stone
risenshine's picture
risenshine

This is a great thread on the Lee grain mills.. I bought a used one that will arrive today sometime. I cannot wait till I can see how well this mill works... It sounds like it does an exceptional job within it's limits.

I contacted the manufacturer  via email today(8/14/13), within minutes they sent me their current website address. So they're not sleeping on their end.. a good sign of the quality of company. There you will find everything about these mills.. parts list/ prices, new units, schematics etc...  It is good to know that, even if you buy a used unit, that needs a little TLC - you can replace what is needed to keep these mills running another generation or two!

http://www.electro-mechano.com/products.html

risenshine's picture
risenshine

This comment was originally posted in a different part of the forum and by request was added to this section about Lee Mills... ( I've added a few more comments to this as well)

New Owner - 38 year old mill. Well ok.. the owner is older than the mill.

I am new at milling my own flour. What turned the tide for me is making whole wheat tortillas with stale flour.. YUCK! After reading that whole wheat is not really the whole wheat, I said that just from a nutritional reason, I want to start grinding my own.

I bought this unit used and got it only yesterday. It needed a good cleaning because it has sat unused, since 1987. I'm an aircraft mechanic and recognize high quality materials and engineering. These mills are amazing how robust they are made. It cleaned up looking just like new because it is either made out of heavy aluminum castings, or stainless steel parts.(mostly not all). You would never guess it is this old. There was a time in this country when things were made to be maintained.These are fine examples.Not engineered in a way that made replacement cheaper than repair or designed to become obsolete. This mill's design has withstood the test of time in both function and longevity.  A quality seen only in industrial quality equipment today. Parts are VERY expensive because they are so well made.

I want to do a video on how it operates or at least take quality photos to better show what I'm talking about. This mill, uses a very high speed centrifugal action to press the incoming grain against the stationary carborundum stone. It is a man made stone from silicon carbide which can only be cut with diamond hard tools. Very hard surface. The company says they will last the life of the unit and not wear out. (if you don't drop it) New stones are about $175.

The centrifugal action of the grain propeller also creates a vacuum that pulls lots of air through the grinding chamber and keeps the chamber cool. (The temp of the flour was 90 degrees when finished and room temperature was near 80.) This high volume of air keeps surfaces cool and blows the grain (flour) into the exit chute through an adjustable ring that meters from very fine to coarse.

Another interesting topic is how the feed system works. That spinning plate (propeller) that pushes the grain around and against the stone, self adjusts the size of the feed opening out of the hopper. When the chamber is full of grain, the weight of the grain, puts more load on the motor, slowing the motor and plate down... as it grinds, the weight decreases and the speed of the motor increases, opening the passage to allow more grain to enter. The system does not exceed the limits of the stone or motor.  It makes for a very consistent feed and flour consistency. The down side of this system is that small grain is metered at a different rate than larger grain. In other words, it lets too much of the small stuff in and it strains the motor and limits of what the stone can grind. I read somewhere that you can mix large and small grain but have not tried it and do not see this in the literature that came with the mill. It makes sense if you have a higher proportion of large grain than small.

The motor does have a thermal cut off switch that will prevent the motor from getting too hot, which will, eventually, ruin the motor if you do over load the system. If it does ever turn itself off, it is a warning to the user that you have either used too small, too oily or wet of grain. It can also be caused by the collection sack overfilling (2/3 or more full). It will not ruin it the first time, but the damage will accumulate till there is a failure. Motors are about $400 if I remember correctly.

These units were designed during or just after WWII. The manual states "These mill are powered with Lee Universal Motors, which were destined for aircraft use during the war" As a result their output is maximum for the minimum amount of weight. Actually the horsepower output is about four times that of other motors of equivalent dimensions." 

I did not have the size set to the finest setting and did not think it would make much difference (one or two "clicks" from the finest setting". When cleaning the mill, I noticed that it would have been significantly finer if it was set to it's finest setting.  The company also makes milling machines for the tool and die industry. The Lee mills are build and engineered with this same precision.

Cleaning is not that bad but it requires the disassembly of four parts. Mine came with a bottle brush so I could clean the chute and other places with a single pass. I want to get a small, long bristle paint brush to get into some of the other areas...

I may add more as I discover more about this mill...This mill was sold about 1975 but the literature looks to be from the 1940s or 50s. Replacement stones were $7.85... Oh have times changed.....

I'm going to make bread tomorrow... It was tortillas last night for something quick to make and they were very tasty!

I think I've found a new love! :)

Happy baking everyone!