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How Do I make a mill/grinder for bark and bone?

Ash berry

Joined: Mar 31, 2012
Posts: 1
I am trying to figure out how to create this machine with little or no money which is completely possible because there is a huge surplus of useful garbage. I have been breaking up bark with pliers and i need a large quantity peferrable powdered or close to it. i have been lookin for some kind of grain grinding discs/plates.

i was thinking of making my own has anyone done that?

I am either going to use a deep cycle or bicycle.

If anyone has metal working skills or black smithing skills. to help me figure out how to make a grinding disc that is pretty strong.
Joe Braxton

Joined: Mar 24, 2012
Posts: 308
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
This might be what you are looking for, or at least give you some ideas....

Here's a whole bunch of fun stuff...
Saybian Morgan

Joined: Apr 22, 2011
Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
those engineer dudes are amazing i've watched all there videos, the things they can get on with with such simple parts blows my mind. I remember watching this video when I was trying to make a shredder, in the end i bought a hammermill because i just don't have the wordworking skills they have but since then i've come up a bit in skills, I wouldn't mind making a large one but I have no clue where id get the stone bit.
Ken Peavey

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2523
Location: FL
A ball mill would do well for what you describe: A rotating drum with the material and balls inside.
Ball Mill example video 24 seconds
As the drum turns, the balls rise along one side, then fall over, as a continuous wave. When the balls fall they smash the material. The longer the mill is run, the finer the product.
Dry material works best. Moisture allows the material to clump together.
In lieu of steel ball bearings, any suitably hard, durable material would work..,bricks, hand-packed concrete balls, perhaps mables.
Bricks would tend to erode, with fragments contaminating the product.

Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
Erica Wisner

Joined: Feb 10, 2009
Posts: 892
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
It sounds like you are thinking of building something, and those grinders on the video links are pretty awesome.
If you are more interested in getting from bark to powder and less interested in the project of building the grinder,
here's a few things I have around the house that might do this job, at least for a small quantity:

1) Connie Vandyke crushes oystershells, nutshells, and other materials by leaving them in the driveway to drive over. She puts them between some sheets of cardboard or plastic or whatever, so it's easy to collect the residue later. Not super-fast, but very little extra expenditure of effort in the course of everyday life. Should work fine for cooked soup-bones or bark; raw bones might be harder.

2) Most saws makes sawdust. Grinders make a lot of bits of all kinds. Planes make cool thin shavings.
I am currently collecting sawdust from sawing firewood in order to use it in an epoxy wood-filler for a later project, so it occurs to me that a tablesaw, or a hand-held grinder, could make any chunk of bark into dust pretty quick if you just 'saw' a kerf-thin section off the end, again and again. You could run a bundle in together if you are careful.
(I am using a thin-bladed saw because I want the firewood more than I want the sawdust; but there are very thick tablesaw blades that look like many blades stuck together, that could rip a 1/2 inch or an inch or more at a time.)
Power saws or grinders would work on raw bone as well as bark. A flywheel-style treadle grinding wheel, like for a blacksmith's shop, might be useful too, and you might be able to get a beat-up or almost used-up grinding wheel for nothing, (it wouldn't be much good anymore for tools if it was getting toothy enough to be useful for chunking up debris; you could probably cut grooves in one, but don't wreck a fancy new one this way).

3) Along the same lines, a rasp, or one of those micro-planes like a hollow rasp, will shred things pretty quick. I could see maybe setting a couple of cheese-graters or microplanes as the sides of a funnel, where they reciprocate back and forth, kinda like carding wool.

4) For chopping up straw, we often use a weed-whacker in a barrel or trash can. I believe you can get heavy-duty chain or cable instead of plastic string for a similar, but heavier, effect - they make them for the highway department to cut brush alongside the roads. This will be a nasty destructive weaponlike object, but might be very easy to scrap together. I saw somebody's chain thresher that worked on this general idea.
I would use a heavy plastic barrel or a barrel-lined pit in the ground, as the chain would make an awful racket in a metal container, and tear up any thin-walled container pretty quick.

5) The extremely slow but easy solution - bin the bark it up with some convenient and hungry insects, then wait a year or two. Removing the insects to use the powder ... lots of options depending on your location, and what you plan to use it for. I would probably use prevailing weather (solar cooker, spread it thin when it's sub-zero, or salt-water rinse if you live coastally.) There is a fair amount of powder at the bottom of our woodshed, a good sifting would get enough for most projects, if you can avoid the cats using it as a winter litterbox.
For bone, a 'bone-fire' will reduce most of the bone to ash, and brittle chunks that can be ground easily or absorbed in-situ by plants.

Likewise around our place, I use whole big bark chunks for medium-tough jobs like lining paths, or as roofing material for birdhouses, bee shelters, etc. Smaller chunks might be useful as horse bedding or for dry footing when the thaw is turning their favorite paths into puddles.

If I want powdery wood debris, I go for the shop-sawdust pile, or a duff log with lots of powdery punk that I can easily crumble in my hands.

Interested to see what you come up with, and what it's for.


Play with nature, make nifty stuff:
Robert Fairchild

Joined: Jun 29, 2012
Posts: 7
Location: Kentucky, USA
Serious hand mills are available that will grind bone:
not cheap but shows it's possible and might work as a model.
Manufacturer's website:
another interesting model:
Discussion of hand mills:
another hand mill that claims to grind bones:
Rachel Morton

Joined: Jun 10, 2012
Posts: 7
Location: NW Oregon (Zone 8)
Great question Ash and thanks for asking it. We are also in the look out for a bone grinder.

Another thanks to those above for wonderful suggestions
J Savoie

Joined: Nov 29, 2014
Posts: 1
On a similar subject, I am wanting to build a grinder for bones - able to handle large bones - Cow, hog, deer, Elk etc.

I would like to build a grinder that could grind undried bones. I sw one at a rendering plant I worked at years ago.

But links to any kind of bone grinder would be appreciated.

I have a 23 hp John Deere 400 that I could make something hook up to the front drive shaft.

Or maybe I could make something to hook up to the Toro 223 D Groundsmaster or Reelmaster that I have.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: How Do I make a mill/grinder for bark and bone?