July 17,2004   Allen M

This is a copy of a email posted on Sweet Marias coffee list.

Ron and All,

I finished assembly of my RK drum roaster today and I burned it in and I’m ready for my first roast!  I used a 35k BTU Char-grill model from Home Depot and I’m using Ron’s gear drive motor which is sweet. The drum spins fast and smooth and should be quiet enough to hear first crack.  I located my thermometer about an inch too high but other than that, I think this is going to be a great little rig.  Tip:
If you choose a Char-grill Pro thermometer like I did, use a “step bit” to drill the ~7/8th hole for the threaded mount.  Step bits are expensive (about $35) but I use them almost everyday at work to drill holes of all sizes in sheet metal.  It cuts through the Char-grill lid like butter.  When I fired it up, the first thing I noticed was the large amount of heat that it puts out which is a big contrast from my Rosto.  I realize this isn’t quite a fair comparison, but I can already tell that I’m going to enjoy roasting outdoors in winter. I played around with the controls while performing the break-in and the controls are sensitive but very responsive.  I’m surprised how quickly the temperature can shift and then hold steady.

Putting one of these together is not difficult, but there are a few considerations that give it a little twist over buying a pure appliance.  I ended up pulling out my dremel tool to cut off the “foot pegs” of the flame diffuser to lower it about an inch.  Now it is perfect and enabled me to put the drum down low closer to the flame.  When ordering, I told Ron I wanted the motor on the left side, but I changed my mind during assembly. I really like how Ron designed the hardware to be re-configurable.  It was a simple matter to change the motor and switch over to opposite hand.  All the holes were
pre-drilled for mounting either side.

I would like to thank Ron for his help along the way.  It is evident that he really cares about his drums and drum customers.  I will reserve further comment and praise until after such time that I get to sample the fruits of his and my labor. More pictures
to come.