Drum Latch Review-9/09
RK Drum Latch/Pin: So today, I managed to find time to go out and do my roasts. First time working with the new latch. All I can say is WOW! I've been doing this so long with the pin and chain, I have this physical memory/routine built into loading and unloading the drum, and I have to tell you it is weird roasting without the pin, my hands keep reaching for it. With the drum being pre-heated and obviously hot, you know how cumbersome it can be at times, certainly until you are used to it, inserting that pin into the hole while the drum is at 650F.
So today, just to flip that latch with my finger and load, close the lid and flip it back...well, incredible. Just feels much more professional and certainly easier. I'm on my first 6Lb roast with it as I write this. I did notice that the effort required to flip the latch was 50% less while up at temperature, so obviously it has less strength while hot, which makes sense. This tells me too, it would be critical not to leave the latch in the spring loaded position while hot as it could set the metal into a new state. So, it will be important to know it is in the down position while it cools. Actually this is pretty much a no-brainer it's hard to leave it in the loaded position so I think this won't be a problem. I can tell you this, so far....no way I want to return to the pin.
As I roast, another thing I notice, is that I no longer here the slight rattle of the chain as it slaps against the drum, which makes listening to the cracks much cleaner, as now there are now no moving components on the entire drum assembly....another bonus.
Just unloaded the drum.... no monkeying with the pin before pulling it to the cooling tray, this means easier, quicker cooling. Easier to stay on profile as you don't have to spend 5 seconds with that pin before and after the load/unload. Instantly pull the drum, walk to cooler, flip the latch, , crack the lid and dump. Loading for second roast was just as easy. Latch strength seems to remain the same at 50% of cold, at least so far. The true test will be after several heating/cooling cycles.
After cooling, it seems to have returned to 80% of it's original strength. As I would expect some tempering of the metal. I feel like it should stay pretty much at 80% original strength from this point forward.
While it may seem like a trivial upgrade, since we are all used to the pin now. I can tell you that the 30 seconds total saved (particularly during the roast) and the ease of use is well worth the upgrade. Over many roasts the overall experience is much improved.
One last point that I did notice, is that it is possible to pull the latch apart (the two mating pieces of metal) if you are overly aggressive with it, by say, twisting it, or side loading it. There are no springs or any other moving parts, so putting it back together is simply reinserting the two pieces together again, which is made easier with a screwdriver to lightly pry. I would honestly classify it as an aggressive, forceful action, to force it to separate and not anything that should be concerning during every day, use. Overall, a much improved experience.