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From: Steve Kalec
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 00:03:46 -0500

My deep interests in alchemy have been mainly of
the inner practice but I have always well understood the
the correspondences between inner and outer practical
laboratory work. I have recently started reading with much
interest ( Plant Alchemy ) by Manfred Junius and I am very
impressed with what lab practice has to offer. I am looking
forward to making my first plant stone. My problem is that
I have no equipment set up yet. Are there any tips and
suggestions on how to acquire equipment ? Is there a place
on the Internet where one might shop for alchemical lab
equipment ? And how does one find all the various plants
and herbs , some of these herbs have never been heard of
in ordinary herb shops. Is there a place on the net for
herbs ect. ? How do some of you get your equipment
and other necessary requirements ?

Steve Kalec

Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 10:48:08 -0500
From: Jfruther

Dear Steve,

A good source for the beginning alchemist is John H. Reid III. "Course on
Practical Plant Alchemy", which you will find on Adams web-page. Some of the
chapters which would be of interest for you are not on the web, Mr. Reid
might help you with a copy, but I can not speak for him. In one of the first
chapters you will find a good list of equipment needed to get ready to

In the beginning you can use herbs bought at a herb shop, but very soon you
will find, only the ones you pick yourself are really usefull.

Good look, keep on working, for practice only is the guide to success!


J. Ruther

Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 10:55:38 -0500
From: John H. Reid III

Steve, for glassware you can check out

Kontes Glassware (1-609-692-8500) in Vineland New Jersey here in the
States, or Reliance Glassworks (1-708-766-1816) in Bensenville IL, also
in the States. Both of these companies will make custom laboratory
glassware for you.

As far as herbs go you should be able to find them in your neighborhood
health food store. There are also sources that you can mail order herbs
from. One place you could deffinately try is Triad. It's a company owned
by a friend of mine Russ House. They have all sorts of herbs, oils etc

May I suggest that you start out with making a simple extract from the
herb using a mason jar. You can calcine the remaining herb body using a
flame proof dish or a corning ware pot on top of your stove (small

Though it is not necessary I would suggest that you take a first year
chemistry course to familarize yourself with the use of glassware. One
can spend thousands of dollars on glassware that is not used.

John H. Reid III

Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 17:25:58 +0100
From: Joel Tetard

> From: Steve Kalec
> Are there any tips and
> suggestions on how to acquire equipment ? Is there a place
> on the Internet where one might shop for alchemical lab
> equipment ? Is there a place on the net for
> herbs ect. ? How do some of you get your equipment
> and other necessary requirements ?

Some days ago I did a very quick research on ALTAVISTA and I found :
Trading of lab equipments :
A list exists which could be very interesting for all americans lovers
of Alchemy : sci.chem.labware

The greatest part of my lab equipment came from chemistry industries and
schools : I asked them for any obsolete equipment. I explained I planned
to make kinetic sculptures with old glassware !

About plants , you can check :
The agricultural Genome Information Server
AGIS provides many links toward specialised databases of great interest :

The Ethnobotany Cafe on Web provides a great deal of links related to
this topic :

See for instance :

Best regards.


From: Philosophers of Nature
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 12:22:35 -0600

Dear Steve,

The following is a list of some of the resources we listed in our
November issue of The Stone, the newsletter of the Philosophers
of Nature. It is by no means exhaustive, but should at least provide
a start. Also, there are some additional links on our website

I also think that you might find our courses of interest:

With regards,

Russ House
President, The Philosophers of Nature, Inc.


We want to list useful references for laboratory equipment, supplies,
and materials to support the efforts of our researchers. Please inform
us of new suppliers, and let us know if supplier addresses and phone
numbers change. We do not list suppliers of medicines for internal use,
for practical reasons.

Alchemical Resources

1807 2nd St., Suite 9
Santa Fe, NM 87505 USA
Tel: 1.505.988.7315 (Noon -- 10 PM MST)
Glassware for alchemical work

Bryant Laboratory, Inc.
1101 Fifth St.,
Berkeley, CA 94710 USA
Tel: 1.510.526.3141
or 1.800.367.3141
Fax: 1.510.528-2948
Mail-order labware and chemicals

Centaur Forge, Ltd.
117 North Spring St.,
PO Box 340, Burlington, WI 53105-0340 USA
Tel: 1.414.763.9175. Fax: 1.414.763.8350
Temperature crayons, forges, blacksmiths' supplies,
such as tongs, aprons, etc.

David Shannon
6649 E. Rustic Drive, Mesa, AZ 85215 USA
Tel/Fax: 602.985.0557
Minerals by the specimen or in bulk from a
first-class mineralogist

Dr. Michael's Herbs
5109 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625 USA
Tel: 1.312.271.7738

Hagenow Laboratories
1302 Washington St.
Manitowoc, WI 54220 USA
Tel: 1.414.683-3339
Bargain priced labware and supplies by mail-order

125 West Front Street, Suite 275
Wheaton, IL 60187 USA
Request price listing.
Stibnite, Alchemical books, Marseilles Tarot
Deck, high purity essential oils, hard-to-find items.

Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 21:27:15 -0800
From: Mark House


You can start only where you feel comfortable. To rush out and buy a lot
of equipment meant to impress others or to fill up a workspace is not
desired. A few things will suffice to get involved i.e., a distillation
train, for your alcohol, a sulfur extraction apparatus, for your oils,
and calcining equipment for your salts. These will do for practice.

A.M.W. House

PS. For herbs you can also go to

From: Steve Kalec
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 00:13:14 -0500

To... J.Ruther
Joel Tetard
John H. Reid III
Russ House

Thank you all very much for all your kind responses.
The various information you all have forwarded me are very
helpful and are greatly appreciated. I will certainly for sure
look up and browse through all those neat addresses that
you all have gifted me with. Thank you all for your advises,
tips and encouragements.

Gratefully yours,

Steve Kalec

Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 08:53:46 -0800
From: Mark House

> From: Steve Kalec
> Very well put. I do want to start slowly and well. I don't feel
> I know enough to rush into this profound practice. Yes thats what I
> do need, ....

>Distillation train,

Steve, your ability to distill alcohol is a determining factor for your
work with separation of oils etc., and is your gauge for purity and
adeptness. Please read my article on First Steps of Alchemical
Initiation found in former postings in both Inner and Practical forums.
While there are many ways to separate oils from plants etc., your
alcohol must be made by you through distillation. Become adept at
distilling wine. You will not regret the work when you have done so.
Albertus used to say: "When we will do it, it shall be done."


A still is o.k. but a good coil condenser, bulb, approximately 2Ml -
10Ml will do nicely, and a recepticle of approximate size again 2Ml - 10
Ml is appropriate.

>Calcining equipment.

For calcining in the begining it's o.k. to use stainless steel pans
under an electric burner or under propane. Do these calcinations in a
well ventilated area. Preferably outside because of the large volume of
smoke and lasting odors that will inevitably arise from the herbs etc.,
before they reach the carbon stage. When they become black and stop
smoking you're at that stage. Keep the heat up and go through the grey
stages. Beyond that you will have to leach your ashes to acheive salts
of a crystalline nature. Many stages will occur. Please refer to the
First steps of Alchemical Initiation article mentioned above. Notice the
section on salts.

>A burner of some kind.

Steve, the burner can be a regulated device such as a single burner unit
that is flat and fairly precise in temperature. Take one from your local
hardware store. Medium price works better than too cheap.

>Soxhlet - what are your opinions versus the more ordinary method.

Soxhlet's are great for specific types of separations of oils etc. More
ordinary methods can vary depending on your intention and purpose, which
herb you are preparing, and what you will use the preparation for. Many
variables in a complex yet satisfying research project.

Good luck, have fun, and be cautious!


Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 10:11:38 -0500
From: Gilbert Arnold

Ordinary soxhlet's do not separate essential oils; they extract tinctures
at high temperatures, if not used under vacuum. Liquid to liquid soxhlet's
may extract some oils.

Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 11:03:26 -0500
From: Gilbert Arnold

There is information on Adam's webpage, PON lessons and Journals and
Michael Junius's book about processing herbs. Some plants have thermo
sensitive chemicals that could be destroyed by the relatively high
temperatures occuring during a soxhlet extraction. And as one speaker
at a recent PON conference mentioned, alkaline salts added back to a
tincture containing oils may produce saponins. Michael Moore's
webpage has good information on extraction procedures.