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Windmiller Ratings & Referrals

windmillbuddies.jpg

This web page has been compared to "poking a hornet nest". It looks more like we're poking a spider web from our point of view.

Our Ratings & Recommendations, as well as our Penalty Box feature published in our quarterly newsletters, were created as educational guides for first time and infrequent purchasers of windmill related items. No endorsement fees or donations have been solicited or paid in connection with our ratings, as is the case on other forum websites.

Scroll down to view ratings and numerous safe buying tips. Feel free to print this page. This page was updated 2/19/14.

The Penalty Box    - As seen in our Quarterly Newsletter

Similar to Angie's List our Penalty Box feature is a who's who of windmill vendors that prompt a complaint to us. We'll attempt to mediate your dispute or debunk poor windmill restoration advice we see posted on any windmill related forum.
Three outcomes are possible:

resolved.gif

Seller responds and agrees
to your resolution request.

stalemate.gif

Seller responds, but does not
agree to the terms requested.

penaltybox.gif

Seller doesn't respond or won't
address your complaint.

Even as our windmill business celebrates another anniversary I must admit I am all too often reminded of the reasons we started our business. In fact just a few weeks ago a new customer related a story all too familiar that struck a nerve.

Recently I made a 10 day/ 10 state swing through the Midwest making deliveries and picking up vintage inventory. One of my deliveries was to drop off a single wheel section for an 8ft Elgin Wonder B purchased by a elderly gentleman restoring a windmill for his wife of 47 years. When he contacted me he explained he had bought a windmill and needed a few parts that were missing when he acquired it. I shipped him all his small items and I offered to deliver the one wheel section he needed as I was to be within a few miles of his Nebraska home as I traveled my scheduled route. I arrived at the designated time and he greeted me as I got out of my truck. We spoke as he admired all the goodies on my trailer and while I worked to free his wheel section from my “Fred Sanford” load of steel. As I placed the distinctive angular Elgin wheel section proudly at his feet ( it was a perfect sample) he asked “Is that mine?” with a puzzled look on his face. “ Yes” I replied…“Isn’t it a nice one?” I confidently stated. “It is, but it doesn’t match mine” was his retort.

I quickly asked to see his mill wondering how I could have blown this one. He ushered me over to his mill and it was obvious in a split second what had happened. Yes, he had purchased an 8ft Wonder B head and stub tower…and yes he was missing one section for the wheel that came with it. However, the seller of the mill had matched 5 sections of an 8ft - 6 section DEMPSTER wheel to the Elgin motor misrepresenting it as the original wheel sold with the mill.

Frankly I was as angry, frustrated and as disappointed as the customer. I explained what he had and why the wheel he had received would not work. Out of curiosity I asked how he came to buy this windmill. He explained he had made contact with a Craig’s List advertiser and having agreed to a price met at a Sioux City, IA I-29 exit to complete the “ cash only” transaction. All he knew about his seller was that he was from the Early, IA area and that the seller claimed to dabble in windmills as a hobby. He had no contact name or phone number as they had communicated exclusively via the internet until they met to exchange money for mill.

The entire episode has been churning around in my head & gut on a daily basis since it happened. You see, I know of a windmill hobbyist from Early, IA who buys and sells on Craig’s List. Is it the same seller that stiffed this first time buyer? That I do not know…but what I do know is that since our business was created out of frustration with similar incidents personally experienced during the early portions of our windmill collecting, I figured I could do more to help people avoid similar disappointment.

Below our Rating & Recommendation matrix I share some real world thoughts on how to protect yourself from the unscrupulous element that even lurks within the ranks of windmill restoration enthusiasts. Scroll down below the matrix to view those comments. Better yet just print this entire page and use it as a guide.

Our recommendations are made based on personal experiences & observations as well as verified 3rd party accounts. We hope the combination of our suggestions and matrix data will help you avoid the potential dark side of collecting and restoring your windmill and allow you to maximize your project budget.

Sitting In The Penalty Box

Bryon Rykard ** Ellen Sattler ** Todd Skinner ** Brad Anthenat
Kenny Baker ** Allan Reinke ** Paul Berhends ** Scott Sauve
** Bob Hensley **

The Windmillers noted above are currently in the Penalty Box. We do not recommend doing business with any who hold the "AVOID" designation like Bryon Rykard of Texas, Ellen Sattler of California, Todd Skinner of Indiana, Kenny Baker Of Indiana, Scott Sauve of Michigan, Allan Reinke of Texas, Bob Hensley of Texas or Paul Berhends of Illinois.

We recommend proceeding with "Caution" if considering doing business with those who have earned our proceed with caution designation. We suggest those restoring Aermotor mills avoid buying parts made in Mexico or China as parts form those countries are usually inferior & poor fitting.

Windmiller Rating Matrix

Business Name
& AKA
Services Offered
Depth Of
Windmill
Knowledge

 
Quality
of
Work/Items

Offers
Warranties
Guarantees
Reasonable Shipping Costs
Price-
Value
Ratio
Accepts
Credit Cards
and/or
Paypal
REFERRAL RATING

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Windmillers' Gazzette,
T. Lindsey Baker

Qtrly
Newsletter,
Books

Expert

Excellent

Yes

Yes

Best

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Dakota
Windmill
Inc.

 
Aermotor
602 / 702
Parts, Mills,
Towers
New/ Rebuilt

Specialized
Experts
 

Pro's
Excellent

Yes

Yes

Good

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Mueller
Industries

 
Aermotor
602 / 702
Parts, Mills,
Towers
New/ Rebuilt

Specialized
 

Hit
&
Miss

Yes

Adds
Surcharges

Poor

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

San
Angelo
Aermotor

 
Aermotor
802
Parts, Mills,
Towers
New Only

Specialized
 

Hit
&
Miss
Foreign
Made 

Yes

Adds
Surcharges

Poor

Yes

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Verdun
Company

 
Monitor
WB /WC
Parts,
New Only

Limited,
Relies on
Others,
Part Time
Business

Good,
Frequent
Out of
Stock Issues

No

Adds
Surcharges

Fair

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Gicon
Pump &
 Equip.

 
American
West
702 Parts,
Mills,
Towers
New Only

Limited

Poor
Foreign
Made
  

Yes

No

Poor

Yes

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

WE 702,
Bryon
Rykard

 
Mexican
702
Parts, Mills,
Towers
New Only

Limited,
Relies on
Others

Poor
Fitting,
 Inferior

Yes

Free
Shipping
Scams

Poor

Yes

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

SCROLL DOWN FOR ADDITIONAL RATINGS A BUYING TIPS

A GUIDE TO MAKING A REWARDING WINDMILL PURCHASE

I’m convinced that buying and restoring a vintage windmill can be a very rewarding experience provided you apply some simple buying techniques that you would never think of overlooking during the purchase of items costing far less. While I’m the first to admit that purchasing a windmill or windmill restoration parts offers some unique challenges’ applying some common sense logic to the buying process can help you avoid scams and con artists…. Ultimately saving you time, money and frustration. My recommended themes are simply NEVER RELINQUISH THE UPPER HAND IN SECURING SATISFACTION and KNOW WHAT YOU‘RE BUYING and KNOW WHO YOU ARE BUYING IT FROM. The reputable sellers will give you all three of these things without asking. Those who don’t should be examined more closely and those who won’t should be avoided!

DON’T BE IN A HURRY

Don’t approach your purchase as though it’s a one of a kind item or that you’ll never find the part you’re considering someplace else. It just isn’t the case and with some effort you’ll be surprised just how many options exist. Take time to be diligent in all considerations and verifications. Don’t get caught up in the emotion.

KNOW WHAT YOU‘RE BUYING

Knowing what you are buying is easier than you think. And some of it is common sense. If you’re reading this newsletter then you have internet access. Use it to your advantage. Start by printing out free copies of parts list, diagrams and trade descriptive literature from our website www.VintageWindmillPartsList.com . There are other internet resources available too. Armed with printed documents you can verify that claims of “complete” are accurate and address potential missing parts purchases as part of your up front buying decision. You can use diagrams to verify that what you are considering is properly matched by Mfg., model & size as most parts will carry part numbers in their casting. Remember that in most cases parts from one mill are not interchangeable with those of another and generally parts of a specific size mill can not be substituted by those of a different size.

When possible examine what you are buying thoroughly. Approach painted items with suspicion until you can verify the paint is not hiding a flaw. Ask for a disclosure of cracks, breaks or welded repairs if not offered voluntarily. Look for smooth spots in otherwise grainy cast iron as this is a usual sign of a repair. Don’t be afraid to use a magnet to verify you’re not buying putty. Within the last few weeks a TX Windmiller, known as Allan, posted on an on-line windmill forum how he uses Bondo putty to repair worn mast pipes. This will never last. I’ve also seen a Texas based windmill farm owner suggest epoxy putty for wallowed tail pin holes. I can only guess what other creative repairs these windmill vendors may be using on their restorations.

Buying used unassembled towers can be dicey. Even the experts are reluctant to pay much more than scrap price for a pile of tower parts as it difficult at best to know if the girts or cross braces included are the proper match. If pictures of the assembled tower don't exist for the unassembled pile of parts you're considering you might be better of considering the purchase of one currently assenbled.

If you buy online ask for multiple & detailed pictures.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help ,whether its for clarifying from your seller or from a 3rd party. We answer 10- 20 emails a week from people trying to make the best buying decision on something their considering from other vendors. We’ll be happy to help you too.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE BUYING FROM

Take time to get contact info from your seller. Any seller offended by your request for a full name, contact phone number or mailing address is likely trying to hide something. A reliable business will not try to fade into the shadows once they make a sale. Don’t rely solely on email as your only option for follow up. Does your seller guarantee their items or offer warranties on their work?

A legitimate windmill business or water well service provider will have one or more credentials issued by the local municipality or State in which they do business. The smallest windmill parts vendor will at least have a business permit and a State Sales Tax ID. Those who do windmill restorations or well water service will have State issued contractor licenses or well service provider licenses & certifications. Today, every State in the country has on-line access through which it allows individuals to verify the existence and status of such credentials via simple searches by business name or address. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to quickly check if a business is legit or in good standing with the local authorities.


SCROLL DOWN FOR ADDITIONAL RATINGS A BUYING TIPS

Business Name
& AKA
Services Offered
Depth Of
Windmill
Knowledge

 
Quality
of
Work/Items

Offers
Warranties
Guarantees
Reasonable Shipping Costs
Price-
Value
Ratio
Accepts
Credit Cards
and/or
Paypal
REFERRAL RATING

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Windmills R Us,
Dan Benjamin

New & Used
Parts, Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Fabrications

Expert

Excellent

Yes

Yes

Best

Yes

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Double L
Windmills,
Loren Lockman,
windmills4sale

New & Used
Parts, Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Fabrications,
Installatioins

Specialized
Expert

Good

Yes

Yes

Best

Yes

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Old
Windmills,
Paul Cowley,
blademakerintx

Used Parts,
Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Fabrications

Reliable

Hit
&
Miss

No

Adds
Surcharges

Fair

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Rock Ridge
Windmills,
Kevin Moore

Mexican
702's
Used Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Fabrications

Part Time,
Reliable Except
Mexican Parts
Endorsements 
 

Hit
&
Miss

Yes

Adds
Surcharges

Poor

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Prarie Legend
Windmills,
Micheal
Porterfield,
grezmonki

Used Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Installations

Dempster #12 
Specialist,
Reliable
but Limited,
Part Time
 

Good

Yes

Yes

Best

Yes

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Nebraska
Windmills,
Dave Straub

Used
Parts, Mills,
Towers,
Installations

Reliable
but Limited,
Relies on
Others

Adequate

No

Adds
Surcharges

Fair

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

American
Windmills,
Ellen Sattler,
windmiller69

New & Used
Parts, Mills,
Towers,
Installations

Limited,
Relies on
Others

Hit
&
Miss

Yes

No

Poor

Yes
w/ Fees

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Used
Windmill Parts,
Bryon Rykard,
brykard

New & Used
Parts

Part Time,
Limited,
Relies on
Others

 
Recast: Fair but
Inconsistant,
Used: Marginal

No

Free
Shipping
Scams

Poor

Yes

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Jack's
Windmill
Service,
Jack
Kellenberger

Used Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Installatioins

Part Time,
Reliable
but Limited

Good

Yes

Does Not
Ship

Good

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

O'Brock
Windmills,
Ken O'Brock,
windmill1

 
Foreign Made
702 &
Iron Man
Parts, Mills,
Towers
New Only

Specialized,
Reliable Except
Mexican & Chinese Parts
Endoresments
 

Mexican & Chinese Made
Are Poor
Fitting,
 Inferior.
Others Good

Yes

Adds
Surchages

Poor

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Aermotor-Parts.com
Aermotor-Parts

 
New
Aermotor
602/702/802 
Parts,
Towers

Specialized
 

Good

Yes

Yes

Best

Yes

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid


Todd Skinner's
Mid-America Windmills,
Todd
tjs45

New & Used
Parts, Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Fabrications

Limited,
Relies on
Others,
Sells Mexican
Made Parts

Poor,
Unreliable,
Offers Fake
Endorsements

No

Adds
Surcharges

Poor

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

SCROLL DOWN FOR ADDITIONAL RATINGS A BUYING TIPS

SHOP & BUY IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT

One of the reasons we sell on eBay is because of the marketplace transparency. Transaction feedback from buyers speaks volumes about how your purchase will be handled. Look for sellers with high transaction counts and reasonable track records with the seller ratings posted for their membership ID. If you choose to shop via Craig’s List or an on-line chat forum be sure to do your homework. Avoid sight unseen purchases if you’re flying blind on your sellers credentials. Speak to your seller by phone at a minimum before you pay or finalize your purchase. Be cautious with any live on-line chat forum that is made up of a group of sellers. Often the forum is nothing more than a “spider web” created to catch unknowledgeable and unsuspecting buyers and bounce you back and forth within the seller gang or clique.

NEVER RELINQUISH THE UPPER HAND IN SECURING SATISFACTION

This is the easiest part of making a safe purchase. When you buy by credit card or by Paypal you stack the deck in your favor insuring minimum problems. Paypal & eBay offer Buyer Protection plans automatically on your purchases. If for some reason you have an issue and feel you have been misled their easy claims process freezes the funds you paid a seller the moment you make a claim. It’s like someone reaching into the sellers pocket and holding your money until the problem is resolved. And you have a 60 day window! Similarly your credit card company will void a disputed charge if you have a claim against a seller. Sellers who accept credit cards and Paypal have a far lower frequency of problem transactions given the buyer friendly rules of use. The potential of receiving negative feedback from a buyer makes most eBay sellers work extra hard to insure smooth transactions. The risk of being scammed increases significantly in “ cash only” or money order purchases as you have no easy recourse once the type of payment takes place. Sellers who refuse to ship goods pending a check “clearing” are only trying to turn the table in their favor. Can you imagine your grocery store or local Walmart holding your purchases until your check clears? Tough on ice cream in the summer!

UNDERSTAND ALL THE COSTS

Over time I’ve seen every possible technique to pad the bottom line on a single sale. The most common are undisclosed handling fees or padded and unreasonable shipping fees. I love the Mexican 702 parts website that boasts “shipping included” in its price postings. If you’re only ordering one part it could be a deal but given many buyers need multiple parts its isn’t hard to see you’re grossly over paying for shipping when you buy two or three items. As an example…..if you need one wheel sail the $28 delivered price seems fair. But what if you need 5 sails? What if you need 10 sails? As nothing is “free” when it comes to shipping costs rest assured that any single item price that includes free shipping has those costs added in up front. If your vendor prices items that way don’t be bashful…ask for a fair combined shipping rate.

I’m not too impressed either with those who add undisclosed handling fees to credit card purchases hoping you won’t catch it on your monthly statement. This seems to be a favorite of a California based female windmiller. Be sure the total quoted for your order matches the amount on your billing statement.

RELY ON REAL EXPERTS WHEN POSSIBLE

There use to be a vintage windmill on-line forum who rated member ID’s with titles like “Top Hand” & “Windmiller”. These designations were suppose to be a guide to the individuals knowledge level. But I still chuckle today having long ago realized that the higher ratings were awarded simply for making a post. Even though someone may only be posting a comment about a weekend BBQ, a football game, yesterdays weather or his wife’s bad cooking ,the more wise cracks they made the higher their windmill expert designation & windmill IQ rating. Need I say more?

Is your seller a full time windmller or is this part time supplemental income? Is your seller a licensed business or a weekend hobbyist? Does your vendor run a State sanctioned business or are they operating under the table?

An expert will always be able to substantiate their answer to your question or their claim with something tangible. Don’t be afraid to ask the follow up question….. “ And why do you believe that to be correct?” The reply will tell you something of greater value than the original answer itself.

SCROLL DOWN FOR ADDITIONAL RATINGS A BUYING TIPS

Business Name
& AKA
Services Offered
Depth Of
Windmill
Knowledge

 
Quality
of
Work/Items

Offers
Warranties
Guarantees
Reasonable Shipping Costs
Price-
Value
Ratio
Accepts
Credit Cards
and/or
Paypal
REFERRAL RATING

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

 
LoTec
Windmill
Service
Bryce Black

Used Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Installations

Reliable

Good

Yes

Does Not
Ship

Good

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Eric Wattier,
elwrecks

 
Aermotor
Used Parts,
Mills,  
Restorations

Specialized,
Expert

Excellent

Yes

Yes

Best

Yes

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Windmills By Tim,
Tim Cook,
tcooktosell

Used
Parts, Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Fabrications,
Installatioins

Part Time,
Reliable
but Limited

Good

Yes

Yes

Best

Yes

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Windmills
By Block,
Ivan Block

Used Parts,
Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Fabrications

Part Time,
Mostly
Reliable

Good

No

Hit
&
Miss

Fair

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Windmills By
Gerry Powell,
ibrakeforrust,
txlicenseplates

Used Parts,
Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Fabrications

Part Time,
Reliable
but Limited

Good
 

No

Does Not
Ship

Fair

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Vintage
Windmill
Parts,
Brad Anthenat
vintagewindmill

New &
Used Parts
Mills,
Towers,
Restorations
 

Part Time,
Not Reliable,
Monitor Dealer

Hit & Miss,
Frequent
Out Of
Stocks

No

Adds
Surcharges

Poor

Yes

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Cimmaron
Windmills,
Bob Scott,
windy bob

Used Mills,
Towers,
Restorations

Reliable
but Limited,
Part Time
 

Good

No

Yes

Fair

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Baker's
Kenny Baker
redneck1951

Used
Parts, Mills,
Towers

Unreliable
Very Limited,
Relies on
Others

Poor

No

Adds
Surcharges

Worst

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Texas
Windmiller,
Allan Reinke,
txwindmiller

Used Parts, Mills,
Towers,
Restorations

Unreliable
CraigsList
Hobbyist,
Limited

Poor,
Unreliable

No

No

Poor

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Paul's
Windmill Service,
Paul Berhends,
millfixer,
zippy_thing
 

New &
Used Parts,
Mills,
Towers,
Restorations

Limited,
Relies on
Others

Poor,
Unreliable

No

Free
Shipping
Scams

Poor

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Herrig's Windmills,
Judd & Dan
Herrig,
windmillrs,
minnemiller

Used Mills,
Towers,
Restorations,
Installatioins

Part Time,
Reliable

Good

Yes

Does Not
Ship

Good

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

The
Windmill Farm,
Chuck  Rickgauer
 

 
Used Parts,
Mills,
Towers,
Restorations

Hobbyist,
Good

Unreliable
Techniques

No

Does Not
Ship

Fair

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

Lance's Windmills,
Lance Van Tyle,
Dempster
landcruiserdude

Used Mills,
Towers,

 
CraigsList
Hobbyist,
Dempster 
Specialist,
Mostly Reliable
but Limited,
 
 

Adequate

No

Does Not
Ship

Hit
&
Miss

No

Highly
Rcmd
Good Choice
Proceed
with Caution
Avoid

THE REALITY

Unfortunately there is no air tight formula for creating perfect transactions 100% of the time as even the best windmillers have rough days from time to time. However, if you will apply some of the concepts we've listed above, erring on the side of caution, you’ll be able to build confidence in any vendor you select.

We hope all your windmill related dealings are pleasant and smooth regardless of who you choose to do business with.

The information contained on this page is based on our personal experiences with the majority of the vendors listed. It also includes verified information provided by 3rd party sources. As our personal experiences do not neccessarily reflect how a given vendor may handle a transaction with you, be sure to use your best independent judgement to make your buying decisions.
 
No endorsement fees or donations have been solicited or paid in connection with our ratings, as is the case on other forum websites.

Windmill-Parts.com
Specializing in Collectable, Antique & Vintage Windmills & Parts
 Buying, Selling, Consignments & Insurance Appraisals 
940 597-7735
windmill.parts@juno.com