I’ve wanted to turn a pepper mill for some time. I also wanted to make a large one, like the kind you see in fancy restaurants where the waiter comes to your table and grinds the pepper on your plate for you.
With our middle son in college, we are trying hard to not spend a lot of money. Marisa’s birthday was approaching, so I decided I’d turn her a pepper mill.
I purchased a couple of CrushGrind Click-in Shaftless Mechanisms. It is a shaft-less mechanism that allows you to create a mill of whatever length you’d like.
I started with a cherry 4×4 that I milled a while ago. Same stuff I made the rolling pin from.
This blank is about 15 inches long. I roughed it down to about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
I then parted it off at 3 inches for the mill housing.
I then drilled it out, the first hole is 1 3/4″ in diameter, 5/8″ deep. Then a 1 1/2″ hole is drilled the rest of the way through.
It was then mounted in a home-made drive tenon on the headstock end, and a cone live center on the tailstock end. I made up my own shape as I went.
Then sanded and finished the mill housing.
I then chucked and drilled a 1 1/16″ hole through the mill body.
Since it’s about 12″ long, I needed a bit extension to drill the whole thing.
I learned that drilling a smaller diameter relief hole through the length made drilling with the forstner bit much easier. I then drilled the remainder of the mill body.
This was also mounted with a turned drive tenon and cone center. The end that connects to the mill housing has a 7/8″ long by 1 1/2″ tenon turned on it. The rest is turned however you’d like.
I then sanded and finished it. I applied two coats of Hut Crystal Coat.
A plug is turned for the top, with a 3/4″ tenon on it. A groove is turned into the tenon and a rubber O ring is put on here to keep it in the top of the mill body. The mechanism is pressed into the bottom of the mill housing, and the mill body is pressed into the top.
Overall, I think it turned out pretty well.
One issue I ran into in the use of the mill is that the mechanism slips in the body, thus no pepper is milled. Two ways to fix this are to use a couple of drops of CA glue on the mechanism tabs before inserting into the body, or to carve some notches inside the tenon that the notches can catch on.