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12…Let’s Turn Salt and Pepper Mills – How to Woodturn

The woodturning video shows step by step the process of how to woodturn salt and pepper mills. Enjoy learning how to turn salt and pepper mills on a wood lathe.

There is something special about wood turning. It is easy to spend hours at this wood craft while working with the various woodturning tools. This particular project features salt and pepper mills of black walnut with a food-safe finish known as Tried and True . This oil finish leaves a soft and warm patina with a nice hand rubbed look and feel.

The material on hand in the shop happened to be 3/4″ black walnut that was left over from another project. In this case the (4) pieces were glued together to create each turning blank by using Titebond II yellow glue. The finished salt and pepper grinders are 2-1/2″ x 8″.

You will notice in the how to woodturn video that a shop made woodworking plan was drawn to full scale and was also used as an aid to layout the turning blanks while the wood lathe was spinning. One of the challenges with this wood project is turning two identical mills. It is a good exercise as it causes one to refer to the plan and also to use the wood turning calipers to measure the necessary diameters. One’s eyes will soon become trained to notice similarities and differences as well when comparing the two mills.

While there is a freedom in the craft of wood turning there is also a need for strategy. It is a bit like playing a game of chess in that one will benefit by planning ahead for your next move. It seems like the more one turns the more comfortable one becomes with the process. The more time you work at the wood lathe, the more you gain a feel and understanding of how to woodturn.

When you decide to turn a set of salt and pepper mills you will be glad that you did as there is a world of difference with freshly ground salt and pepper available for your meals. Your taste buds will celebrate. Also, keep in mind that salt and pepper mills make for wonderful gifts for loved ones on special occasions. Enjoy the process!

This episode is part of the Let’s Build Series

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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  1. Helluvawreck says

    Bob, I’m a newbie here. I just noticed this ‘salt and pepper’ post and have taken a look at it. It was very interesting to say the least. I have put your site in my firefox favorites folder. You might could get me hooked on turning if I’m not careful. I have a little JET mini lathe. I know that’s probably not the best. I also have a Powermatic at my plant but it’s not practical because it’s at my plant and not at home. All I’ve ever done with my lathes is turn some spindles or simple legs and maybe some handles for tools.

    Is my little JET lathe practical for turning something like these salt and pepper shakers? I watched the video a couple of times and I tried to make a note of all of the tools that you used. I know that you had a chuck, and some boring drills, a couple or three turning tools, maybe a tap to thread the piece of wood onto the threads of the headstock. Do you have a post with the list of tools to do something like this? What sort of equipment do you need to do this sort of thing? What’s the best book to lead you into this? And would it be better to start with maybe some other projects before attempting this?

    One of the main things that I’ve done in my work is work in our machine shop at the plant building jigs, fixtures, machine parts, and even building machines so I’ve used metal lathes. I know that they aren’t the same thing but this might be right up my alley. I’m 60 years old, now. Most of the time when I get home from the plant I’m too tired to goto the shop especially in the heat of the summer so I just sit outside and unwind a little. However, I often think about my shop and what I might do in it during the coming weekend. But this sort of turning might be a good thing to help me unwind in my shop on the weekdays. Hey, it might even add a few years to my life if it would take away some of the stress of life. I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to retire now because of the way the economy has crashed. We still have a business to tend to.

    What would you or some of you fellas recommend that I do to look into this in a serious way? As I say all I have ever done is turn a few spindles , legs, and handles.

    — helluvawreck, North Georgia woodworker

  2. Helluvawreck…

    Thanks for taking the time to comment and ask questions. It is very well thought out!
    To see my reply…click for this Posting.

  3. Sam Bond says

    What a great viedo, I want to try to turn my first pepper mill this weekend. Could you tell me where you got your template from. Do you have a pdf of the template?
    Thanks again for our website, you have a lot of helpful information.

  4. Sam,

    I actually drew out the template for the salt & pepper mills. The dimensions were base upon the mechanisms that I purchased. I probably have the template somewhere in the shop, however it has been a few years since I made those turnings. If I can locate the template, I would be happy to send it to you.

    Good luck with your turning!
    Thanks for your feedback & thanks for watching,

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