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Wood Turning Tools used for the Salt and Pepper Mills

Wood Turning Tools


This is in response to a viewer with a mini lathe who had questions concerning what wood turning tools were used during the video of turning the Salt and Pepper Mills.

Thoughts of wood turning tools used:
1. Turning salt and pepper mills is essentially spindle turning.
2. Due to the length of your wood lathe you may need to bore out on your larger lathe, the drill press, or carefully by hand. However, you may be very well able to bore out on your Jet mini lathe.
3. You can start out with this wood project and you will do fine. Suggestion…practice on scrap before you select your best wood. Work out any bugs. Do your best for accuracy. When you get dialed in then commit to your selected wood for turning and go for it.
4. Check to see what size your spindle is on your Jet lathe. My guess is that it is 1″. Check the specs to make sure. You will need to know this info if you need to purchase.
5. Check the necessary morse taper for your specific wood turning lathe. (you should be able to look that info up on the web.)
6. My grinder is 8″ at 1725 rpm.
7. Tried and True oil varnish is a food safe finish that was used for the salt and pepper mills.
8. Books or Magazines…check out your local library.

Wood turning tools for a wood lathe woodworking project

These are the basic turning tools used in the wood turning of the Salt and Pepper Mills. These wood tools are…Spindle gouge…parting tool…roughing gouge…smaller spindle gouge. Note: The spindle gouges both have fingernail grinds.

Wood turning tools for a wood lathe woodworking project 1

Pictured above are the mechanisms for the Salt and Pepper Mills. These were purchased through Craft Supply. Included with the set is a diagram with necessary dimensions for height and also dimensions for the wood boring.

Wood turning tools for a wood lathe woodworking project 2

This is a sketch that was used for the layout when when the walnut blanks were turned to cylinders. (When laying out remember to include 1″ in length for the top’s tenon. Also, pay attention to the tenon’s diameter.)

Wood turning tools for a wood lathe woodworking project 3

Pictured above are an assortment of the lathe tools used for the Salt and Pepper Mills. Notice the “cone” of the “live center.” Make sure when purchasing that you match your specific lathe specs.

Hopefully, this posting has answered some of your concerns. Good luck with your turnings!

Wood Turning Tools and Accessories

Oneway Talon Chuck System

Oneway Live Center

Wolverine Vari-Grind Attachment

Oneway Wolverine Grinding Jig

Mini Jumbo Jaws for ONEWAY Talon Chuck

Sorby Standard Turning Tool Set, 6 Pieces

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The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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

Creating and Turning Salt and Peppermills

Mahogany salt and peppermils - Woodturning Salt and peppermills

How often have you dined at a restaurant and the waiter or waitress asked you “Would you would like some cracked peppers with your meal?” Probably more than once, right? If you’re like me I answer “Sure. I’d love some.” There’s just something nice about having a good meal with freshly ground salt and pepper.

For a long time I have browsed through my various woodworking catalogs and noticed mechanisms for salt and peppermills. Then one day I decided to order the mechanisms and make a set for our dinner table. I’m glad I did too. Probably even more important is the fact that my wife, loves them. We now use them with each and every one of our meals. The addition of the freshly ground salt and pepper makes a huge difference to the taste of the dish.

Here’s what I did when the mechanisms arrived at the house. I chose some very black walnut that I had in the shop. The plan that came with the mechanisms specified that the finished turning diameter be 2 1/2″. It also called for an overall rough length of 9 1/8″. The black walnut board that I had in the shop was left over from another project and was 3/4″ thick by 3′ wide. To account for the thickness I decided to laminate four 10″ lengths to give me a new thickness of 3″. I used Titebond 2 yellow glue. I had a blank for the saltmill and a blank for the peppermill.

The next day when the glue was dry on the blanks I cut the long corners off at the bandsaw. Now it was time to mount a blank on the lathe and begin the layout for mills’ design. I chose the same design you see in the picture above with a turning knob on top, sweeping cove in the middle, and a double cove design just above the base. Keep in mind that the turning knob fits into the bottom section with a 1′ tenon. This needs to be laid out at this time. (Overall finished length of my mills are 8 1/8″.)

After the layout is performed it is time for turning and here is where the fun begins. Now it’s time to create the image that you have in your mind. What’s the finished product going to look like? Since I had already sketched out a full size design on paper it was now time to duplicate this design.

The first mill turned out like I wanted. So now it was time to make an identical copy. While turning the second mill I referred to the first mill often. It’s interesting how the eye will pick up similarities and yes of course, the differences. It’s a good exercise though.

When I was happy with a comparison match it was time for sanding. I took the walnut to 400 grit sandpaper and then burnished each mill with sawdust as the lathe was turning. Both mills were now nice and smooth. From this point I then fit the mechanisms for each mill. Just simply follow the directions that comes with the hardware. It only takes a few minutes to adjust the hardware.

Once the hardware was attached and I was satisfied with the fit and function I then removed the hardware. It was now time to apply a food-safe finish. I used a product called Tried and True. It gives a nice hand rubbed feel to the mills.

So, you’re probably wondering why I displayed three sets of salt and peppermills of mahogany while I am writing about mills of walnut. Good question! After turning the walnut mills I was quite pleased with the result and then decided to make a few more sets for family and friends.

Creating these mills are fun. So, give them a try. You just may enjoy your meals a bit more.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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