Walnut Pepper Mill

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Project by Shaun posted 05-04-2017 06:20 PM 667 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m still very new to woodturning and have been taking in the seminars at Lee Valley Tools.

Last weekend, I did my first spindle turning course and made a pepper mill. Considering how ammeter I am, I was happy with how it came out.

I’ve always seen pepper mills with beautiful beads and coves, big round grinding nobs and lots of changing shape. Everyone else in the class was brave enough to try that but I decided to go with a simple taper. It was a LOT harder than I imagined.

Oh, it started out fine. Roughing out was SO much fun! We had these big 3/4” roughing gouges that were razor sharp. It was great.

Because I don’t have the feel of lathing down yet, I just couldn’t seem to make the nice cuts when I got to the detail work. The instructor could turn his detail gouge sideways and make a clean cut like it was nothing. I got bumpy ridges all the way down when I tried. I kept taking pass after pass and was afraid I was going to break through the wall.

I finally decided I was okay with the taper and moved onto the top. Time I was done, the top was a little too small and didn’t match with the bottom. I knew if I tried to fix the body then I would end up making it to small and so the vicious cycle of being a n00b would continue.

So, I put both pieces on the lathe together and used the 120-grid “gouge” for about 20 minutes until everything matched. I bought some micro-mesh and sanded up through 3200 grit. Then, finished it with a bit of walnut oil and carnuba wax.

Ultimately, I’m VERY happy with how it came out, even if the process of making it was less than smooth.

The instructor was wonderful and very helpful. So much so that I’m taking a private lesson from him in a few weeks.

Best of all, this was an anniversary present for my wife and she liked it.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning

6 comments so far

View pottz's profile


2597 posts in 917 days

#1 posted 05-04-2017 06:55 PM

hey thats nothing too be ashamed of,pretty nice work for a beginner,plus i like a simple design, much more elegant in my opinion.congrats and welcome to lumber jocks.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View helluvawreck's profile


30502 posts in 2799 days

#2 posted 05-04-2017 07:43 PM

Shaun, this is a real beauty and I love the wood and the simple but elegant style.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View cdelva's profile


3 posts in 795 days

#3 posted 05-04-2017 08:33 PM

I love it! I would replace my mill with it any day.

View doubleDD's profile


7219 posts in 1976 days

#4 posted 05-04-2017 08:39 PM

The taper is fine and the design looks perfect. Well done. I remember my first one, I’m still very proud of it.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View gargey's profile


938 posts in 708 days

#5 posted 05-04-2017 08:47 PM

You should fill the grain. Food-covered hand are gonna get on it.

View Notw's profile


629 posts in 1686 days

#6 posted 05-05-2017 02:17 PM

You should fill the grain. Food-covered hand are gonna get on it.

- gargey

what do you suggest for a grain filler?

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