Pepper mill: the inside story

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Forum topic by fromaway posted 01-30-2015 05:31 PM 1432 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 1978 days

01-30-2015 05:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood turning pepper mill finish snakebean

I’m about to turn my first pepper mill. Do you put any kind of finish or sealant on the inside? I read one blog entry that suggested using lacquer. While I’m not interested in having any transfer from the wood to the pepper corns I also want to avoid any transfer from a finish or sealant.

What’s the right way to proceed?

FYI … the wood I’m using is snakebean. I’ve never turned it before but do expect it to be somewhat hard and possibly brittle. Has anyone had experience with it?

If anyone has suggestions or tips in general with doing pepper mills please pass them along.

Thanks in advance … Cheers


-- Nothing is impossible for those that don't have to do it themselves

6 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5448 posts in 3690 days

#1 posted 01-30-2015 11:08 PM

Do you put any kind of finish or sealant on the inside?

I didn’t on mine. I turned a batch in 2013 (everybody got a salt shaker/pepper mill combo for Christmas that year). I used kiln-dried cherry, maple, and ash.

I did sand the inside lightly, but figured there was less chance of any transfer from the wood than if I had used any finish inside.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View fromaway's profile


11 posts in 1978 days

#2 posted 01-31-2015 05:49 PM

Thanks Gerry. Always appreciate your insight.

-- Nothing is impossible for those that don't have to do it themselves

View bondogaposis's profile


4769 posts in 2378 days

#3 posted 01-31-2015 06:43 PM

I use the same finish on the inside as the outside, General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3783 days

#4 posted 01-31-2015 08:51 PM

I don’t seal the inside of mine, either.

If you are using the “crush grind” mechanism, keep a close watch on the diameter of the center hole and make sure the recess that captures the “fingers” is not rounded where the recess intersects the center hole.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Wildwood's profile


2322 posts in 2162 days

#5 posted 01-31-2015 09:59 PM

I searched high and low for snakebean or snake bean wood and could not find anything about this wood. do you have another name for this wood?

Does your piece of wood look like this?

Or anything at this site;

I would be reluctant to use an exotic wood with food stuff, but admit never work with snake wood although have seen many pens turned with snake wood. I have made both salt & pepper shakers with closed grain domestic woods and never finished the insides.

-- Bill

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

208 posts in 1760 days

#6 posted 01-31-2015 11:42 PM

I’ve turned a number of salt and pepper grinders from a variety of woods (sorry, but snakebean is a new one on me) and have never put s finish inside. I make sure all dust is out before using them, of course.


-- Once in awhile I make something really great. Most days I just make sawdust.

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