Bruce Wiseman – Pepper Grinder

Club Meeting: 14th August 2019
Report by: Ross Johnson

Bruce commenced his demonstration by showing three finished Pepper Grinders all approximately 300mm high. One of these was a unit he made many, many years ago for family use and it is still in service. He then discussed the pepper grinder mill and the various options available – the best general purpose one is a ceramic model –available from your local supplier – as this will do salt as well as pepper. The overall length is 260mm and is suitable for up to 300mm high unit. The shaft can be cut to make shorter units.

Bruce showed and talked to the Project sheets available from SAWG web site on how to produce a Pepper/Salt grinder. I will make use of these pages to provide information on the pre done work by Bruce.

Bruce commenced the fabrication of his grinder with a pre drilled and rounded piece of wood. The base section had a drilled hole of 45mm dia. and 20mm depth; then a hole of 38mm by 35mm depth to accommodate the base of the mill grinder; the hole continued at 25mm dia. (or smaller) to within 30mm. of the top of the grinder. These holes had been sanded and finished. It is recommended by some to cut a groove at the far end of the mill hole – 6mm.long and 3mm. deep for fitting and locating the grinder mechanism. Bruce like many others dispensed with this step. Bruce had used Forstner bits and an Auger to drill the holes.

The body of the work was 320mm long and 81mm diameter. The timber being used was N.Z. Rimu.

Part the grinder body from the capstan. Set the capstan aside.
Remount the body in a chuck (100mm) and drill a 35mm hole in the top to meet the previously drilled hole. Sand and finish end faces and set aside.

Time to remount the capstan and cut the spigot on the underside of the capstan to be a nice fit in the drilled hole in the base. Not loose at this stage.

The base was now married to the capstan and held in place by the tail stock. Bruce used a jamb chuck but a cone centre or equivalent could be used. As demonstrated a good selection of pre made jamb chucks is beneficial.

The two pieces were now turned to shape using a roughing gouge for initial shaping and then a Skew chisel to finish. The shaping is your individual choice as is whether any grooves and additional decoration is done. Two grooves blackened using a wire were shown on one of the samples. Sand all parts. The capstan was turned and finished as far as could be at this stage. Remove the main body and place aside. (Refer photos for details)

The capstan now had a 22mm.dia. hole drilled 34mm. deep into the spigot. Again a groove 1.5mm into the sides of the hole 15 to 20mm from the base of the capstan to locate the top drive unit of the pepper grinder. Measure the depth carefully for each hole using masking tape as a depth indicator. Either continue this 22mm diameter hole or drill a smaller one 7mm or so to accommodate the shaft. Length will depend on actual capstan shape. Shape the spigot to a comfortable fit in the main body. Allow for easy turning but not too loose.

Remount the capstan by the spigot in a chuck or jamb chuck to finish the top side. Sand and finish to suit.

To fit the grinder into the bottom of the base part use a press. Bruce had made up a plug to do this and uses the drill press or tailstock to apply pressure.

The parts should be a firm fit so that the ribs around the parts seat into the wood and prevent rotation. If grooves have been cut the clips go into the cut recess and hold the parts up into the drilled holes.

Some makers consider pressure may split the wood and prefer to cut the clips off and glue in place. Bruce just pushed them in to a non-grooved hole and this appears to work. His 6 year old grinder has not had any problems.

Well done Bruce a well-executed demonstration that showed us how making a pepper/salt grinder does not need to be a daunting experience or one to be avoided. Even if Skew use is needed. Good to see that even after a non-turning period of some 3 years the old skills have not been forgotten or lost.

Mention was made that Terry Scott has had a run of Econo 260mm Ceramic Salt and Pepper Mills made and is doing a deal.!! 6 units for $80.00 .

With this demo and Terry’s deal I might just have to make my first grinders.

Project Sheets
Pepper & Salt Grinder, Crushgrind
Pepper & Salt Grinder, Dumpy


-- Download Bruce Wiseman - Pepper Grinder as PDF --