December 15, 2006
Entry Details

# 464
Robert Staat
Goshen, KY
Dimensions (inches):  
  Width:   2
  Height:   7
  Depth:   2
Materials:   Zebra Wood
African Black wood
Corian plastic

Pepper and Salt mills with a Corian® base.  

Design of these salt and pepper mills was influenced by the request for a “modern, smooth” look and for a mill that fits the hand and was easy to use.  The typical, bulbous mill design was discarded in favor of the smooth arc which fits the design criteria quite well.  The arc design also showcases the grain pattern of the Zebra Wood used in these mills (Figures 1 & 2).  The arc was formed using a French Curve with the thinnest part of the mills at about 60% of the total height which feels right both visually and tactually.  In use, the salt and pepper mills are distinguished from each by the top inlay.  The pepper mill utilizes African Black Wood for the top inlay; whereas, the salt mill inlay is the lightest colored piece of maple I could locate.  The body of both mills was cut from the some piece of wood as can be seen in the continuity of the grain pattern for the two.

When viewing mills turned by others, one problem that I note with pepper mills made from highly figured wood is the orientation of the grain of the top which is always offset relative to the base.  A classic example of this can be seen in the diagonal wood used for the mill described in the Spring 2006 issue of Woodturning Design magazine.  The offset is caused by the ½" or so of material needed for the spigot or tenon of the top.  I solved this problem by making the spigot from an alternate wood, in this case walnut, boring the base of the mill top about 3/4" deep and then gluing the spigot in place.  A recess was cut into the bottom of the spigot to allow the metal drive washer to be flush with the surface (Figures 3 & 4).  The result is a mill in which the top and bottom grain aligns almost perfectly having lost only 3/32" from the saw kerf while maintaining a spigot with suitable length for proper function.

Pepper and Salt mills without the base and illustrating the grain on the side opposite seen in fig. 1 and the top inlays are more apparent.

Another important aspect of these mills is that after the original block was turned round, each piece for each step of the turning was centered on the lathe with a run-out of 0.005" or less; thus, assuring proper alignment of all surfaces and the grain pattern.  

Details of the walnut spigot, the maple inlay and the recess cut into the “crumb tray”.

The mills are finished inside and out.  The inside has two layers of thin cyanoacrylate (CA) which were progressively sanded through 0000 steel wool.  I’ve found this especially beneficial to prevent wear and scarring of the spigot and mated surfaces (Figure 4).  The exterior also has two coats of CA with added coats of Mylands High Build Friction Polish.  I’ve used the CA base on other mills and it seems to hold up well under the stress of everyday “kitchen duty”.
More detail of the spigot and interior finishing.  Note that the CA finish is hard enough to resist the abrasiveness of salt and helps to prevent major scratches on the mated surfaces; although, some wear can be seen.

A nice complement to the evening dinner table!

Judges Comments
bob : Nice simple! Great! Nice base.
Mary : Nice simple design. The base is a nice addition - it will help keep the table clean.
nick : Elegant, simple, looks inviting and easy to use. Nice selection of materials and wonderful presentation!

Show Previous Entry Show Next Entry
Return to Index
© 1998-2019 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by any means
without the written permission of the publisher.