December 15, 2006
Entry Details

# 478
Mark Nadeau
Portsmouth, RI
Dimensions (inches):  
  Width:   2.8125
  Height:   7.875
  Depth:   2.8125
Materials:   Curly Maple; Crush Grind Shaft Pepper Mill, model #77C15

I am self taught in woodworking, but until recently, I had never been exposed to woodturning.  This winter I started taking a woodturning class.  This peppermill is only the third turning that I have ever done.  Prior to this, I turned a bottle stopper and a pen.  This contest gave me a project with a deadline, and forced me to push myself.

I wanted to make a mill with simple lines and nice proportions from a single solid piece of wood.  A chess pawn was my inspiration for the peppermill.  Although the form is simple, it proved to be very challenging to make.  The hardest parts were the deep grooves made with the skew chisel which are immediately adjacent to the beads on the mill body.  Making the mill head round was also a challenge for me.  A full scale, cross sectional drawing on vellum graph paper was used to transfer the layout marks to the piece once the blanks were rounded out.  It is constructed from one piece of curly maple and a ceramic “Crush Grind” mill mechanism (Crush Grind Shaft Pepper Mill, model #77C15).  I chose this mechanism because it has no metal adjustment knob at the top to interfere with the esthetics of the form.  The mill body and head were both bored out on the drill press with fostner bits (to the specifications in the instructions) before any turning had begun.  Spigot chucks were turned for the ends of the mill body so that it could be turned using standard drive and tailstock centers.  A single spigot chuck was made for the opening in the mill head and used at the drive center end.  The mill head blank was one inch longer than needed so that it could be parted off at the tailstock end.

I originally intended for the mill to be 8 inches high and 3 inches in diameter at the base.  The head was to be a 2 inch diameter ball.  Once everything was tooled and sanded, I did not fall too far from the mark.  The finished mill is 7 7/8 inches high and 2 13/16 inches at the base.  The head is 1 7/8 inches in diameter.  I later learned that since I started with a blank that was already 3 inches wide (and NOT square!) it would not have been possible to maintain the 3 inch diameter base on the finished piece.  Even though everything got scaled down just a bit, the proportions were still maintained.

The mill body and head were sanded to 600 grit and finished on the lathe.  The very top of the head needed to be sanded and finished by hand once it was parted off.  The parts of the ceramic “Crush Grind” mechanism are held in place with West System epoxy.  Other than a little epoxy, the interior of the mill is raw wood.  The exterior of the mill was finished with Behlan’s Woodturner’s Finish and Conservator’s Wax (a microcrystalline wax).

This peppermill fits nicely in a medium sized adult hand.  It is comfortable to hold, and the “Crush Grind” mechanism turns and functions smoothly.  I am very pleased with the end result.

Judges Comments
bob : For a first project, very nice. Better than I was in my early years.
Mary : Nice design. Good work for just getting started.
nick : Great job. Good choice of material, nice details and appears to fit the hand nicely.

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