Salt & Pepper Mill Basics
By Don Shelton

History of the Pepper Mill –

 In the 20th century, grinding mechanism burrs were predominately steel and plastic.
 In 1842, the Peugeot family, primarily known for their automobiles, invented the pepper mill. Presently, Peugeot continues to make grinders.
 Peugeot produced a salt mill; however, the steel failed so a nylon or plastic burr became its replacement. Salt oxidizes steel causing the steel to corrode thereby creating an unpleasant taste.
 In 1991, IDEAS, a Denmark company, found a small disposable pepper grinder in a supermarket. Mitsui Kamioka, a Japanese inventor, made the grinder; apparently, no one noticed something special about his product that had been in the market for 15 years. The mechanism was made of ceramics just like the old mortars.
 In 1992, the development of CrushGrind® began. Two years later, they introduced the first and only ceramic multi-purpose pepper, salt, and spice grinder in the market.
 At present, every 20 seconds a CrushGrind® mechanism sells, 24/7.

Process to Make a Grinder –

1. Select Wood
 Minimum dimensions are 2 ½” x 2 ½” x 4” to 24”; a billet 3”x 3” is ideal and the length should be a minimum of 1” longer than the mechanism selected
 Moisture content 8% -12%
 Straight grain wood

2. Select a Grinder Kit
 Traditional kit with shaft and screw-on cap
 Hidden mechanism with shaft
 Hidden mechanism without shaft
 Combo salt shaker and pepper mill
 Crank top mill

3. Equipment Needed – See Kit Instructions
 Various sizes of Forstner bits
 Heavy duty Forstner bit extension
 4 Jaw chuck (optional spigot jaws)
 Heavy duty Jacobs chuck (JT3 with ½” minimum bit capacity)
 Calipers
 Hard wood for jam chuck
 Slot cutter (optional)
 Epoxy (optional)

4. Design & Build
 Review kit instructions and verify dimensions
 Create a plan
 Develop a milling strategy
5. Tips
 Never use a spade bit for boring long holes
 Drill speed for Forstner bits is between 250 – 500 rpm
 Retract bit frequently to clear wood chips to prevent seizing the bit
 Use spring caliper to measure Forstner bit when sizing a tenon
 Measure embedded parts with a caliper to transfer dimensions
 Don’t panic if the main hole is slightly off center
 For long grinders drill holes from both ends
 Cut a slot in a 5/8” dowel for a sanding pole
 Part in key design diameters then blend the cuts together to create the shape
 Figure out how to hold the knob or body before it’s cut off
 Use your hands to verify the ergonomics of your design
 Paying attention to little details adds value

References –

1. Kit Suppliers
 Craft Supplies USA – http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com
i. CrushGrind® – shaft and shaft less styles
ii. Artisan Style – ceramic and stainless steel
iii. Crank Top Style

 Penn State Industries – http://www.pennstateind.com
i. Pro-Grind (looks like old style CrushGrind®) Best Price
ii. Salt Shaker and Pepper Mill Combo. Available in three finishes.
iii. Crank Top Style

 Peachtree Woodworking Supply – http://www.ptreeusa.com
i. Ron Brown’s Best Ceramic Salt/Pepper Grinder

 IDEAS Denmark – Mfg of CrushGrind® – http://www.crushgrind.us
i. Detailed grinder mechanism drawings & dimensions – excellent

2. Salt & Pepper Mill Makers
 http://www.peppermillsofdistinction.com
 http://www.woodpeppermills.com
 http://www.turningtools.co.uk
 http://www.pepper-mills-plus.com
 http://www.williams-sonoma.com
 http://www.chefsresource.com

3. YouTube Videos
 Cap’n Eddie Castelin, #172 Pepper Mill Basics
 Brendan Stemp, Making a Grinder Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3
 Denton Turners, Turning Pepper Mills