Introduction: How to Make a Pepper Mill

About: Husband to a great wife, father to my baby girl, and child of the one true king. 9-5er during the day and woodworker the rest of the time. Follow along as I offer tips, tricks, and woodworking plans. I star…

This Instructable walks you through how to make a pepper mill on a short bed lathe. This is a great project for beginners and seasoned (no pun intended) turners alike. If you're ready to take on a project that can be knocked out in just a couple hours, then let's get to it!

Check out the video above for the build! If you like it, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and checkout some of my other projects! You can also check out this project in a little more detail on my blog:

Step 1: Tools & Materials

links above are provided as a convenience to help you purchase items I used (or similar) for this project. Purchasing through these links does not cost you a thing and supports by helping to fund future projects!

Step 2: Cutting Stock for a Pepper Mill

I start off with blanks that I've recently dried in my DIY Kiln (check out the post here).

I'll first square up the blank on the table saw and then cut the pieces to the final size at the miter saw.

Do yourself a favor and mark how the pieces were oriented before cutting. This will keep your grain orientation correct with the final product.

Step 3: Drill Holes for Pepper Mill Hardware

Before I head over to the drill press, I like to mark the center of each piece. For the tops, I only mark one end, but for the body, I mark the center of each end.

NOTE: All of the drills sizes are specific to the kit listed in step 1.

A 9/32 hole is drilled through the top to allow the hardware to pass through.

A 1-5/8" hole is drilled into the bottom of the blank for the grinding hardware retention plate.

Next I switch to a 1-1/16" forstner bit and drill from the top and then the bottom of the pepper mill body.

Once I've gone as far as possible with the forstner bit, I'll switch out to a 1" speedbor to hog out the rest.

With all the drilling operations done, it's time for my favorite part...Turning!

Step 4: Turning the Top

I start off with the top between centers and turn a tenon on the bottom of the piece that will be the top of the pepper mill. Next I shape the underside of the top.

With these elements done, I put on my Nova G3 chuck and hold the top part of my pepper mill with the tenon that was just formed. From here I finish shaping and sanding the top.

Step 5: Turning the Body

Remember that 1-5/8" hole in the bottom of the pepper mill body? Use that as a chucking point and bring up your tail stock to support the other end of the body.

I bring the piece into round using a 3/4" roughing gouge and use calipers to determine when I've reached the desired diameter.

Next I grab my scale and mark out the transition points of my design.

I use my calipers to help establish the diameter at the center of this curve. Then with a 3/8 spindle gouge I blend the curve from the left and right of this cove.

I roll a few beads to accent the design and then use the Vortex tool by Cindy Drozda to cut very crisp details at the bottom of the beads.

Step 6: Finishing the Pepper Mill

You can use whatever finish you like, but I wanted to give Osmo oil a try on this project. This finish is really easy to apply and produces great color with a very natural feel.

Simply apply enough finish to fully coat the piece and then wipe off the excess with a clean rag.

After the finish has set for about 10 minutes, grab a new clean rag and buff the pieces by hand until the surface is silky smooth.

Step 7: ​Assembling the Pepper Mill

The kit from Craft Supplies USA covers the assembly process quite well. If you simply follow their instructions and watch my video, you won't have any trouble putting these pepper mills and salt mills together!

Step 8: Heirloom Quality Salt Mills & Pepper Mills

I hope you've enjoyed this project, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.

Until next time, have fun making something!