Peppercorn Pepper Mill




About: Come spend some time in the shop. I'm a hobbyist woodworker and professional computer geek in Northern California. I guess my projects will vary widely, and I have no clue what I plan to make next...

Peppercorns! I take whole black peppercorns and turn them into and antique pepper grinder. In the process I get a lesson in the aromatics of vaporizing peppers.

In the end, I feel as though my sinuses are quite thoroughly cleared out, and I have a strong desire to never put pepper on my food. Ever again...

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Step 1:

I bought whole peppercorn from the grocery store. I knew I wanted an 8oz blank, so I bought three 3oz bottles. I'm not sure how I missed it, but it was bottled by weight, and not by volume. So each bottle was more than plenty for the casting.

I ended up using my mixing cup as the mold. It was simple and I knew from a past instructable that it was a feasible choice.

I mixed up about 6oz of polyester resin for this project. For the most part, I don't like polyester resin. It's smells awful and it is very brittle while turning, but you can regulate the volume of hardener (catalyst) which allows you to do a deep pour, which would fail with other two part resin. I ended up using 3 drops of hardener per oz or resin (18 drops total)

At this point the only thing I'm worried about is sneezing too much. I have no idea what is in store for me...

Step 2:

24 hours later, I had a fully cured blank ready for turning at the lathe. This is a super simple turning. The start is a 1" hole drilled completely through the blanks. This hole is where the ground pepper will fall through the grinder once assembled. This is the point, when I first got a clue what sort of horror I was in for.

I got the pepper dust on my sleeve and inadvertently wiped it on my face. Then the burning started...

I turned the blank around on my lathe, and began the turning process. This is a simple process of turning a shape for the pepper mill handle, but the turning process took FOREVER. My eyes were watering, my face was burning my nose was running. Chaos. Total chaos. I had totally weaponized my lathe...

I used my carbide turning chisels as the polyester resin is super brittle. Anything other than crazy sharp tools will result in loosing large chunks of the blank.

Once turned. I went it inside, took a shower and worked up my nerve to come back to the shop and finish this project....

Step 3: Sanding & Polishing

I sanded from 120 - 800 grit and then switched over to my micro mesh pads. They start at 1500 grit and graduate up to 12000 grit. Wet sanding was a joy, and my eyes and lungs were so happy to not be assaulted with seasoning.

I love the way the bottom of this blank looks, with the whole peppercorns on the base.

Step 4: Assembly

I ended up giving this 5 coats of spray lacquer to seal in the exposed peppercorns. I didn't show this in the video, as it was already getting longer than I would have liked.

The assembly is easy. 2 wood screws. Load it up with peppercorns, and get grinding!

Thanks for looking!

1 Person Made This Project!


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16 Discussions


3 years ago

Thank you for this! It is a beautiful product, and entertaining video, and a great lesson learned. Honestly, you deserve some sort of indestructible lessons learned award for this.

The Innkeeper

3 years ago

This is mad!

And genius!

You are a mad genius.


3 years ago

Awesome! But won't the pepper inside it smell like the stinky polyester resin? :)


3 years ago

Love the aesthetics looks quite medieval


3 years ago

I always love your stuff, but I think we can agree that this project kind of falls under "some people just ask for it, you know what I mean?" But since you knew that going in, you were a trooper to take it on in answer to your bombardment of comments. I think it could look really Euro and cool with a sleeker, stainless actual milling part, and the multicoloured peppers would be really pretty. Perhaps there is someone you don't much care for who is looking for a project idea.....


3 years ago

pretty cool! u should try again using rainbow peppercorns. they are, like the name,, white, black, green. that is all i use for cooking so i know how pretty the corns are...


3 years ago

Ha! Meta. I like it.


3 years ago

Love it man, of course seen the video before I've read the article (the benefits of being a subscriber I guess), but I always like to check the articles out as well!



Reply 3 years ago

I was able to find a similar mechanism here:


Reply 3 years ago

I think they all come from the same place, and they all see to be on backorder currently....


3 years ago

I have to admit, just reading this made me start sneezing - no joke!!

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Ha! So sorry! I was expecting more sneezing. Mostly there was just crying....