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Turning a 10 Inch Peppermill

Available in Woodturns Store
The peppermill mechanism can be purchased in our online storefront.

Plan your Turning

Draw out the design of your peppermill. Determine how tall the Peppermill Body will be, and how tall the Peppermill Top will be.

Turn the Body

Select a square blank that is 1/2" longer than the Peppermill Body and 1/4" wider than the diameter of your Peppermill Body. Mount the blank on your lathe and rough turn to a cylinder. Remove the blank from the lathe and drill the 1 5/8" hole 1/2" deep in the bottom of the peppermill. Without moving the peppermill from your drill press drill the 1 1/16" hole halfway through the body. Flip the peppermill over and continue drilling the 1 1/16" hole from the other side until both holes meet.

Turn the Top

Select a square blank that is 3/4" longer than the Peppermill Top and 1/4" wider than the diameter of your Peppermill Top. Mount your blank on the lathe and rough turn to cylinder. Turn a tenon on the bottom that is 1/4" long and just shy of 1 1/16" in diameter. To size it properly, it should fit snugly in the 1 1/16" hole in the Peppermill Body. Also turn a tenon on the top of the Peppermill Top that is 1" in diameter. Remove the Peppermill Top from the lathe and drill the 3/8" hole through the center.

Finish the Peppermill

Press fit the Peppermill Top into the Peppermill Body and remount the whole peppermill on the lathe using jam chucks or a 3 or 4 jaw chuck. (SeeWays of Mounting Wood on the Lathe for more information). Turn the peppermill to final shape and sand. The 1" tenon should still be on the top of the Peppermill Top. Remove the Peppermill Body from the Top. Turn the 1 1/16" tenon down slightly so that it still fits snugly into the 1 1/16 hole in the Peppermill Body but is not sloppy. It shouldn't be smaller than 1" in diameter. The Peppermill Body should be able to rotate freely on the tenon. Remove the Peppermill Top from the lathe and remount so that you can finish the top of it. Finish turning and final sand. Remove the top from the lathe and apply your finish to the peppermill.

Installing the mechanism
(see diagram below for reference)

Slide the Grinder, Grinder Housing, Spring, and Shaft Spring Retainer over the Shaft. Slide this up through the bottom of the body of the peppermill so that the flanges of the Shaft Spring Retainer catch the lip of the 1 1/16" hole. The Grinder should be fitting inside the Grinder Housing and the Grinder Housing should fit snugly in the 1 1/16" hole.

Mark with an awl the location of the screw holes in the bottom of the Shaft Spring Retainer. Slide the retainer out of the way and drill the holes for the screws. Line up the holes of the Shaft Spring Retainer and the Grinder Shaft Retainer with the screw holes and use 2 screws to secure the grinder body.

Next, prepare the Peppermill Top by centering the Shaft Drive Plate over 1/4" tenon and the 3/8" hole. Mark the screw holes, drill the holes, and screw the Shaft Drive Plate onto the bottom of the Peppermill Top.

Slide the Peppermill Top over the Shaft. The 1/4" deep tenon should fit into the 1 1/16" hole. It shouldn't fit so tightly that the Peppermill Top can't be turned, but it also should fit so loose that the Peppermill Top can wobble. Screw the Top Knob onto the shaft. You should be able to tighten and loosen the Top Knob to adjust the spring tension on the Grinder. That regulates the size of the pepper grinds.

Filling and Use

Unscrew the Top Knob and remove the Peppermill Top from the shaft. Fill the pepper chamber 3/4 full of peppercorns and then reassemble. When dispensing pepper, always turn the Peppermill Top to the right (clockwise).





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