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Thread: Turning and assembling a salt or pepper mill using a Crush Grind "Wood" mechanism.

  1. #1
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    Turning and assembling a salt or pepper mill using a Crush Grind "Wood" mechanism.

    A couple of us hijacked Alex Reid's Post on some beautiful Pepper Mills he made. I thought I'd bring the conversation over here so we can continue refining the process.

    Background and Issues

    Chuck Ellis provided some great insight into the mechanics of assembling the mill, which prompted me to exercise my engineering genes to see if I could design an easy to turn, bore, and assemble pepper mill which allows the greatest grain or lamination match, especially where there is a diagonal orientation of the lamination.


    Shown here are two mills where the parting and subsequent cutting back of a tenon for joining the two halves together show a discontinuity of pattern. (Note: I am not being critical of this turner's work, it is the nature of this type of turning and assembly.)


    Here is a photo of the Crush Grind "Wood" pepper mill mechanism:


    As you can see it doesn't require a shaft, allows a mill of any size, and may be placed anywhere within the mill. The bottom is a hollow round cylinder with the grinder at the bottom, the top a smaller hollow cylinder with prongs at the top. It rotates where the top meets the bottom.

    As Chuck and I discussed the assembly, he pointed out you glue the lower half of the mechanism to the lower part of your mill, and, using a brass rod inserted into a tenon, 'secure' the upper half of the mechanism to the upper part of your mill. By this we mean the prongs 'catch' the brass rod so that the top rotates as you turn the upper part of your mill.

    Most instructions for use of these mechanisms require 'blind' boring a series of different size holes, of very specific length and even the cutting of a rebate in the top half to catch the ends of the prongs.


    This picture shows the number of required hole sizes. The rebate or groove is designed to capture the prongs. You will also notice the tenon on the lower part of the blue top section of the mill. This is 'lost' to the outside of your mill, leading to discontinuity of grain or lamination. This design also requires creating a lid for the mill or unscrewing the grinder for refills.

    My plan calls for the same size and number of holes, but allows them to be cut off of the lathe and allows of assembly in easy to accomplish steps.

    Turning and Assembly

    My suggestion was to use inserts or plugs (or sleeves) within each half of the mill, to aid assembly and allow for close tolerances between the two halves.

    Here are the steps:
      1. Turn a cylinder with one tenon at the headstock.
      2. Mount the tenon into a chuck and turn to desired shape.
      3. Finish the mill at this time if using a friction finish. (Other finishes may be applied later in the process if desired.)
      4. Bore out one long wide hole ((1 ” to 2”)), almost to the tenon, making a hollow cylinder. (If the bored hole has the same inside diameter of the cylinder as the outside diameter of the stock used for the inserts/plugs, so much the better.)
      5. Either remove from lathe to 'part' using a band saw or thin-bladed chop saw; or part on lathe. (You now have a top half and a bottom half.) (The thinner the blade or part, the greater the match in grain or lamination.)
      6. Sand and finish the two cut edges.
      7. Create two plugs/inserts (O.D. = I.D. of cylinder) ; The bottom plug is as long as the mill mechanism lower half.) (The top plug/insert is as long as the mill mechanism upper half AND the distance the plug/insert will be inserted into the top half of the Mill.) (You may want to bevel the top part of the top insert in toward the hole in its center to aid in the flow of salt or pepper.)
      8. Drill one plug/insert for the bottom, sized for the bottom of the mill mechanism ((1 9/16”)).
      9. Drill one plug/insert for the top, sized for the top of the mill mechanism ((1 1/16”)), drill for, and inset a thin brass rod through it to 'catch' the prongs of the top half of the mechanism .
      10. Aligning the two plugs/inserts on the bench top; mark, drill, and insert two to four Neodymium magnets with opposing poles so, when aligned in the mill, the two halves of the mill will tightly fit together and stay together. (Don't use 'monster' magnets with 1,000 pound holding power, you want the mill to turn easily.)
      11. Glue the top plug into the top half exposing .5" - 1" to be inserted into the bottom half.
      12. Glue mechanism into bottom plug/insert. Install and glue the bottom plug/insert .5" - 1" down from the top of the bottom half. (If you wait for the glue of the top insert/plug to cure, you can insert the bottom plug/insert far enough to 'meet' the top insert/plug and ensure a nice tight fit.) (Also you can use thin plastic 'washers' on the matching surfaces to allow for a nice 'slick', smooth movement between the top and bottom.)
      13. Assemble / Grind / Enjoy / Repeat.

    While this drawing only shows one insert/plug/sleeve, you can easily make two which allow easier assembly.


    Because someone, soon enough, will tell me to put my 'money where my mouth is', I will be trying out my plan this weekend and posting photographs of the progress/results.
    Last edited by Frank Townend; 01-25-2009 at 03:43 PM.



  2. #2
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    Hey Frank,
    When this becomes the norm for assembling this style of peppermill we're gonna be famous.

    Joking aside, I'm going to copy your post and put it in my notebook on techniques for the peppermills.. I think you have hit on something here that's definitely worth a try. It'll be a while before I make any more peppermills though, I have about 20 in stock that I need to sell before I make any more, Plus my wife is going into surgery next week for a hip replacement and I'll need to stick close to her for a couple of weeks or maybe longer until she's fully recovered, so little shop time for a while.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  3. #3
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    We can be the next Pepper Mill mongols. I really appreciate your encouragement Chuck. The more I think about this, the more I like it. Heck, you could sell seasonal mills with a set of replacement tops for Christmas, New Years, July 4th, Halloween, etc. Think of the possibilities!

    Of course I hope your existing stock quickly sells.

    It goes without saying I wish your wife a speedy recovery and you the patience to jump each time she rings the bell.

    All the best Chuck, I like working with you.

    Frank



  4. #4
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    Frank I love the set you pictured. The colors are great. and I wish I could make something like that on the lathe... some day

    I couldn't help laugh though when I fist looked at the set but all those years watching old sci-fi movies as a kid caused me to see a "one eyed alien couple" standing together I think my mind is a bit warped like some of my lumber You know how us "non spinner" type guys are
    Aloha,

    What goes around, comes around.

  5. #5
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    Royal,
    Some of us here probably kinda envy you right now... what's the weather like in HI... It's been a few years (maybe 30+) since I was in Hawaii... can't talk too much about the trips, LOML gets jealous. First wife and I made several trips over when I worked for TWA, even looked into moving over once before they closed the station in HNL. One of our trips was to the Kona coast... don't remember the hotel name just now, but we rented a car for a day for a drive over to Hilo while there... but spent most of our time on the beach.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Royall. Hey, if I can turn things you can turn things. They are very colorful, I am more of the understated type project guy, but the colors are beautiful.

    Also, as with Chuck and a Wind Chill of 19, the islands look mighty tempting.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Ellis View Post
    Royal,
    Some of us here probably kinda envy you right now... what's the weather like in HI... It's been a few years (maybe 30+) since I was in Hawaii... can't talk too much about the trips, LOML gets jealous. First wife and I made several trips over when I worked for TWA, even looked into moving over once before they closed the station in HNL. One of our trips was to the Kona coast... don't remember the hotel name just now, but we rented a car for a day for a drive over to Hilo while there... but spent most of our time on the beach.
    Good morning Chuck, It's funny but it is 64* (6:20am) and I'm bundled up in sweats to keep warm I'm from the northwest and in the almost 4 years being here the blood has thinned way out To top it off there are no heaters in the homes here so you just gotta bundle up until the sun comes up. Electric heaters are out as the cost of electricity is about .30 a kw We have propane for the range, dryer, and on demand hot water. Still the electric bill is about 140 bucks a month and more lately (160 bucks)as I've been working in the shop more.

    But still though I'll never move back to the mainland, couldn't face another winter there!

    Do miss the availability of woodworking tools and materials though


    Frank, how do you people stand that kind of cold? Even growing up in Tacoma, I hated it when it got down to the 20's and 30's
    Aloha,

    What goes around, comes around.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Royall Clark View Post
    Frank, how do you people stand that kind of cold? Even growing up in Tacoma, I hated it when it got down to the 20's and 30's
    I will say there are a lot of places much colder than Washington, DC, but I stay warm by bundling up and qualifying for indoor work.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Townend View Post

    While this drawing only shows one insert/plug/sleeve, you can easily make two which allow easier assembly.


    Why turn a sleeve?

    Can't you just drill a smaller hole from the top then enlarge the hole down to about 85% of the length/depth?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Sardo View Post
    Why turn a sleeve?

    Can't you just drill a smaller hole from the top then enlarge the hole down to about 85% of the length/depth?
    I believe the sleeve lets you avoid drilling all the way through the top. Gives you to have a closed top -- no threaded rod and knob sticking out the top of the mill.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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