Salt and Pepper Mills

There was an article in the Dec/Jan 13 issue of Woodcraft Magazine describing how to make salt and pepper mills using mechanisms purchased at, you guessed it, Woodcraft stores.  This looked like something that would make nice gifts for Marilyn’s side of the family because they were invited to our house for a Christmas party.  The idea was to set the mills on the table and then to give them to the people using them.  The recipients were happy, I was happy, Marilyn was happy, so it was a hit!

The project was fun because I got to do some turning with hard maple for the salt mill and cherry for the pepper mill.  The project went quite well although the mills didn’t match in shape perfectly, but they were close enough that no one noticed.  My spindle turning improved as a result of making 8 mills (6 for gifts, 2 for us).

Cutting Blank

Cutting the blank at the chop saw

Roughing the blank

Turning the square blank to round

Sizing Tenon

Sizing the tenon for holding in a chuck

Refining Tenon

Refining the tenon


Laying out the top, bottom, V grooves and minor diameter

Separating Top from Bottom

Getting ready to separate the top from the bottom

Sawing top from bottom

Separating the top from the bottom with a saw


Drilling the base to accept the mill mechanism and contents

Establishing the minor diameter

Sizing in the minor diameter of the mill body

Turning to Shape

Starting to shape the mill body and top

Completing Shape

The mill continues to take it’s form

Completed Turning

The final shape of the mill ready for finishing

Decorative Burning

The groove at the top of the pepper mill was burned to help identify salt from pepper

Completed Project

Finished mills sit along side some other Christmas gifts