I’ve been making a list (and checking it twice) of Christmas gift projects I want to do. I had a couple of hours last night so I thought I’d try turning a pepper grinder.
Generally I’m not a big fan of “kit projects”, but this seemed like it would make a good gift so I picked up a stainless grinder mechanism at Woodcraft a while back. I had a block of Claro Walnut kicking around, so I thought I’d give it a whirl (opps, pun).
Caveat: I’m no “turner”. I’m totally making this up as I go. I can count the number of wood turning projects I’ve done on one hand and have fingers left over for other things.
First off, I mounted the blank between centers and started roughing it with a gouge.
That wasn’t too bad. If I work just a small area at a time it’s controllable.
Then I marked out the sections for the base and lid, and turned “tenons” to grab in the chuck.
Then I bored the hole through the middle of the body. That was a pain in the neck. A giant pain in the neck. My lathe isn’t adequate to do this (it was only $75 though, I’m certainly not complaining), so I had to use my drill press. Forstner bits are not ideal for deep holes, the chips quickly get jammed behind the bit. I didn’t have a good way to clamp the blank, and the travel on my drill press isn’t enough to drill the entire hole without re-positioning the table. Yikes. If I ever do one of these again I need to have a better way to bore the center out. And of course the hole ends up being slightly off center.
I made a tapered plug to hold the center. I should have made the taper more gradual, it was too steep and didn’t register in the hole as accurately as it should have, which meant that even after turning the body the hole is still slightly off center. This kind of thing really bugs me.
The rest of the process is just trying to turn it to an attractive shape. I had a different shape in mind honestly, but because of some tear out and other problems I had to adjust my plan along the way. I know I’m the only guy that happens to.
I wiped on a coat of “Tried and True” and left it to dry. I’ll put a couple of coats on over the next few days, then mount the mechanism inside. Overall, it’s “OK”. I give it a C+ or maybe a B- if we’re grading on a curve.