Pepper mill finish

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Dave Fritz, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    I'm finding a lot of disagreement on what finish to use on pepper mills. Some swearing by a surface finish like lacquer or poly, others swearing by an oil finish like tung oil or Danish oil.

    I'm wondering what finish those of you that make and sell pepper mills recommend? The last thing I want is for something to come back because of a failed finish.
     
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I haven't noticed any disagreement or swearing, but I'm sure that most everybody has their favorite finish, so I would say to try several and pick your favorite. There's more than one right way and none are absolutely perfect. Oils take from a few weeks to a few month to cure and mineral oil doesn't polymerize. Waxes and shellac can be affected by greasy hands. Varnishes may out-gas for several months. Some finishes don't fare well with certain tropical hardwoods. Some exotic woods might not fare well with the allergies of some people. Some oily woods may taint the smell of pepper or of salt in the case of a salt mill, so I wouldn't use any kind of finish on the interior of the mill.
     
  3. dave clausen

    dave clausen

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    I agree with bill what makes you more comfortable, i like tung oil i used it on some curly ash and it was amazing the depth of field was incredable. i use a bowl finish on the inside.
     
  4. Tom Hamilton

    Tom Hamilton

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    Hi Dave - I switched over to using lacquer on pepper mills because they're handled all the time. I used to use a friction polish (Shellawax), but I noticed over time that the finish dulled.

    I have a couple of "foodie" friends that get a lot of use out of their pepper mill(s). The first one I made them "dulled out" pretty quickly, I noticed this when I was at their place for supper. So I made them another one and this time I used spray lacquer. That was about 5 years ago, and as of last week it still looks like new.

    Happy Turning - Tom

    Edit = I do not put any finish on the inside. - tjh
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  5. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    Thanks Tom and everyone. I've been making my own wipe on poly by cutting regular poly with DA 50/50. I wonder if I'd need twice as many coats to build a finish. In other words when I put on six coats am I only really putting on three coats of poly? Does the DA evaporate off?
     
  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    What is DA?

    Denatured alcohol would be my guess (or what some turners abbreviate as DNA which is likely to confuse other people who aren't woodworkers). I could be wrong since I haven't tried it, but denatured alcohol may not be a good thinner for varnish if for no other reason than the almost inescapable high moisture content. Ethyl and methyl alcohol both love to absorb moisture from the air as well as sopping up liquid water.

    I have always made my own wipe on polyurethane varnish by using a 50/50 mixture of VM&P naphtha with the varnish. If you want a slower drying wipe on finish then use mineral spirits (AKA paint thinner) instead of naphtha. The number of coats depends on what you want it to look like. For furniture, I use between three and six coats.

    Anything that is a VOC (volatile organic compound) will evaporate from the finish. This would include paint thinner, naphtha, xylene, lacquer thinner, MEK, acetone, and denatured alcohol.
     
  7. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    Good catch Bill. My typo, I use mineral spirits.
     

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