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Decent Peppermill Kits?

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As the title suggests, I'm wondering what some good peppermill kits are? I'm thinking about turning a few for Christmas presents. I got some of the popular pen kits last year, some of which turned out to be cheap junk that I wasted some nice wood on. I don't mind paying a bit more for a step up in quality. Thanks-Aaron
 
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Beware some require forstner bits in the 1/16" increment. if you have the 1/16" forstner bits, no problem then. I like the chefware kits. Easy to assemble. Easy to adjust length. Different kits for salt vs. pepper.
 
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I like the crush-grind from https://chefwarekits.com I made a tool to cut the grove instead of cutting off the tabs, seems easier then cutting and gluing however, both methods work. After giving away too many to count, I finally made one for myself... Made the bore oversized so I don't have to fill it every other day.
Ash, 10.5 x 2.5
 

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Woodcut makes a cutter that cuts the different sized holes for the Crushgrind needed in one cut. Then all you need to do is cut a groove for the lugs (or cut them off and I think people use glue). A nice piece of equipment if you settle on the Crushgrind as the kit you like to make.
 
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Don't even consider making a salt shaker, pepper mill, etc. until you get (and read) a copy of Turning Salt & Pepper Shakers And Mills by Chris West. There's a section in the book dedicated to the CrushGrind@ mechanism. Everything you need to know.

You don't need a "kit". Buy CrushGrind mechanisms (see Packard Woodworks at https://www.packardwoodworks.com/153201.html?Category_Code=). Pick your favorite wood (3"x3"x12") for the mill body and cap and turn the exterior to the shape that you desire.

Some photos of my work:

Suzie Salt Mill 1st Place September 2015 GCWA.jpg ______ Julie and Leslie Salt MIlls 1st Place July 2016 GCWA.jpg

Some info from an earlier post follows.

When properly installed, the CrushGrind@ mechanism requires no epoxy or similar adhesive. Here’s the deal.

Most, but not all, instructions for making CrushGrind@ mills provided by US suppliers specify 1) a 1⁹/₁₆” diameter hole in the mill body for the grinding mechanism, 2) removal of the spring clips from the grinding mechanism and 3) use of epoxy (or similar) to secure the grinding mechanism in the mill body. These same instructions specify 1) a 15/16” diameter hole in the mill cap for the stopper, 2) removal of the spring clips from the stopper and 3) use of epoxy (or similar) to secure the stopper in the mill cap. One can make a very nice pepper/salt/spice mill using these instructions. But there is a better way! It’s the no epoxy-required way.

The manufacturer’s recommendation for the diameter of the hole in the mill body for the CrushGrind@ mechanism is 38mm (1.496”). I am good with calling that 1½” (1.500”). The manufacturer’s recommendation for the diameter of the hole in the mill cap for the stopper is 22mm (0.866”). I am good with calling that 7/8” (0.875”).

No epoxy (or similar) is required to secure the grinding mechanism in the mill body and the stopper in the mill cap if 1) the CrushGrind@ manufacture’s recommendations for the mill body and mill cap hole diameters are used and 2) a groove is cut in the mill body and the mill cap to accept the spring clips on the grinding mechanism and stopper.

Sorby makes a groove cutting tool for CrushGrind@ mechanisms. It's available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Sorby-895CGH-Crush-Grind/dp/B00JMJKML2. It’s a must-have tool if one is going to install the CrushGrind@ mechanism in pepper/salt/spice mills using the spring clips and no epoxy.

With the grinding mechanism and stopper press fit into the mill body and cap, respectively, and the spring clips lock into the mill body and cap grooves, epoxy is not required for a secure fit.

An excellent set of instructions for making a pepper/salt/spice mill using the CrushGrind@ mechanism can be found in Turning Salt & Pepper Shakers and Mills by Chris West, “Drilling and Fitting a CrushGrind@ Mechanism,” p 132.

In my opinion, the CrushGrind@ mechanism is far superior to the stainless steel grinding mechanisms. It can be used to grind pepper, salt and spices. The grind can be adjusted from coarse to very fine. It’s made of non-corrosive ceramic. There is a 25-year guarantee on the ceramic parts inside the CrushGrind@ mechanism.

Give it a try. I think you will like it. – John

PS - The Sorby groove cutting tool is notched to register the correct depth of the groove in the mill body. It is also etched for the correct depth of the groove in the mill cap. - J
 

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The first exposure to the Crushgrind for me came from Brendan Stemp who has good videos of using the Crushgrind. On his site he had photos of the cutter he made for cutting the groove. I tried making a couple but found the Sorby groove cutting tool worked great and did not continue trying to make the other work. His site is where I also learned about the Mill Drill that cuts the holes. It has 2 adjustable cutters that make the drilling a snap. I did an article on it.
 
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Northfield, MN
The first exposure to the Crushgrind for me came from Brendan Stemp who has good videos of using the Crushgrind. On his site he had photos of the cutter he made for cutting the groove. I tried making a couple but found the Sorby groove cutting tool worked great and did not continue trying to make the other work. His site is where I also learned about the Mill Drill that cuts the holes. It has 2 adjustable cutters that make the drilling a snap. I did an article on it.
Since I am not familiar with either the Mill Drill or Sorby's tool can you tell me if both are required for efficiency? I assume it's quicker to drill the hole(s) first with the Mill Drill and then use the Sorby tool for the grooves. Is this accurate?
 
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May 8, 2019
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Funen, Denmark
+1 On both the West book and the CrushGrind. It's pretty easy to grind down any old scraper og skew for the same use as the Sorby tool.
 

Dennis J Gooding

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A couple of comments on the Crush Grind units. First, I use a 1.5 inch Forstner bit and then ream the hole as needed with a small side-cutting scraper. Second, there a tendency for the cap to fall off in use if it is not fitted well. Let the metal rod protrude as much as possible when fitting the cap.
 
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www.gulfcoastwoodturners.org
A couple of comments on the Crush Grind units. First, I use a 1.5 inch Forstner bit and then ream the hole as needed with a small side-cutting scraper. Second, there a tendency for the cap to fall off in use if it is not fitted well. Let the metal rod protrude as much as possible when fitting the cap.
Dennis - You should not have to ream the mill body for the CrushGrind mechanism when using 1.5" hole in mill body. CrushGrind mechanism can easily be pressed into the 1.5" hole until the locking lugs engage the groove in the mill body.

The mill cap will not fall off if the grinding shaft if properly fitted into the mill cap. See photo. - John
1630467563185.png
 
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I noticed that Crown makes a CrushGrind tool as well as Sorby. Any thoughts on which style performs better?
Bill - The Sorby groove cutting tool is notched to register the correct depth of the groove in the mill body. It is also etched for the correct depth of the groove in the mill cap. Crown has neither the notch nor the etched line; therefore, I would recommend the Sorby tool. - John
 
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Hampton Roads Virginia
The groove the the lugs fit into is about 3/16th wide by 1/8th deep so making a tool from a leftover scraper is easy and saves money to spend on the MillDrill.
I understand what Dennis is saying about the cap coming off. My first grinders used the 1 inch part of the cap insert to index the cap to the bore body, and yes, if grinding with wild abandon, the cap would come off. I have since added a larger diameter tenon (?) to the top, one, because I grind with wild abandon, Two, because I wanted a larger bore for more peppercorns, and three, it alleviated the problem of the cap coming off mid grind. Lots of trails to follow, lots of good information above. One thing I would mention, Fostner bits are sharpenable...

Mill w:tenon.jpg
 
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Bill - The Sorby groove cutting tool is notched to register the correct depth of the groove in the mill body. It is also etched for the correct depth of the groove in the mill cap. Crown has neither the notch nor the etched line; therefore, I would recommend the Sorby tool. - John
Thanks John for your insights. Looks like I'm adding a new tool.
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
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Quorn, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
A possible advantage of cutting grooves

You could at a future point in time dismantle the peppermill ,turn a new mill and reuse the crushgrind mechanism
It also solves the question of what to give the wife each year on her birthday or for Christmas
 
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I don't make many mills, so rather than invest in the mill drill or the sorby groove scraper I noodle by with a little glue and using the forsteners I have on hand...if I was to make more than a couple a year, I'd stand in line for both, but...
That said, the crushgrind mechanisms work best for me - both salt and pepper.
 

Dennis J Gooding

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Dennis - You should not have to ream the mill body for the CrushGrind mechanism when using 1.5" hole in mill body. CrushGrind mechanism can easily be pressed into the 1.5" hole until the locking lugs engage the groove in the mill body.

The mill cap will not fall off if the grinding shaft if properly fitted into the mill cap. See photo. - John
View attachment 40223
John, I wonder if the crushgind mill kits obtained from different sources are identical. I just ran an experiment using a kit from Craft Supplies. I drilled a deep end-grain hole into a scrap of hard wood using a 1.5" Forstner bit. The hole size checked dead accurate on my digital calipers. I found that I could force the end of the grinder body, including the locking lugs, into the 1.5 inch hole with a strong manual force and a bit of rocking of it. However, I could not by hand force the rest of the body into the hole. Conceivably, a rap with heavy mallet would have forced it in, but at the risk of splitting the wood body. Given that risk, I choose to spend a bit of time to ream the hole just a bit.



into a scrap piece of
 
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Crushgrind do make 2 variants
I received this reply to an e mail I sent to CrushGrind Denmark

The mechanism supplied in the Uk is CrushGrind Diamond

The mechanism available from stock in Denmark and our local partners is called CrushGrind Diamond.

We also have a mechanism range called CrushGrind Quadro, but this is only available FOB China and in larger volumes.
But actually, the guarantee and dimensions are the same on Diamond and Quadro.

The Quadro is our latest and patented version. But as mentioned this is only available in larger volumes (MOQ 5,000pcs).
 

brian horais

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As the title suggests, I'm wondering what some good peppermill kits are? I'm thinking about turning a few for Christmas presents. I got some of the popular pen kits last year, some of which turned out to be cheap junk that I wasted some nice wood on. I don't mind paying a bit more for a step up in quality. Thanks-Aaron
Aaron, I use the Crushgrind mechanism that can be purchased from Penn State Industries (pennstateind.com). It goes by the name 'PKGRINDTL' and sells for $9.95 or less (depending on quantity). The mechanism is well built with a ceramic grinder section and an aluminum shaft that can be cut to length for your specific peppermill design. Because the mechanism was made for metric sizing, the 1 1/2 inch hole you make at the bottom of the peppermill is just a little bit too small for the mechanism body. You correct this by trimming off the six ridges on the peppermill mechanism body. Then the entire mechanism can be pushed into the 1 1/2 inch hole for a fit check. Also, I do not use a groove for the tabs to engage because this would make it very difficult to remove the mechanism if you ever need to (believe me I have gotten some strange requests from customers who have twisted the aluminum shaft completely off!). Instead of the groove for the tabs I use three stainless steel screws in the bottom of the peppermill within the recessed opening to lock in the mechanism. You can see the PKGRINDTL mechanism, the trimming area for the ribs and the three screws in the attached images. Hope this helps.
 

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I emailed CrushGrind in Denmark during 2020

Attached are copies of the files I received Additionally I have included diagram of a CrushGrind tool which may be useful
 

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  • CrushGrind Wood Drilling Instruction 2018 (6).pdf
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Joined
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Aaron, I use the Crushgrind mechanism that can be purchased from Penn State Industries (pennstateind.com). It goes by the name 'PKGRINDTL' and sells for $9.95 or less (depending on quantity). The mechanism is well built with a ceramic grinder section and an aluminum shaft that can be cut to length for your specific peppermill design. Because the mechanism was made for metric sizing, the 1 1/2 inch hole you make at the bottom of the peppermill is just a little bit too small for the mechanism body. You correct this by trimming off the six ridges on the peppermill mechanism body. Then the entire mechanism can be pushed into the 1 1/2 inch hole for a fit check. Also, I do not use a groove for the tabs to engage because this would make it very difficult to remove the mechanism if you ever need to (believe me I have gotten some strange requests from customers who have twisted the aluminum shaft completely off!). Instead of the groove for the tabs I use three stainless steel screws in the bottom of the peppermill within the recessed opening to lock in the mechanism. You can see the PKGRINDTL mechanism, the trimming area for the ribs and the three screws in the attached images. Hope this helps.
Brian and everyone else-I can't thank you and everyone else enough for all the helpful suggestions. Sounds like the crush-grind mechanism is the overwhelming preference. I hope to get to some of these soon, but for the past month-plus I have been trying to keep a very big English department of a huge suburban high school running, with numerous teachers and students out at any give time either with covid, awaiting test results, or just quarantining (not to mention some I think are just taking advantage). Plus I'm teaching our largest AP English Language and Literature class in decades along with a couple of sections of English IV Honors. Oh, and we got almost an entirely new administration, which was desperately needed, but we're basically re-inventing a large high school. Don't get me wrong-I love my job more than words can express. It's truly my mission in life, but it definitely limits my shop time until I get a break.

That said, your suggestions are appreciated, and will be acted on at some point.

edit: I try to keep a sense of humor about things. I kept saying that last year was my most challenging year in 25 years of teaching, but this year said, "Wait, hold my beer," lol. Turning is helping me stay sane. In fact I'm finishing up a beautiful black walnut bowl today. Take care of yourselves, gentlemen. Now back to the topic.
 
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Thanks John for your insights. Looks like I'm adding a new tool.
I agree. I use crush grind all the time. I have the mill drill but don’t like it. Takes forever to set right size to drill and leaves to many marks to clean up. A really sharp forstner bit works much better. A Aldo have the sorry groove cutter. Works really well and fast. Love it.
 

brian horais

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John, here's the Penn State Industries PKGRINDTL instructions that describe the Forstner bit sizes on page 1 and then discuss removing the ribs on page 2 due to the metric sizing

Brian (a different one...)
 

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John perhaps I am being a little pedantic

The imperial forstner bit sizes recommended are constant but there is a
variation in the metric sizes from different sources

Please see the files In my post 18th September (8.53am)

The file from CrushGrind Demark indicates sizes of 42.5mm ,38mm,and 22mm
NB The diagrams do give tolerances

The CrushGrind tool file sizes 45mm 38mm and 22mm

Page 132 of Chris West's book Turning salt and pepper shakers and mills, states metric
sizes 44mm, 38mm, and 22mm and imperial sizes of 1 3/4, 1 1/2, and 7/8

The imperial sizes I commonly see stated in posts in the USA are
1 3/4, 1 1/2, and 7/8
These equate to 45mm 38mm and 22mm
 
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Woodcut makes a cutter that cuts the different sized holes for the Crushgrind needed in one cut. Then all you need to do is cut a groove for the lugs (or cut them off and I think people use glue). A nice piece of equipment if you settle on the Crushgrind as the kit you like to make.
Hi all for anyone interested here is a Peppermill production demonstration that features the Woodcut Mill Drill presented by Colwin Way (see the Woodcut Mill Drill about 17 mins in)
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLWWqXvKXZU&t=1060s&ab_channel=AxminsterTools
 
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