June 2013 Demo
“Back to the Grind”
By Chas Thornhill
I have been turning for a few years now, and though I have tackled the obligatory pens, bowls, and goblets, I left the peppermills and salt grinders to the folks with more experience and talent for machining wood. I imagined the precision required and thought the mills and grinders did not lend themselves to my freeform, un-planned turning style. After all, I very rarely know how my pieces will turn out and that, it seemed to me, would rule out projects that require such tight tolerances.
Little did I know, there were options within the realm of grinders and mills that did not require such a high level ofprecision. This is due mainly to the one piece form factor, but also because of the smaller size of these kits. One of the kits I will demonstrate is actually turned on a mandrel using bushings like an oversized pen barrel.
Two of the kits I will demo use crank handles to drive the grinding mechanism and I personally think they have a great retro look. But as several of my customers have mentioned, they can also be easier to operate for folks with less strength or hand issues.
These kits can be turned with smaller pieces of wood and can take virtually any shape. Part of the attraction these kits hold is the virtually unlimited shapes that possible. I developed a signature shape I call the “Handfull” grinder which is larger than a normal grinder but fits even small hands comfortably. I think sometimes people are hesitant to turn traditional grinders and peppermills because they think it needs to have a traditional look. But grinders can take any shape, and the single piece designs can lend themselves to experimentation.
If I am speedy enough and get through the first two designs with some time to spare, I will demo a third peppermill. This one is more of a traditional style grinder, but with a slight “twist” (pun intended). The top of the mill, the piece you turn to grind the pepper, is also a salt shaker complete with a perforated chrome top. This kit is a bit more complex to turn, but well worth the extra effort.
I hope you can be at the WNT meeting on June 27th. I look forward to seeing you and getting “Back to the Grind”.