The other night at our local woodturning club’s monthly meeting I was asked about what was my most challenging pepper mill design to turn. And also if I ever made the mistake of turning through and into the hole that I had drilled to hold the pepper corns. My answer was that I had indeed made the mistake of turning through into the center chamber, which is 1 1/16″ (27mm) in diameter, but only on one design and it is also my toughest design to turn. I originally called this design my “drunken mill” but when I changed all of my mill and spice grinder design names over to names of people who are or were important to me in my life I now call the design the “Dailey” after my entire family, including my brothers, sister, aunts, uncles and cousins. As I tell everyone I don’t know if the Dailey’s are dysfunctional or not, but we definitely seem to be going in many different directions at the same time.
The design itself is achieved with regular spindle turning and then offset spindle turning to get the curves in the center. Offset turning is done by moving the center axis lines of the object that you are turning away from the center axis line of the lathe. It’s during the offset turning that I have had the problems of turning through into the center chamber. In order to get the best curves, the deeper I go with my cuts and the closer that I can get to the center chamber without go through into it, the better the curve will be on the mill. Ultimately my goal is to get a mill that looks like the whole design curves off to one side and I think that I have done that with this design. Please let me know what you think.