Salt & Pepper Shakers and Mills
Published by Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd, East Sussex UK
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 158
Salt and pepper shakers and mills are among the most popular woodturning projects undertaken in many countries including Australia. The necessary fittings for the mills are readily available and large quantities are sold each year.
Despite this level of activity, the end products seen in club displays, regional and national Shows, tend to be remarkably similar. Turning Salt and Pepper Shakers and Mills by Chris West should help to change that. It is essentially a collection of 30 projects, ranging from the easily recognisable to the highly unusual.
The first few short chapters of the book deal with the tools, health and safety issues and the woods used for the projects. The latter are, of course, almost exclusively Northern Hemisphere species but the comments made concerning them should make it easier to choose local equivalents.
The rest of the book is divided into three sections. The first contains Shaker projects and the second, Mill projects. Each of these is preceded by a general discussion about their history and important aspects to be considered in their design. (The preamble to the Mill projects also includes a chapter on selecting a mill mechanism.)
The third section covers the use of the Crush-Grind Mechanism and offers separate projects for this.
The diversity of designs may be inferred from their names:
The Garlic Shaker looks like a head of garlic, the Dog Bone looks like a stylised bone and the Donut...
The Beehive is perhaps a little harder to envisage from its name, but the Bell should be easy enough as well as the Hat and the Semicircular. Some woodturners will be familiar with the traditional Muffineer design though itís hard to see how it is related to a dish for keeping muffins hot.
The range of Mills is equally large, beginning with the Classic, followed by the Modern, Cayman (no hint in that - it was named after a customer!) and the Oriental (with a sort of onion dome top).
The Olive Oil Bottle and Chianti Bottle are distant departures from the norm, the Elizabethan returns to something more familiar while the Spherical Combo replaces the usual tall appearance with one that is squat and geometric.
Finally, there are two versions of a Vinegar Bottle, an Armless Man, a Three Sided Mill and even a Pocket Pepper Mill.
The section devoted to the Crush and Grind Mechanism starts with six pages describing the mechanism itself and the turning necessary to accommodate it.
This is followed by four projects that use this type of mechanism: Mushroom Combo, Chess King, Chewed Pear and Double Ended.
The presentation of all the projects consists of a photo, dimensioned drawings and clear, well-written instructions for turning. While woodturners will undoubtedly enjoy making them, the author clearly hopes to fire the imagination of his readers so that they will experiment with their own designs. To this end, he has included a small Gallery which includes condiment holders made by several leading woodturners.
Projects (TraditionaI mechanism)
Projects (CrushGrind mechanism)