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Thread: Finish for a pepper mill?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Finish for a pepper mill?

    I'm getting ready to finish a mahogany/cherry pepper mill. Any suggestions on a good finish for it? I have Watco, Tung Oil, Walnut Oil and BLO in the shop but I'm not against picking up something else if it is a better fit. Thanks!
    Last edited by Aaron Buys; 12-30-2011 at 9:51 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    International Falls, MN
    I would use a good grade of polyurethane. It will hold up better than you other choices. I used varathane brand poly on all the pepper mills I have made and they still look great after a few years. On the last one I put butcher block oil on the inside and let it completely dry before filling. It was just an experiment. It was 24" tall and had alot of bare wood on the inside that I was worried about movement from moisture.

    Hope that helps.


  3. #3
    Seal inside with wax free shellac. Check it out at It's food safe. Use oil finish on outside. It's easy to repair finish when mill gets a little banged up from use. Hard finishes (lacquer and similar) will chip/crack and are hard to repair. - John
    Last edited by John King; 06-24-2015 at 12:44 PM. Reason: Add Zinsser web site link

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Hanover, Ontario
    I have had good luck with Tung Oil from Minwax... I put three coats of the oil on with 0000 steel wool between coats. Very tough and it stands up to the Chef handling in a busy kitchen.
    Peter F.

  5. I make and sell pepper mills. I use Tung Oil, preferably Lee Valley's polymerized Tung Oil for the outside and nothing on the inside. With 3 or 4 coats this builds to a very high gloss. With use it dulls to a matte finish, but I think that's an improvement. I sand between coats and buff them with a cotton buff and buffing compound to get a smooth feel.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Redding, CA (That's in superior Calif.)
    I use minwax wipe on poly (satin) on our dark cherry and it holds up well.
    Project Salvager

    The key to the gateway of wisdom is to know that you don't know.______Stan Smith

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