Wine Bottle Peppermill

Turn four exotic woods into this wine bottle peppermill.


Philip Sheridan wood turns a wine bottle peppermill from exotic woods.

Materials and Tools:

exotic woods
- 4/4" canary wood
- 1/4" ziricote
- 1/4" Cocobolo
- 4/4" goncalo alves
yellow woodworker's glue
holly and dyed black veneer
1-1/8" hardwood dowel
12" tall stainless steel peppermill mechanism kit
3" long Cocobolo strap (for "t" handle)
table saw
radial arm saw
miter saw
band saw
sanding station (bench belt sander)
lathe and lathe chuck
homemade friction chuck for peppermills
1/2' bowl gouge
1" skew
parting tool
3/4" roughing gouge
drill press
1/2" dowel cutter (tenon cutter)
1/2" drill bit
1-1/16" Forstner drill bit
1-1/8" Forstner drill bit
2" Forstner drill bit
CA (cyanoacrylate) glue
rubber mallet
safety glasses


1. Pick the number of segments per ring for this project (12). This determines the miter angle, which for a 12-sided ring is 15 degrees. Also figure the height to determine the number of rings needed – 15 rings. The rings will be numbered 1 to 15 starting at the base for easier identification. Rip the boards of the exotic woods 1-3/8" wide.

- 7 canary body rings
- 2 canary top rings (slightly smaller)
- two 1/4" ziricote rings
- one 1/4" Cocobolo rings
- 3 goncalo aves rings



2. Cut the segments into small trapezoids at 15 degrees. Cut 12 pieces per ring for each ring listed in step 1 at 15/16" for the long side. Cut the two canary top rings at 5/8" for the long side, which makes the two top rings smaller.



3. Glue the segments in pairs. When gluing the pieces, rub them together as this produces a tighter joint and allows the pieces to be glued without clamping. Let dry. Glue three pairs into a half ring using the same rubbing method to ensure a firm bond. Let dry.

4. Sand the inside of the half ring flat – the surfaces what will be glued to form the full ring. This is a critical step. Theoretically, with precise enough cuts this would be unnecessary, but any .01 degree off could result in a gap. This step eliminates any gaps and provides nice tight joints.

5. Glue two half rings together to create a full ring. Let dry. Sand the top and bottom of the rings flat.

6. Drill two holes in the bottom ring; one hole is 2-1/2" deep and the other is 1-1/16" all the way through the peppermill mechanism.

7. Drill 1-1/8" holes centered in rings 2, 6 and 13 on the drill press. Dry assemble the body to make sure everything looks good. Note: Don't forget to turn the segments when gluing them together. Turn each new ring so the joint lines are centered from the ring below.



8. Glue rings in this order – three canary, dyed black veneer square, holly veneer square, four ziricote, holly veneer square and five goncalo alves. Clamp the rings together as the veneer will tend to bend or wrinkle and if not clamped will create a bad joint. Glue three ‘sub assemblies’ prior to gluing up the whole body.

9. Glue rings in this order – seven canary, dyed black veneer square, holly veneer square, eight ziricote, holly veneer square and nine goncalo alves.



10. Glue rings in this order – 10 canary, dyed black veneer square, holly veneer square, 11 cocobolo, holly veneer square, dyed black veneer and 12 canary.

11. When the glue is dry, drill 1-1/8" hole centered through the pieces.

12. Glue the rings together starting at the bottom. Wait about 15 minutes between adding pieces so the joints don’t move. This results in a ‘blank’ with rings 1 – 13 glued together. Don’t glue rings 14 and 15 to the body – just together.



13. When the glue is dry, the body ‘blank’ is ready to be turned. Mount to the lathe using a chuck and live center and turn to desired shape (in this case a wine bottle) using a variety of lathe tools and gouges. Make sure the top and bottom are square and trim if necessary. Sand smooth using 800-grit sandpaper.

14. Make the peppermill top from rings 14 and 15.

a. Drill a 1-1/8" hole centered 1/2" deep on one side of the top.
b. Take a 1-1/8" hardwood (oak) dowel about 1-1/4" long and mount in the lathe.
c. Sand one end of the dowel to create a slightly smaller taper so that it rotates freely in the 1-1/8" hole.
d. Glue the unsanded end into the hole on the top blank.
e. Drill a 1/2" hole through the blank for the ‘t’ handle.
f. Place the top on the turned peppermill and make sure it rotates smoothly. Mark the diameter of the finished peppermill onto the top (this mark will help get an accurate fit the first time it is turned).
g. Mount the top in the lathe and turn to the final shape. Take off and check the progress with the finished body (to ensure an exact fit and look).
h. Drill a centered hole 9/32" through the top for the mechanism shaft and sand to 800-grit.
i. With a 1/2" dowel cutter in the drill press, cut a 3" long dowel from Cocobolo. Cut the dowel in half and mount the half dowel in the lathe and sand smooth.
j. Glue the dowel halves into the 1/2" holes drilled on the top. This will form the ‘t’ handle. Use a rubber mallet to gently set the dowels in place.

15. Finish with 8-10 coats of gloss lacquer/poly-acrylic spray on finish (sanding between coats after the first four).

16. Check that the grinding shaft is the proper length for the peppermill. If not cut it to length and round over the cut ends using a hammer.

17. Install the grinding mechanism using two screws on the bottom and two screws on the top. Add peppercorns to your wine bottle peppermill.

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