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Oct 6, 2008 10:46 AM

Is my rusty pepper mill a goner?

I was given a lovely handcrafted wooden pepper mill. Unfortunately, the grinding mechanism has gotten rusty and it's leaving bits of rust in food - not good. Is there anything I can do to salvage it or is it a write-off?

(Strangely, the other grinder that came with the set, which I use for sea salt, has not rusted. One would have thought that if anything, it might be the reverse.)

Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. If you can take it apart, try using a very small wire brush to remove the loose rust. A bore brush from a gun cleaning kit will work, if you have one. If you don't live in a high humidity zone, you should be ok after that. If the other grinder was intended to grind salt, the mechanism is probably ceramic.

    1. I would ditch it for one with either a Stainless Steel or Ceramic grinding mechanism. Likely what you have is a simple carbon steel mechanism that is prone to rusting or simply shows years of neglect. The thing is that the rust affected critical grinding surfaces. Once it gets removed it may be too worn to do a decent job in grinding.

      Now you can do a google search for replacement grinding mill mechanisms to salvage the mill. Perhaps some wood craft stores either carry them or can get them.

      1. Thank you both for your suggestions.

        The mechanism does come apart, and I just discovered that I was wrong when I posted yesterday, it *was* the sea salt one that has rusted - which makes a lot more sense.

        The entire thing is rusted, including the metal piece that runs up the length of the grinder, so perhaps I'll try seeking out a ceramic replacement.

        Thanks again!