It's not very often that such a small woodworking project requires so many different tools and requires number of skills from the woodworker. In this video we made a working coffee grinder, well actually we purchased the grinding part from Lee Valley tools and made the wooden base that the grinder sits on.
It sounds like a pretty easy project but we decided to make all the corners of the box as box joints. Inside the outer box is a drawer that catches the ground coffee bits as the handles is turned and beans are ground. Then, there is one last element, so that many of the coffee grinding bits do not fall between the drawer and the outer box there is an inner lining that makes sure the ground beans all fall nicely into the drawer.
The first element is to make the outer box. We adhered to the instructions packaged with the grinding component and found them easy to follow and accurate, so why not make things easy and follow their instructions. Since we decided to make box joints for the outer box we needed a box joint jig (which we also needed for other upcoming projects too) so we made that first of all (see our other videos for details on this).
We cut the outer box sides to size and positioned them all in the box joint jig at the same time and cut and cut half the box joints in one pass and the second side joints in another pass. We checked the fit and it was perfect so went about gluing all the sides together, making sure that the box was square as the glue hardened.
The next element to make was the drawer that would catch the bean bits as they were being ground. The plans gave us specific dimensions for this and we followed them as shown. The drawer is quite small so gluing and clamping was a bit fiddly, but clamping the glued edges was easy with when we used blue Painter's masking tape to hold all the edges. It peels of easily after the glue is dry and leave a perfect little box, with not top ... a drawer.
The final challenge is to make an inner sleeve that makes sure the ground coffee bits are all directed into the drawer. This means that we needed to start off with a long piece of wood that was the correct height we needed and the correct width to be able to accommodate of drawer without binding. To ensure the drawer would fit first of all we cut some scrap wood to make sure we had the proper width. Once we had that we figured out he height we needed to pass over to the top of the drawer and so we cut a big rabbet from the length of wood that would eventually be cut into 3 pieces to surround the drawer. In order to make the angled edge, we decided that a rounded over edge might be best so we opted to use a hand plane to make the angled piece.
Once we had the stock piece of wood to the shape we wanted, we cut three pieces with the two inner sites at 45 degrees so that all sides of the inner liner would come together nicely, which they did, fortunately we needed very little fussing to get all the pieces to fit together for the inside liner, and so went about gluing them onto the outter box.
We needed a tiny drawer pull which we simply turned on our small lathe, then glued it directly to the front of the drawer and when the glue was dry we dry fitted the drawer to the base box, and it all fitted perfectly.
The plans called for one last component before we needed to finish the box and that was to make a 3/4 inch high base that the whole box would sit on. This really helped to keep the grinder steady and gave the entire project a very professional look, and was easy to attach by simply gluing it to the already completed box base.
Finishing was the last element to completing our coffee grinder and we agonized on what to use. We preferred something that was food safe, and needed something that could stand a good deal of wear and tear. We though about a varnishing the box, shellacing it and even just a simple oil. In the end we finally decided to use Osmo because it is 80 percent sunflower oil which makes it food safe, and it dries hard enough to be used on wooden floors so it would certainly stand up to the usage, and lastly the look of the finish is a true satin look that shows off the wood nicely and gives the grinder very pleasing look.
When the finish was dry we attached the cast top to the wooden base and decided to try out the grinder for our owh cup of coffee. We found the grinder worked reasonably well but found the bean grind was quite coarse for our liking making bit of a weaker cup of coffee when used with our Keurig coffee maker. We didn't try it but perhaps this type of grinder might be better suited for brewed coffee maker such as a percolating type coffee maker.
According to sources we checked with, these types of coffee grinders whether they are kits or older antiques, are all more for decorating than for actually grinding beans.
All in all, this was a great little project, we ended up with a nice looking project while getting a chance to use wide variety woodworking skills and tools, even in a project this small. We highly recommend this coffee grinder kit, it is a quality kit and the instructions are easy to follow and accurate if followed, so go ahead and make one of these yourself, they are great gifts and fun to make.
Copyright - Colin Knecht