Cottage Mill® Troubleshooting

Your Cottage Mills® from Cam Lavers Designs have the best ceramic mechanisms available. Sometimes a part may need to be replaced, but most issues can be resolved without shipping it for repair.

Is the mechanism gummed up?

Red peppercorns, and sometimes green, white or black can be more oily than normal, and can gum up the teeth of the ceramic grinding parts. Salt can do the same by absorbing moisture. Follow these steps to see if this is an issue.

If your Cottage Mill® has the newer CrushGrind® (no knob at the top) mechanism:

  1. Pull the top off the mill, and empty the contents into a container.
  2. Turn the coarse/fine grind gray adjustment knob at the base counterclockwise until the dial comes off.
  3. Pull out one of the 2 ceramic parts, and then the spring (pay attention to not lose it and check to see if the spring is still inside) and take a look at the 2 ceramic parts and see if the ceramic teeth need cleaning.
  4. Clean with a small brush or something similar to clear out any salt or pepper that has filled in the teeth. Using something sharp helps if it's hardened in the teeth.
  5. Replace the parts, set the desired grind, refill the mill, replace the top, and test to see if it's back to normal.

If your Cottage Mill® has an older stainless steel (knob at the top) mechanism:

  1. Remove the top part of the mill.
  2. Empty the pepper from the mill.
  3. Unscrew the two small screws at the base that holds the retainer bar in place, and set aside in a container so they won't get lost.
  4. Pull one of the 2 stainless steel grinding parts, spring, and the shaft out of the mill.
  5. Pull the round stainless steel grinding part out.
  6. Inspect the teeth of the 2 grinding parts to see if oily pepper has gummed up the teeth.
  7. If so, with a sharp utensil, clear out the teeth.
  8. Replace all the parts, fill the mill with peppercorns, and test the mill.
  9. Remember to not tighten the adjustment knob at the top too tight. That will restrict the ground pepper from coming out.

Is the white top fixture in the base of the top slipping?

Sometimes the white top fixture in the base of the top slips and needs replacement. This is usually caused by adjusting the coarse/fine grind too tight, causing too much resistance when grinding. Follow these steps to see if this is an issue:

  1. Make sure there's something in the mill to grind.
  2. Make sure the grey adjustment dial at the base is not fully tightened by turning it counter clockwise to a more coarse grind.
  3. Turn the top clockwise to test the mill.
  4. Look at the bottom to make sure the mechanism is turning as you turn the top.
  5. If it's not, contact me and we'll look into this further.

Does the bottom slide off the top when you pick it up by the top?

There's a tension ring inside the top of the base that is supposed to have enough pressure on the shaft to grab it so you can pick up the mill by the top. In older mechanisms, very rarely the ring loosens a tiny bit, and doesn't hold anymore.

I can send a replacement top fixture with instructions on how to replace it, or you can ship the mill and I can replace it for you.

Contact me and let me know which solution you would like.

Is there a crack in your Cottage Mill®?

No need to worry about that whatsoever.

Live trees are about 60% water. I dry the branches out to furniture grade moisture content, which is about 8% moisture content before I start working with the wood.

When the wood dries, it tries to shrink, and the pressure built up is released that way.

It will not change from this point on, and will not effect the quality or performance of the mill, guaranteed.

I have some repeat customers who only buy mills with cracks. They love the character it adds to the piece.

All of this is mentioned on the back of the tag, and I even use marketing pictures showing cracks to let people know this is normal and part of the character of naturally fallen tree branches.

I hope this addresses any concerns.

Is an issue not listed here?

Contact me and we can figure out how to get your mill back to normal.