"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Refurbishing an ugly duckling into a swan

I have been looking for a coffee grinder to use as a herb grinder - for ages.

A couple of weeks ago I saw this:
I wasn't particularly impressed, because it didn't look in such great condition, but, beggars can't be choosers :-)  It had this weird pattern on it...
And it looked pretty rusty...
But the grinding receptacle / drawer looked OK...
... and my on-line bid won it on the auction...

So, when it arrived I set to work - well, with the help of RMan.

The painted pattern came off quite easily, but they had put a chalky white layer below the pattern - that took forever to remove (and that's where RMan's help came in.)  60 grit sandpaper - and it still took about an hour to clean off. RMan said it was a bit of a grind... LOL

The grinding mechanism was stripped out and wire brushed - there was even old dried ground coffee in the grinding cogs.

Then we sanded with a finer sandpaper, and gave it a coat of food-friendly wood preservative.

What am I left with...

... an absolute beauty :-)
The collection bowl is polished bright and sparkling on the outside - I didn't want to contaminate the inside of the bowl with wood ash, so I gave that a good wipe and just a whisper of olive oil...
... the grinder works perfectly, thanks to a grinding adjuster (it's visible on the first photo - it's the nifty little lever thingy below the grinding handle which slots into a tooth on the tensioner according to how fine / coarse you want to grind things ...
Here is a view of how finely it ground coriander seeds...
Don't you just love it :-)

The ugly duckling became a swan - and all it took was about 2 hours of TLC.  It just shows you - if one can see the potential in an ugly duckling, then the results are limitless...

One for coffee and one for herbs - now I'm all set!

And best of all it's re-using something which is in perfect working order.  In place of buying the latest electrical appliance which will needlessly drain our (currently) limited power I have something which will allow me hours and hours of quiet contemplation whilst I work...

I can't wait to try it on my dried home grown herbs.


  1. I love it! It came out so nice.

  2. Jane - LOL - thanks - I think so too :-)

  3. African Bliss - Thanks :-)

  4. It is beautiful, what a transformation....good job.:)

  5. Mr H - Thanks - I am totally happy with it :-)

  6. Nice job!! That looks very much like a Zassenhaus. The only thing that would harm the burrs is a small stone. I carry one of these grinders when I travel so that I can make perfect coffee.

  7. Fallerya - Welcome :-)

    Ah now, a Zassenhaus is the creme de la creme of grinders - maybe I'll own one in my next life... LOL

    I will always check the spices for small stones - thanks for the tip.

  8. Wow- That looks great!! I have an old second hand cabinet in my bathroom that needs some love- you have reminded me and provided me with some much needed motivation!!

  9. That's lovely. I bought a plastic one from the op-shop that works but would love one like that. Not sure I would have seen the potential though...


  10. The transformation is amazing! I would never have thought it was the same grinder. Good Job!

  11. Gillie - Thanks - and very glad to have been of inspiration LOL

    Barb - Keep you eye out on the site I gave you - you may find another one on offer...

    Tami - Thanks - promise you, it is :-)

  12. effing stunning You should send pic to seller!!! hahahahaha

  13. wickets - LOL reckon you should be called wicked.

  14. Lovely! That is a great transformation. Job well done! Emily

  15. You and Rman did a brilliant job on 'restoring' this! Wishing you many hours of contemplative grinding as a reward for your labours :).

  16. Emilysincerely - Thanks and thanks LOL

    Stitchin' Time - Welcome. You're right - RMan was a g-r-e-a-t help! :-)


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