CrushGrind Crafts Award

The winner of Crafts Award 2022
"Banksia Seed Pod Mill" by RL Wood Design

This beautiful and unique grinder is made from seed pods collected from Banksia Grandis trees.
It has a 260mm CrushGrind® Shaft mechanism inside.

Rory and Jess share their story:
“We love working with natural materials native to where we live in Perth, Western Australia.
The seed pods we use for these mills are collected from Banksia Grandis trees.
These trees only grow in southern areas of Western Australia.


After discovering these stunning seed pods were functional for woodturning, we had to give it a go.
We decided picking our own would be the best way to get the seed pods we needed
and after some research applied for a license to pick the seed pods.

We obtained a license though the Western Australian department of Biodiversity,
Conservation and Attraction and now pick seeds pods yearly from crown land
forest areas and pay a small royalty for each Banksia Seed Pod we collect.

We took our maiden voyage in 2018 a trip 1.5 hours south of our home in Perth
to start picking just outside a small town of Dwellingup.
After a few trips throughout the first year, we gradually worked out the best
month/s to pick for the structural integrity of the seeds pods to be sufficient to produce a quality mill.
Only 1-2 per 100 are suitable in size and structural integrity to be used in one of our mills.
The pods must be picked in season and then dried to allow the seeds
to leave the pod when the ‘eyes’ open up.

Once we begun turning the seeds pods, we quickly realized we would need to
try a variety of methods to find the best technique to achieve a quality finish on
the outside of the mill. Initial trials uncovered issues with tearing around the eyes
of the seed pods and the lathe tools were prone to catching and causing blowouts.

After some experimenting with soaking the banksias in a hardening
solution and a variety of turning methods, we found the best way
was to keep the seed pods all natural.

By using an extremely sharp skew chisel with lots of very light cuts,
we could get a finish where only minimal sanding was required, and the 'eyes'
remained intact with no tearing.
We fit a clear tube inside the mill to retain the spices and to protect them from
ambient moisture.

What we love most about working with these seed pods is that each one posses
a unique shape and has its own natural rustic charm.
Having the opportunity to share the beauty of these pods with the world through a piece of functional art is
a joy and makes what we do all the more meaningful and fulfilling.”



The winner of Crafts Award 2019
“Wild African gift to Mankind from Mother Nature” by Piet Smith


This beautiful salt/pepper mill is 30cm high with a CrushGrind® Shaft mechanism 260mm inside.
The wood is African Wild Olive – Olea europaea – subspecie Africana.

The story behind the product
"We harvest this African Wild Olive in the North-West Province of South Africa on a Bushveld farm.
The fallen trees burned down some years ago and most of these trees are well over 300 years old.

The temperature in this area is usually about 38 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit!
To find these trees we travel 350 kilometres into the amazing and wild African bush.
We cut wood for about 6 hours and then have enough to keep us for about 3 months.
On our return to my house in Pretoria we cut, sort and stack the wood into more manageable sizes.

We are always on the lookout for unique pieces of wood which is from nature
itself and then clean these pieces up to fit the CrushGrind® mechanism.
We believe this particular piece of wood was hit by lighting or damaged by
animal horn or tusk and then the tree tried to cure itself by growing over the
damaged area."