I have received my 8 inch Federal Vic Firth Peppermill (Mahogany color).
I had it in my Amazon.com shopping cart for almost two years and finally bought it. It is beautiful and nicely finished. Many peppermills do not work well, and my previous one did not -- the grinding size changes as it was being used. Several CHOWHOUND posters have given excellent reviews for the Vic Firth Peppermills (thanks John E, mcf, meadandale and others for their informative posts).
These peppermills also received nice reviews on other sites as well. I can now verify that the Vic Firth “Lock and Grind” mechanism works well. There were some discussions about the proper way to fill the peppermill, so I thought I can illustrate this with a few photos and also talk about its performance results.
In photo 1, the grinding mechanism (male grinder unit/grinder bolt) is shown to pop out due to the spring loaded system.
To load a peppermill (especially new), there are two methods. You can press the grinder unit in (photo 2) while filling the peppermill on its top (photo 3). Alternatively, you can fill the peppermill, close it, and then flip the peppermill upside down. Now, you can push the grinder unit in (photo 2), and then further tighten up the top knob. I find the second method works just as well.
As mentioned, I find the “Lock and Grind” mechanism works as advertised. Here, I set the grinder male unit nearly level with the grinder female unit (photo 4). I then ground for about two minutes, and produced fine and even size pepper (photo 5 and 6). Afterward, the two grinder units remained leveled (photo 7), which means the grinding mechanism was consistent.
I will update this post when I find out additional positive or negative aspects of this peppermill. As it stands now, I recommend this peppermill. It is about $40.