With three tools and a microwave I made a peppermill from some walnut firewood I picked up off the side of the road.
Peppermill Mechanism (affiliate link): http://amzn.to/2hqZIUT
A friend of mine told me about a good sized walnut tree that had been cut down in town and was just on the side of the road a few weeks ago. So of course the next day I went out and picked it up, just in time! A tree service was actually already there starting to pick it up when I arrived but were happy to let me take some pieces.
A fun and easy project to make from small logs are pepper mills. You really want to start with about a 3″ x 3″ blank, and those can be pricey, so this is a great project for found lumber. First, I bucked the log short lengths with my chain saw, and then ripped that down with my bandsaw to make appropriate sized blanks.
These mechanisms require a 1″ hole so I mark the center on the blank and drill a hole all the way through it. With the hole in it I can mount it in my pin jaws on my lathe and rough turn it to a circle. Then to the microwave to dry. It’s better to rough turn the blank first so that all of the wood has an even thickness. That helps it dry with less risk of cracking or severe warping. It’s also important to let the wood cool off inside the microwave before you remove it.
After several iterations of drying, the wood was not losing any more weight so I knew it was reasonably dry. I took it back to the lathe and turned it to the final shape, sanded, and finished using Mylands Friction Polish.
All that is left then is to drill holes for the mechanism. I like to hold the grinder up to the blank and use my icepick to mark holes. Then drill at a slight angle and tap the holes using the screws provided and some wax. Then remove the screws and screw on the grinder. Next is just to use it to put some fresh pepper on a tasty meal!
Band Saw: http://amzn.to/2spJCjf