Introduction: Old Table Leg to Pepper Mill

Yet another project made during the coronavirus outbreak. Left with only the tools and materials at my disposal It was time to get creative. A while ago I noticed these old couple of wood pieces lying around a pile of firewood in our driveway. Not sure how they got there but their rustic look made me think I could turn them into something nice. After a while it struck me, the shape of a pepper mill was vivid in the leg. It had reminded me of this old ugly mill I had in my spice cabinet, I put two and two together and got to work.


Drill and drill bits. sizes depend on the mechanical parts.

Dremel with different bits. I also used the Dremel's router attachment to help with some of the holes.

Caliper. useful.

Sanding paper

some wood oil for finish. optional


Check out these lamps I made with the leftovers from the leg:

Step 1: Plan and Extract Your Parts

I started by exploring the grinder, taking it apart and putting it back together several times. I understood the mechanics and the importance of each component. My grinder had to have two parts, one to contain all the parts and pepper, and the other to fit on top as a knob. I then measured the lengths of the pieces I would need, the first part had to be pretty accurate, the second can be as long as you think would look nice and feel comfortable.

After measuring, I extracted two pieces from the leg using a jigsaw. Due to a miscalculation the first part was too long and I had to make it a little smaller. I sanded the stumps down with 40 grit paper on a flat surface.

Step 2: Making the Mill

Making the mill has four steps to it:

1. Find the center (method 1). Using a right angle ruler mark two perpendicular lines from any point of the circle to two other edges, now connect them into a triangle. The third line you drew was a diameter line, repeat the process to find a second (or even better, a third) diameter line. The meeting point of your diameter lines are the center.

2. Drill the smaller hole first. Always start with smaller holes then expand them, the holes will be cleaner, more accurate, and you are less likely to damage your material. I started with a 4 mm hole and made my way up to 14 mm hole all the way through. (It was at this point I realized the piece I cut for the mill was too long and had to shorten it)

3. Expand the hole to the size you need. To fit the bottom part of the mill I expanded the hole to 25 mm, 10 mm deep. I put the whole thing together to make sure it works.

4.Make room for some pepper. Using a my Dremel and a variety of bits I carved and cleared room for the pepper around the core of the mill. I made sure to avoid damaging the precise holes I had just drilled at the ends of the wood.

Step 3: Making the Handle

The handle too has four steps:

1. Find the center (method 2). Measure the diameter of your circle (preferably with a caliper), make a few measurements and average the results, divide the diameter in two to get the radius. Using a compass mark an arc with the same radius from any edge of the circle. repeat the process three more times from different edges to find the center where the arcs meet.

2. Make the small hole. Once again, starter with a 4 mm hole and worked it up to 14. The depth was enough to clear the shaft of the mill.

3. Expand the hole. Yes, again, expand the hole to fit the washer and spring. The depth was determined by the distance between the surface where the mill connects to the knob and the location of the washer when the mechanism was put together.

4. Drill hole for the pin. Use the hole in the shaft to align your hole right. This time I drilled directly with a 8 mm bit (the shaft's diameter) so I would hit the exact center. Put it all together to make sure it works.

Step 4: Finish and Test

Since I decided from the beginning to keep the rustic look of the wood I only applied some linseed oil to the whole thing being extra generous with stumps. It was time to put it all together and put it to the test. Bon appetit

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