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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm still searching for wood for my big peppermill project. I'm having very little luck finding a piece of 5" x 5" X 7" blank of maple, osage orange or yellow heart. I want the peppermill to be yellow, so I'll either use yellow wood, or dye the maple. Since osage orange doesn't stay orange, dyeing maple may be my best option. As I was driving to work yesterday, I noticed that a neighbor is having a maple tree heavily pruned. If I got a branch, let's say 8" in diameter and 9" long and cut it into a square blank say 6" square, how long would it take to dry it? A better way to put it would be how quickly can I dry it without checking?
The tree is alive, so let's assume the wood is plenty wet. Any thoughts?
 

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Well....by air drying a long time. If I recall the rule of thumb is 1 inch per year. If you've got nothing invested....I might try drying in the oven for 8 hours at 200 and see what happens....I do have to admit I've never tried this....but in my head it seems like it could work.
 

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I would leave it as big as I could, that way if it checks while drying, you would still be big enough to get a usuable piece out of it. You could paint the ends with paint or store bought stuff made for this, (cannot think of the names right now). Usually a ruff shaped bowl on the lalthe, is put in to a paper bag of wood chips for about 6 months for slow drying. Is it correct to say for a log drying, is it one inch per year?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't know the answer to your question -- but have you considered gluing-up regular dimensional lumber to reach the size you're looking for?

I guess I'd say maybe.

The look I'm going for is to have it look like a beehive. I've attached a picture that sort of shows the look I'm going for. I thought about stacking dimensional lumber, but then it occurred to be that it would end up being alternating face grain and end grain. As a turning noob, I'm afraid of end grain. Then I thought I could piece together four mitered pieces for each layer to minimize end grain. Then it started to sound like too much work for what amounts to a novelty. I suppose I could glue up four 3" X 3" squares, but I'd really like to avoid the joints if I can...... and make my life easier.

If I can throw a blank in the microwave for 30 seconds every night for a month and end up with a dry piece with no checks, I'd be thrilled.
 

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I suppose I could glue up four 3" X 3" squares, but I'd really like to avoid the joints if I can...... and make my life easier.
Face grain joints are your friend. I do not see how trying to avoid face grain joints makes your life easier.

You can have the same grain orientation as a single piece, but with a lot less hassle.

Go out and purchase a board of yellow heart, rip it into 6in width and then glue how every many lengths you need to get 6in depth. Very easy. The board should be fairly dry and not expected to check.

The vase in this thread was an assembly of 5 layers. It was not difficult to assemble nor difficult to turn. Drilling my hole on the other hand was not so easy, but this is independent of the wood.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f6/making-flower-vase-52041/
 

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I guess I'd say maybe.

The look I'm going for is to have it look like a beehive. I've attached a picture that sort of shows the look I'm going for. I thought about stacking dimensional lumber, but then it occurred to be that it would end up being alternating face grain and end grain. As a turning noob, I'm afraid of end grain. Then I thought I could piece together four mitered pieces for each layer to minimize end grain. Then it started to sound like too much work for what amounts to a novelty. I suppose I could glue up four 3" X 3" squares, but I'd really like to avoid the joints if I can...... and make my life easier.

If I can throw a blank in the microwave for 30 seconds every night for a month and end up with a dry piece with no checks, I'd be thrilled.
I would nuke it 2 X a day 45 sec at 1/2 power level 5 (morning and evening). Seal both ends and any exposed wood. I have some Birdseye maple that I did that way which is 3" X "3 X 11". I have not used it because of other projects. I will make mills this fall. I have about 8 pieces.
 

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don't know if your interested in purchasing a blank, but this guy usually has figured maple and figured big leaf maple blanks around that size. Interestingly enough, he doesn't have any listed, but if you contact him, he might have some available. His are mostly wet, but I go ahead and turn them ... only one has warped to the point that it's out of round.

http://www.ebay.com/usr/woodbay

Wes
 

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Finding a dry 5 X 5 X 7 blank of maple should be a fairly simple task if you look in gthe right place. Id start here.... http://woodbarter.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Face grain joints are your friend. I do not see how trying to avoid face grain joints makes your life easier.

You can have the same grain orientation as a single piece, but with a lot less hassle.

Go out and purchase a board of yellow heart, rip it into 6in width and then glue how every many lengths you need to get 6in depth. Very easy. The board should be fairly dry and not expected to check.

The vase in this thread was an assembly of 5 layers. It was not difficult to assemble nor difficult to turn. Drilling my hole on the other hand was not so easy, but this is independent of the wood.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f6/making-flower-vase-52041/

I meant avoid the joints for aesthetic reasons AND make my life easier by not having to join the pieces.
 

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I've dried a couple of blanks that size for travel mug inserts. I roughed them out just like a bowl, leaving the walls 3/4" thick then dried in the microwave in an afternoon. It prohibits the use of a drill bit to get your final hole size but its a doable hollowing job if you have a hollowing tool or carbide scraper. I guess it could be done for a pepper mill although I've never made one. I've got a big OO tree that just fell on my place and I'll be cutting into it in a few weeks. If you can wait that long I'll be happy to send you some.
 
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