Hollow Form Microwave Fun

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Berg posted 02-04-2010 07:37 PM 1935 reads 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I turned a hollow form from green Ficus, 6”dia x 9” h more or less. If you are not familiar with Ficus, it’s a very light, almost white wood, and holds a lot of water. Turning it is fun because it’s all chips and curls. No dust. When done the finish turned piece is surprisingly heavy. Dried, however, its like balsa. Light as ever. Being the impatient type and always looking to try new things, I decided to try the microwave technique to dry the piece. As I remember, 15 minutes on high, let it cool to room temp, microwave on high for another 15 minutes, let it cool, repeat until “done”. So Berg puts the piece in for 15 on high. Takes it out with steam pouring out the 1 5/8” opening. Cool! Hot! actually. A few hours later it is at room temp and quite a bit lighter. Ficus Hollow Form Guess I’ll put it in for another 15. Now the important thing to remember is NEVER leave ANYTHING in a microwave oven for 15 minutes on high and walk away. “Why” you might ask….
The “stains” you see are burn marks and burned sap leaching through. Notice the lip is a nice caramel color. The whole inside is a nice charcoal color.
Ficus after #1
Here is the base. That’s burned Ficus right there. My DW came into the kitchen.. where was I?.. and discovered the microwave smoking like a Southern BBQ. Great if it’s a southern BBQ. Not so great when it’s your hollow form in the family microwave. ;)
Focus after #2

That’s all. Well, no. I’ll add to this if I figure out some way to save the day. What would Trifern do?

Respectfully submitted for your entertainment.

I should retitle this “Fun With Microwaves and Torches”.
I sat on this for a while thinking I might find a use for it even if it was as a what-not-to-do-show-and-tell piece. Then it occurred to me that if it’s a little burned I might as well burn it “good”. I took a propane torch and charred the whole thing, rubbed it down, sealed it with lacquer, lightly sanded and put several more coats of lacquer and this is what I ended up with. In good light you can see some very subtle browns coming through the charcoal black. Everyone who sees it loves it. What’s that saying about lemons? :)
The End. Photobucket

-- Pete - "To every thing there is a season Turn! Turn! turn!" [Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger]

19 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#1 posted 02-04-2010 07:39 PM

Very cool

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4185 days

#2 posted 02-04-2010 07:53 PM

a1 – that would be “hot”.

glad to hear that the only thing you lost during this lesson was the beautiful hollow form

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Gary's profile


9333 posts in 3457 days

#3 posted 02-04-2010 08:03 PM

I agree with MsDebbie….plus a little pride

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3737 days

#4 posted 02-04-2010 08:35 PM

hey berg, i have used this method with success, but i think your time is a little off, i was told to do it for 15 seconds then let cool and repeat. it has worked so far.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3811 days

#5 posted 02-04-2010 08:47 PM

I can tell you this…you will never be asked to make the popcorn again. Did it smell?

View Berg's profile


116 posts in 3214 days

#6 posted 02-04-2010 09:07 PM

15 SECONDS?!! The ole memory isn’t what it used to be. No, truthfully it is as bad as ever.
It did smell. It does smell. I suspect it will continue to smell for a while. Oh well. Our turning club has it’s monthly meeting tonight. This will be good show-and-tell. I may be in the running for Dufus of the Month (we don’t actually have that yet ).

-- Pete - "To every thing there is a season Turn! Turn! turn!" [Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger]

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3358 days

#7 posted 02-04-2010 10:39 PM

Anyway it was a very nicely done turning and the whiteness of it (where it wasn’t burned) looked great. Be joyful, you are gaining knowledge and that doesn’t come easy or free, just ask me!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Kieth's profile


39 posts in 3160 days

#8 posted 02-04-2010 11:09 PM

If I may, I heard it was 15 minutes on the defrost feature, definitely not high!

In any case, nice job on the turning, it has plenty of character now…

View Enthalpy's profile


44 posts in 3066 days

#9 posted 02-04-2010 11:29 PM

I like it… adds character,,,,

You’re never lost if you don’t care where you are

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 3455 days

#10 posted 02-05-2010 07:31 AM

Great turning. Sometimes patience is a virtue. haha

What woould Trifern do? Break out the dyes and cover up that burn? Turn it into a highlight area? Not sure what he would do, but can just imagine.haha

Looking forward to seeing how you salvage this.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 3592 days

#11 posted 02-05-2010 09:27 AM

My buddy tried that method… He now has a dedicated shop microwave and his wife has a spiffy new microwave! :)

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18286 posts in 3700 days

#12 posted 02-05-2010 09:58 AM

What an adventure!! :-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Berg's profile


116 posts in 3214 days

#13 posted 02-05-2010 12:41 PM

Norv, Are you referring to the hf or me?
Stay tuned Scrappy.
Topamax, You know it. All you guys and gals post these beautifully executed projects. How boring! ;)

Did I mention I was using a skew to form the outside? It started out about 3” taller and an inch wider.

-- Pete - "To every thing there is a season Turn! Turn! turn!" [Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger]

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4185 days

#14 posted 02-05-2010 01:33 PM

Here’s a suggestion:

Engrave on it, “Dufus of the Month” .. award yourself at your meeting and then the next “dufus” story that is told you get to pass it on to a fellow club member :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Berg's profile


116 posts in 3214 days

#15 posted 02-05-2010 05:09 PM

Debbie, are you calling me a Dufus?! ;)

[Good idea. That may be the answer]

-- Pete - "To every thing there is a season Turn! Turn! turn!" [Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger]

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics