I have been harvesting wood to turn since started turning. Over the years taught myself what works for me. Simply air dry the wood used for turning over so-called more expedient method found at woodturning online:
Other than microwave have not tried any of those methods described in articles at woodturning online. Have thought about building light bulb/fan kiln but never got around to it.
Took a lot of technical reading before understood enough to put a plan together for myself. My plan includes finding, processing, storing, turning, all based upon where I live and relative humidity. My plan does change depending on quantity and size of wood collected.
There is a lot of but not exact science to drying wood and if keep it simple not much to it! Reference material, weather patterns where you live, where wood comes from on a tree all affect results. One reference recommend highly is the “Wood Handbook, available on line free.
While the Wood Handbook does not really deal with woodturning, should provide enought detail information for you to come up with your own plan for dealing with wood whether buy or harvest your wood for turning.
Once you understand wood must reach plus or minus 1 or 2 percent equalibirum moisture content (EMC) for indoor or out door will make turning wood lot easier.
Frist general rule-of-thumb learned to forget and hope you to do the same is, “it takes about one year per inch thickness to air dry wet wood.” While that rule of thumb may apply to some softwoods (conifers), but not all doesn’t mean much to a wood turner. You will often see this myth posted on woodworking message boards and articles online.
Just like in the lumber industry sawing boards speeds up the drying process so does breaking down logs into turning blanks and rough turning for wood turners. Goal there is make your blanks longer and wider than will need for finished items.
Question most ask by novice and experience turners alike is how long does it take wood to dry or reach EMC? There is no easy answers to the question! Because need to ask many question before can even attempt a SWAQ (scientific wild ass guess)?
Here are some important information need to know before can even try to answer that question.
Where did you get the wood and what is the moisture content of the wood now? Simply need to know where you are at in order to get where you are going. Wood Handbook talks about oven method to determine MC but a simple moisture meter or scales to weigh your wood just as easy.
Except for freshly cut down tree simple moisture meter will provide a ballpark moisture content. You need expensive meters to measure MC of freshly fallen trees. Scale can range anywhere from bathroom or larger or smaller, kitchen, and postal scale. Scales work great for folk that buy their blanks, when blank weight stays the same for a week or two your at EMC. If blanks completely sealed in paraffin make sure scrap wax from sides leaving blanks end sealed.
Wood species, if don’t know what are some characteristics of the wood helps. Pictures often help ID wood species. Also size of the turning blank or log. Open grain wood dry faster than closed grain and dense woods.