Live Edge Eucalyptus Turning

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Project by scrappy posted 08-28-2009 04:25 AM 1958 views 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a Live Edge Vase I turned from the Eucalyptus I scored last month. It was still VERY wet and was spraying at me as I turned.

3 1/2 tall X 6 1/2 Wide (at the widest). Sanded to 400 grit, saturated with mineral oil and resanded to 400. Finished with 5 coats of Tung Oil/Varnish with 0000 between coats.

I have been very disapointed with my results turning this wood. This is the only piece that has not cracked ALL over. Small checking along bottom on this one. ( think my bottom is thicker than sides ) The other 4 pieces that I have turned have split everywhere. I think it may be a bit warm in the garage ( 112f ) to be turning real wet wood. On my one last night, Got the outside turned as I like it, went to the inside, by the tme I got the inside ruffed out, there was big cracks along the base running up into the sides.

Took a while ( 1 1/2 hours ) for my to get the inside done and with it spinning at about 3000rpm it dried out FAST! By the time I was done it was almost a fireplace piece. Still might end up there. I did take it off the lathe and dried it in the microwave. That seems to have halted the cracking. ( or it was done ) Also soaked in mineral oil helped.

I am going to keep trying once in a while but I might just have to wait until it cools down.

This piece was a lot of fun to turn. First time trying a live edge. It was a little harry at first but the lathe callmed down once the main body got round. Still haveing some troubl doing the inside turnings. Can’t seem to keep a clean cut running. Lots of chattering. Sometimes it just cuts smooth as can be. Others ARRGH!!!

Thanks for looking.

Please leave all coments and sugestions. I NEED to improve so please be truthfull. You aren’t going to hurt my feelings. I apreciate it.

Thanks Again.


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

16 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14172 posts in 3981 days

#1 posted 08-28-2009 04:29 AM

nicey nice nice !

I like this very much and the photos are spot on

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#2 posted 08-28-2009 04:31 AM

Pretty cool

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View LesB's profile


1726 posts in 3442 days

#3 posted 08-28-2009 05:30 AM

You are moving right along with your turnings.
I have had good success on wet wood with Microwave drying. I rough turn the piece and then do a series of microwave heatings in a brown paper bag to cook off the moisture. The paper bag holds in the steam and it works similar to a steam kiln; cooking the moisture from the inside out. The steam in the bag keeps a balance of internal and external moisture. I heat the piece up in the microwave until it feels quite warm to the touch. Close it up in the bag and let it cool. Open the bag to release excess moisture. Then do it again. When I quite getting active steam the piece it is usually dry. On occasion when I see some cracks starting during the process I fill them up with thick superglue. That usually stops the cracks getting worse.
End grain turning can be difficult at times. I still haven’t mastered it. May some can give both of us a clue.

-- Les B, Oregon

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 3682 days

#4 posted 08-28-2009 05:30 AM

you might try the trick my teacher told me. freeze the wood for 24h in the freezer. havn’t tried it myself but I believe him. apparently it burst the cellular structure of the wood so its more flexible.

in order to save space and speed the freezing process, he rough turn it first. he also claims that if you dry the wood in the regular fridge afterwards, it will dry much quicker and without checks (fridge is actually a de-humidifier )

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3340 days

#5 posted 08-28-2009 05:39 AM

man , are you learning quick !

it’s good you like turning ,
the amount of ” scraps ”,
are endless , see garyk .

i figure you must have run out ,
of regular scraps in the shop.
so turning is the new thing ?

very nice , it’s good to learn with you .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Innovator's profile


3584 posts in 3412 days

#6 posted 08-28-2009 05:51 AM

Scrappy it came out fantastic. I love natural edge turnings.

As for the cracking is it happening on the pith? I have not had much luck turning maple with the pith left in.

Keep up the fantastic work.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3674 days

#7 posted 08-28-2009 07:55 AM

Looks good from here scrappy. Too bad its so blazzin’ HOT!! down there:-(( You’re doing good. Hope you get check control soon.

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

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3333 days

#8 posted 08-28-2009 10:54 AM

Real nice Scrappy. Some woods are just more prone to cracking than others. If I am doing a long grain turning in one go, I usually pack it down good in shavings inside a paper bag and give it a few days to dry out slowly. It is also very important to keep the walls and bottom to a consistent thickness. I would also suggest you that if you have to leave the turning while in progress, that you seal it in a plastic bag to prevent differential drying while you are away, even if only for a short time.

In Norway in the old days turners often put freshly turned items into their grain storage. Most of their turnings were face grain. I usually just rough out face grain turnings and again store them for a few weeks in the shavings in paper bags.

If you are relatively new to turning, it looks to me that you are doing really well. Keep up the good work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View blockhead's profile


1475 posts in 3307 days

#9 posted 08-28-2009 01:00 PM

Looks good to me. I really like the live edge. Great job Scrappy!

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View DaddyT's profile


267 posts in 3509 days

#10 posted 08-28-2009 02:45 PM

If your still dissapointed with it I’ll take it !! ;-} I really like this, that is such a beautiful wood

-- Jimi _ Measure twice, cut once.......@#%#$@!!!......measure twice, cut....

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3557 days

#11 posted 08-29-2009 03:22 AM

I like it Scrappy. Now where can I find some of that wood? I like all the ideas here for drying. Haven’t tried them but I will when the time comes.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View shimmy's profile


131 posts in 3485 days

#12 posted 08-29-2009 04:01 AM

That is an awesome piece. As for cracks, they can add more visual interest when filled with various materials. Very nice job on a very unique piece.

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 3429 days

#13 posted 08-29-2009 09:05 AM

Thank You everyone for all the great comments and helpfull hints about drying.

LesB, Have used the microwave for coasters but haven’t tried it on anything this big. Will have to try.

Moshel, Am trying the freezer trick now. (cut 2 pieces from log and are in the freezer now) Wife said OK as long as I wrap in paper to kep loose bark/sawdust out of her freezer. haha Will probably pull and put into fridge tomorrow, try turning on sunday.

Patron, Still have plenty of scraps around. I got some good info on segmented turning so will be useing some for that also. Main thing is turning gives me more ways to express myself. I like the variety of designs as well as the realative quickness of small turnings. (the sanding and finnishing is still the longest part) haha Have not been doing much boxes or inlays lately but I think that might change soon.

Innovator, in the left lower 2 pics, yo can see the cracks. They are starting on the bottom and working there way up. This piece has very minor checking only. The last bowl I was talking about has 2inch long and 1/8 inch gap cracks all the way through the wood.

TopamaxSurvivor, It was only 114 today. Set a new record. Hopefully it will cool down soon. Think this is why my wood is drying SOO fast. also only 20% humidity. That doesn’t help either.

Stefang, Long grain (top to bottom) turning is the only luck I have had for cracks. Everything from green wood that is cross grain has cracked BADLY. Even the stuff I turned to 1/8 thick and soaked in miniral oil right away. I did do the Plastic bag and water for a piece last week. Put it in when went to lunch. Came back and it was fine. Finnished, oiled, let that dry then did Tung oil/Varnish and next day there where large cracks.

Thank you blockhead,DaddyT and cabnetmaster. I am glad you like this.

shimmy. Some cracks are OK for visual interest. What I like the most is when it does NOT crack but does WARP. The edges on this vase are no where near round anymore. It has moved quite a bit and stil only has slight checking. I like it a lot. Am thinking of filling holes in my badly cracked piece with key shaveings. Just got to get ahold of a locksmith here in town. (or resort to the file like the letters in my Angle Dedication Plaque

Thank you all again for all the help and comments. It is nice when we all work together to help each other become better woodworkers. That is what this site is all about.

Thank You


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

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 3682 days

#14 posted 08-29-2009 01:01 PM

let me know how it worked…. keep it in the fridge until it dries after turning.
my teacher dries it completely in the fridge (he has a dedicated fridge in his workshop) and claims he has less that 1 in 100 checks and even this only with pieces that had hairline cracks to begin with. so give this a try as well although it takes longer (I mean dry a piece completely in the fridge before turning it and after freezing it for 24h)

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4245 days

#15 posted 08-29-2009 07:04 PM

Very pretty turning Scrappy, unique design.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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