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Posted on How to Dry Green Turning

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930 posts in 3517 days

#1 posted 01-05-2010 12:48 AM

Yes Chris, I have tired 3, 4 and 5.

My favorite and the one that works the best, for me, is the alcohol soaking. I use pure denatured alcohol, no additives. I soaked an average bowl overnight, about 8 hours. I use a 5 gallon plastic bucket, fill it with about 3.5 gallons of denatured alcohol and put up to 3 bowls in at a time. Totally submerged it. The alcohol displaces the water in the wood. After soaking, let the wood drip dry for a little while, then put it in the paper bag. It will be ready in about 2-3 weeks, instead of 4-6 months. The alcohol will wear out. It will discolor and smell after a while too. That’s when you should change it, because that means that it is more water now than alcohol. What is really neat, is when you have a fresh batch of alcohol and you put a bowl in, you can actually SEE the transference of water/alcohol in the bucket. It’s kinda’ cool. Well, at least is is to me. :)

I have also used the dish detergent soaking method, and the results are the same as with the alcohol, but the bowls come out feeling rather slippery/slimy. The surfactants in the detergent supposedly displace the natural water in the green wood.

The other way to dry green turned wood is to use Anchorseal or another wax based product. Turn the wood, put a light coat of anchorseal on it and put it in a rubbermaid tote. This will take a lot longer than any of the choices you have mentioned, but it is much safer as far as checking/cracking goes.

Whichever way you go, know that you cannot eliminate the natural shaping of the wood. It will still oval, elongate, etc., no matter which way you go. That is, as long as you are using green wood! :)

The microwave is the fastest by far, but also the smelliest and most dangerous. You should get a used microwave off of Craigslist or something and use it in your shop, and it should be well ventilated. But beware: if there is any residual metal in the wood, it will burn. If you don’t keep an eye on it, it will burn. Even if you keep an eye on it, SOMETIMES it will burn. And it stinks. Some folks keep a cup of water in the microwave with the wood to kind of even things out, but I’ve not tried that trick. I also found there is a lot more checking/cracking with the microwave method. Plus, to do BIG pieces, you will need a massive microwave! :)

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

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