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Choosing safe wood for small bowls

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Forum topic by ForestGrl posted 06-29-2015 03:32 AM 781 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ForestGrl

445 posts in 548 days


06-29-2015 03:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: selecting wood wood cracks bowl blanks

Looked in the old wood bin today, to see how the 4-year-old stash of cut-up logs looked after all this time. Would like to pull a few pieces out for bowl practice, but I’m not sure how picky I need to be. What little bowl turning I did before was done with green wood. This stuff is dry now, and there are cracks here and there. How “clean” does a blank need to be? Certain things I need to stay away from (other than the pith)? These blanks would be no larger than 8”x8” for starters, more like 6”x6” mostly.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)


13 replies so far

View LeeMills's profile

LeeMills

271 posts in 763 days


#1 posted 06-29-2015 11:14 AM

Are they half logs or blanks that have been flattened? For certain stay away if any show signs of ring/wind shake as they dry. Small cracks can be worked around with care.
It is much easier to work with cracks from the exterior of the log compared to cracks radiating from the pith. If from the exterior they can often just be trimmed away; if from the pith they may run the entire length and you have the chance of it splitting completely into while turning.
8” and even 6” is very deep (check your kitchen cupboard). Most store bought blanks are 2-3” thick which is thick enough for most any bowl except a mixing bowl. A shallow bowl is also much easier to turn compared to a deep bowl (as in a dog dish style).
The cleaner the better and I try to remove any/all cracks prior or during turning. I suggest proceed with care and if there is any question on safety trash it and go on to the next.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1882 posts in 1596 days


#2 posted 06-29-2015 12:21 PM

Are you talking about rough turned bowl blanks or turning squares?

Here are pictures of Poplar blanks prepared shortly after Hurricane Irene back in 2011. First picture taken back in 2012 where cut away end checking and imperfections before turning a bowl. Other photos taken this morning show axe split logs end & side views which have been sitting in my wood shed since processed them.

Only teaching points here is pith removed during splitting, end sealing & minor end checking, some mold growth on one while dirty not a problem. When processing wood for turning leave blanks longer & wider than actually need. Even though these blanks been sitting around for awhile can see potential problems or lack of just by way logs processed.

-- Bill

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Wildwood

1882 posts in 1596 days


#3 posted 06-29-2015 01:42 PM

I know nothing about your part of the country but might check these folks out. You can peruse their web site and see if have any interest. If join they have a mentoring program.

http://www.spswoodturners.org/

-- Bill

View ForestGrl's profile

ForestGrl

445 posts in 548 days


#4 posted 06-29-2015 04:01 PM

Lee, they’re half- or one-third sections of log, like the pictures Bill posted. I won’t try deep bowls for awhile, mxs I stated as max were off. I won’t know ‘til I cut into them, but think most cracks start on the exterior, and there aren’t as many as in Bill’s pics. There was some ring shake in the new maple I got from a tree that fell, carefully cut that away. Thanks!

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

17143 posts in 2567 days


#5 posted 06-29-2015 04:04 PM

What I do if I want to turn a log that is cracked almost all the way through is to spit it open with the ax and see if all of the end cracks go very deep. If not, I cut the ends off the pieces and turn the center part. Sometimes a crack will appear when I get into it. Then I turn the outside to the finished shape, fill the crack with epoxy and sawdust from that log and then return it to clean up the whole surface.
After turning the inside, if there is a crack there, I do the same thing and finish turning the bowl after the epoxy has set up. I have saved many a piece that way.

I have three big ambrosia maple logs that I have just split to do what I said above.

But, if it is a big crack where a good section could exit when you spin it, it goes in the firewood pile.

Good luck. Jamie!!.................Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View ForestGrl's profile

ForestGrl

445 posts in 548 days


#6 posted 06-29-2015 04:10 PM

Bill, those are very similar to what I have, thanks. These are mostly alder, and not quite as much checking. IIRC, some is spalted. Some will go for spindle turning, but want to use most for bowls—4” – 6” diameter, not that deep (mis-stated in original post). Looks like this wood is quite useable, thanks for posting pictures.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

View ForestGrl's profile

ForestGrl

445 posts in 548 days


#7 posted 06-29-2015 04:20 PM



I know nothing about your part of the country but might check these folks out. You can peruse their web site and see if have any interest. If join they have a mentoring program.

http://www.spswoodturners.org/

- Wildwood

Being on an island, with only one bridge, going to the mainland for meetings is sadly expensive (ferry), so I’ll be attending the Olympic chapter, meetings are held in Bremerton, which is about 35-40 minutes driving. Will definitely ask about mentoring program, thanks for mentioning that.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

View ForestGrl's profile

ForestGrl

445 posts in 548 days


#8 posted 06-29-2015 04:24 PM

Thanks, Jim, will keep that technique in mind. Definitely want to avoid anything flying off the lathe. Robo Hippy’s video about “Line of Fire” definitely got my attention. :-0

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1882 posts in 1596 days


#9 posted 06-29-2015 07:41 PM

In a hurry this morning could not find this site but sounds like you have a handle on things.

http://www.woodturner.org/

Was a member of the AAW for several years but never joined a club. Back then nearest one was hour & half each way. Have attended several AAW symposiums but just too expensive for me today. Hit a point of diminishing returns so dropped my membership. Unless things have changed normally don’t have to join the AAW to attend a club meeting or to join a club.

-- Bill

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3124 days


#10 posted 06-29-2015 10:32 PM

Unless things have changed normally don’t have to join the AAW to attend a club meeting or to join a club.

AAW has a number of ‘Star Chapters’ where AAW membership is a requirement to join the local chapter. Personally, I think AAW membership is worth every penny ($55 a year) ... the journal American Woodturner is a first-rate publication, and AAW has taken on a major initiative to improve services to local chapters and the membership (see: https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/aaw.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/ChapterBulletin/2014-09CBChaptersMeeting6142.pdf ).

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View ForestGrl's profile

ForestGrl

445 posts in 548 days


#11 posted 06-29-2015 11:12 PM


Unless things have changed normally don’t have to join the AAW to attend a club meeting or to join a club.

AAW has a number of Star Chapters where AAW membership is a requirement to join the local chapter. Personally, I think AAW membership is worth every penny ($55 a year) ... the journal American Woodturner is a first-rate publication, and AAW has taken on a major initiative to improve services to local chapters and the membership (see: https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/aaw.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/ChapterBulletin/2014-09CBChaptersMeeting6142.pdf ).

- TheDane

Yes, I definitely will join—considering all the help I get just from the forum (let alone the membership perks), it seems only fair. It does come out of my tool fund, though. :-) I tried to renew online Saturday night, but got into some kind of website loop that squelched the attempt. When I get back from my 2-day trip to the hot side of the state, I’ll try again and call them if it still doesn’t work.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3124 days


#12 posted 06-29-2015 11:31 PM

When I get back from my 2-day trip to the hot side of the state, I ll try again and call them if it still doesn’t work.

They are just getting back to Minneapolis from the Pittsburgh symposium.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View ForestGrl's profile

ForestGrl

445 posts in 548 days


#13 posted 06-29-2015 11:41 PM

Thanks


When I get back from my 2-day trip to the hot side of the state, I ll try again and call them if it still doesn t work.

They are just getting back to Minneapolis from the Pittsburgh symposium.

- TheDane

Thanks, it’ll be Thursday before I try again.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

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