mesquite turning

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Forum topic by ChadRat6458 posted 08-11-2015 04:52 PM 617 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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77 posts in 778 days

08-11-2015 04:52 PM

I got a mesquite log. I cut it up. It seems a little wet. I would like to make some live edge bowls. If I rough turn it then how long should I let it dry before I finish it. Should I put something on it after the rough turning? Thanks.

7 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


3465 posts in 1191 days

#1 posted 08-11-2015 06:02 PM

Some folks turn them wet and then put them in a bin or paperbag with wet sawdust in it so it would dry slow. You can youtube wet turning. Others put them in a sub zero freezer and freeze dry them. I am sure you can find information on that as well. Main thing is retarding the drying period so the piece does not crack to bad.


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3465 posts in 1191 days

#2 posted 08-11-2015 06:05 PM

Another thing to consider is that if you only rough turning it, it may dry in a way that will wobble on the lath and difficult to correct. You maybe better off finishing it (without the finish) and then hand sanding it once it dries.


View AZWoody's profile


680 posts in 648 days

#3 posted 08-11-2015 06:08 PM

Another thing with mesquite that I’ve found is that every piece I’ve milled has boring beetles in it.

You’ll have to find one way to kill them. I’ve tried TimBor but not had any good success. Only thing I know if is a kiln.

View Nubsnstubs's profile


813 posts in 1154 days

#4 posted 08-12-2015 03:14 PM

Start to finish in one day, if you turn it thin enough. Mesquite is pretty stable, ranks in the top 3 as the most stable woods from I’ve always heard and read.
I used to turn them 1” thick, soak them in denatured alcohol, put in a bag, wait awhile, and then find that they were cracked. Did an experiment on 6 bowls. I turned all to 3/8” thickness. Three were soaked in DNA, put in a bag. Three were not soaked, un-bagged and put next to the bagged bowls. The soaked bowls were cracked, and the un-soaked and un-bagged bowls were fine.
From then on, I turn all Mesquite forms to final thickness and have about 90% success unless I missed a crack that was already there.
Since 95% of the Mesquite I have already has cracks and bug holes already in it, I just fill the cracks with resins, or CA. As far as the bug tracks, some add character, and others need filling.

In the mid ‘80’s, I built a mesquite dining table for a customer. After 3 years he told me bugs were starting to go in and out of the table. Since I live in Mesquite country, I don’t think you can control the bugs that bore into Mesquite unless you use pesticides in and around your home. .......... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View ChadRat6458's profile


77 posts in 778 days

#5 posted 08-12-2015 03:30 PM

I checked all the holes. I got some bugs out with a pick. Should I quarantine this wood?

View Underdog's profile


879 posts in 1459 days

#6 posted 08-12-2015 03:40 PM

If you can put it in the freezer, that might do the trick to kill the bugs. You could spray with a solution of boric acid. Seems like I saw a formula that would do the little buggers in.

I love turning Mesquite though. It’s a great wood.

I usually turn everything rough when it’s green, and re-turn (about 6-12 months later) when it’s dry. (Hint: Leave the center marks on the tenon, so you can find “center” again to true it up.) I turn the thickness down to 10% of the diameter. So for example a 10” bowl would be about 1” thick once rough turned. I fudge a bit when they are bigger or smaller, but in general you can expect wood to air dry about 1” in thickness per year. I try not to leave any sharp edges anywhere on the form – they tend to dry really quickly and develop cracks. I wrap the things in newspaper to slow the drying down, and come back to them in a year. (Really though, some of those things have been sitting on my shelf for almost 10 years… man I need to finish turning a lot of bowls…)

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View mahdee's profile


3465 posts in 1191 days

#7 posted 08-12-2015 03:43 PM

If it is small enough, put it in a freezer for a few day.


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