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Brand new to wood turning. I have a very dumb question

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Forum topic by Johnson32 posted 02-20-2016 07:15 PM 575 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Johnson32

12 posts in 294 days


02-20-2016 07:15 PM

Just getting into wood turning and looking into all the different kinds of wood used. What do I have to look for when purchasing wood? Where does everybody get their different kinds of wood you are using? What’s are the do’s and dont’s of finding and purchasing your wood you use?


8 replies so far

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TheDane

4997 posts in 3130 days


#1 posted 02-20-2016 07:43 PM

Not a dumb question at all.

When I started turning, I took a class at a local tech school. There I learned some of what you are asking about.

My first practice pieces were glued-up 2×4’s milled into spindle blanks. When I gained some confidence with my tools, I started using hardwoods cut in my local area. In the 5+ years I have been turning, I have only purchased a few blanks and they were on sale/close-out at our local Woodcraft store.’

Check around your area for someone in the urban lumber business. Some tree-cutting services will give you wood from trees they are cutting down or trimming.

If there is a turning club in your area, join up. AAW has chapters all over the country … go to their website ( http://www.woodturner.org/?page=Chapters ) and look for one in your area. They will welcome you as a visitor, and you’ll connect with a bunch of experienced turners who will know exactly where you can get wood at little or no cost.

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

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Johnson32

12 posts in 294 days


#2 posted 02-20-2016 07:49 PM

Great information, thank you. Now what about green/wet wood compared to dried/aged wood? Are you able to just go out to the woods and find the wood you want and use that?

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TheDane

4997 posts in 3130 days


#3 posted 02-20-2016 11:18 PM

Now what about green/wet wood compared to dried/aged wood? Are you able to just go out to the woods and find the wood you want and use that?

Yup … that is what a lot of guys do. Green/wet wood is a lot of fun to turn … cuts real easy … just be advised that it can be quite messy. I had a piece a while back that was cut the day before I turned it … soaked me from head to toe along with the floor ceiling, and everything in the line of fire. But it sure was fun!

When working with green wood, you either need to turn to final thickness right away, or learn how to rough turn and let it dry. There are several ways to dry it … YouTube can be your friend for that.

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

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MrUnix

4244 posts in 1666 days


#4 posted 02-21-2016 02:00 AM

Are you able to just go out to the woods and find the wood you want and use that?

That’s all I use (well, mostly all I use).. and is rather easy as I’m in the middle of a hardwood forest. Get a chainsaw. Even an electric one will do if you don’t plan on working with huge pieces. Here is a batch of oak blanks I cut up last week:

I particularly like the crotch pieces, and will often let a tree stay down for several months to a year (off the ground) to get some spectacular spalted stock. You can also check CL in the free section… lots of people cut down trees and then put out a ‘free wood’ ad so they don’t have to haul it away :) Lots of times, you will see wood piled up on the side of the road from someone who had a tree come down or from clearing a lot. Lots of sources.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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Johnson32

12 posts in 294 days


#5 posted 02-21-2016 02:15 AM

That’s great information. I have access to as much wood as I would ever need. Looks like I’ll be headed to the woods here in the next few days!

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Johnson32

12 posts in 294 days


#6 posted 02-21-2016 03:35 AM

So once you get the rough wood, do you take it to a Sawmill? What’s the best way to get it down to working size?

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TheDane

4997 posts in 3130 days


#7 posted 02-21-2016 02:08 PM

So once you get the rough wood, do you take it to a Sawmill? What s the best way to get it down to working size?

Chainsaw. Build yourself a log processing center … http://mnwoodturners.com/mwa-chapter/blog/project-log-processing-center-lpc-kit-assembly-instructions/ ... our club built about 20 of these a couple of years ago.

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

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MrUnix

4244 posts in 1666 days


#8 posted 02-22-2016 06:52 AM

So once you get the rough wood, do you take it to a Sawmill? What s the best way to get it down to working size?
- Johnson32

You can if you want flat dimensioned lumber – not something you typically shoot for when turning though. How you get it into a shape suitable for turning depends on what you are trying to make. You can just cut largish sized limbs into chunks and make spindles/handles, lidded boxes, cups, and other end-grain hollow forms from those. You can slice off chunks of the trunk and cut them up into bowl blanks. Everything can be done with a chain saw, but if you have a band saw, that can further get them into the desired rough shapes. Lots of videos out there that will give you tons of ideas.

Also, the ‘log processing center’ Gerry points to is a cool contraption… but you don’t have to go that fancy if you don’t want to. You just need something to keep the wood up off the ground and reasonably stable so it doesn’t move around when cutting. The one thing you don’t want to do with a chainsaw is cut into the dirt, as it will dull the chain in a heartbeat. Something as simple as cutting a foot or so off a good sized trunk and then notching a ‘V’ into it will work. Another simple idea is 4 lengths of 4×4, two with notches in them so they will sit over the other two, will provide a platform that can be adjusted to whatever size wood you are cutting. Again, google is your friend.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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