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From the ranch to the lathe- my mesquite questions

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Forum topic by Mac94 posted 10-21-2016 02:26 PM 709 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mac94

7 posts in 432 days


10-21-2016 02:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mesquite drying lathe turning

I’m realatively new to the world of turning and have no clue what the process is for cutting down a mesquite tree and drying it properly to turn. I have anchor seal is that something I should bring with me to apply right after I cut the tree down or will it be okay for a day or two? if I even need it at all. I’m currently project less and am planning on turning this mesquite as soon as I can. Any advice on drying wood properly would be greatly appreciated


9 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1207 posts in 1570 days


#1 posted 10-21-2016 04:04 PM

Hey Mac, it’s been my experience that a Mesquite tree can be cut, turned and put on a shelf within 3-4 hours with very few if any ill effects. I might get some noticeable warping, especially if I made a matching lid, but other than that, Mesquite is extremely stable.

Mesquite will crack with or without sealing it. After you have turned the outside shape, start hogging out the inside. When the wall thickness gets to about 1/2” thick, if you see cracks, seal them with CA. Apply it from the inside, use accelerator, and continue working the inside. If you happen to see that any cracks are BLACK, toss the wood and get another piece….. Black cracks indicate the wood will separate at any unknown time.

What part of the country are you located? I ask because when ever I get lucky and am able to cut a tree, as soon as it hits the ground, there are already pith cracks appearing. I would appreciate it if you were to take notice of that and let me know if it does the same.

I stopped using anchor seal a year after I got it as it doesn’t really help in Tucson in the summer. I cut a bunch of Cal Pepper burl, sealed it, and in 2 months time, it looked like a colander with all the holes in it. ............ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

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Wildwood

2188 posts in 1974 days


#2 posted 10-21-2016 05:06 PM

I have never turned Mesquite expect because the way it grows might be dealing with some reaction wood. If base of the tree has a bow or bend suspect reaction wood, same for branches & limbs.

Cut away any part of the tree cannot turn but do leave little longer & wider than will need. Pith normally in the center of log if off centered dealing with reaction wood. To leave the pith or not all about width of the log and splitting for me. Most times don’t worry about limbs.

As long as you end seal in one or two days should be okay but if start seeing end checking right away might want to get on it ASAP. Other good end sealers are oil or water base poly & paints, some latex better than others just cannot remember now.

A good free reference:

http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/products/publications/several_pubs.php?grouping_id=100&header_id=p

You want to store your wood off the ground out of the weather away from (direct sunlight, rain, & strong winds). Sheds, basements, garage about the best places to store your turning blanks.

-- Bill

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1578 posts in 2602 days


#3 posted 10-21-2016 05:07 PM

Like Jerry says. I’ve also have never had a problem with Mesquite – wet or dry. Go for it.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

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Mac94

7 posts in 432 days


#4 posted 10-21-2016 07:20 PM



Hey Mac, it s been my experience that a Mesquite tree can be cut, turned and put on a shelf within 3-4 hours with very few if any ill effects. I might get some noticeable warping, especially if I made a matching lid, but other than that, Mesquite is extremely stable.

Mesquite will crack with or without sealing it. After you have turned the outside shape, start hogging out the inside. When the wall thickness gets to about 1/2” thick, if you see cracks, seal them with CA. Apply it from the inside, use accelerator, and continue working the inside. If you happen to see that any cracks are BLACK, toss the wood and get another piece….. Black cracks indicate the wood will separate at any unknown time.

What part of the country are you located? I ask because when ever I get lucky and am able to cut a tree, as soon as it hits the ground, there are already pith cracks appearing. I would appreciate it if you were to take notice of that and let me know if it does the same.

I stopped using anchor seal a year after I got it as it doesn t really help in Tucson in the summer. I cut a bunch of Cal Pepper burl, sealed it, and in 2 months time, it looked like a colander with all the holes in it. ............ Jerry (in Tucson)

- Nubsnstubs

Thanks Jerry I appreciate the advice and it makes me feel better about just throwing a piece of mesquite on the lathe. I live outside of Fort Worth but will be getting my mesquite from the family farm outside of Waco. I’m not sure exactly what the selection will be in terms of size but I know it’s pretty abundant and invasive so I’ll have my pick. How bad is the warping after you’ve turned it? Also I’m pretty green to the issue of pith cracks. I followed the advice of a friend on a piece of elm I turned and avoided the pith all together. Is that something I should try to do when working with mesquite?

View KYSean's profile

KYSean

119 posts in 3436 days


#5 posted 10-21-2016 07:51 PM

Mesquite is very stable. You can turn green to finish with little problems. As with any wood, uniform thickness of walls is best to prevent as much warping as possible.

I have turned literally tons of it over the years when i lived in Arizona and it was was always my favorite because of how stable it was.

-- http://editedwrite.com

View KelleyCrafts's profile

KelleyCrafts

2680 posts in 579 days


#6 posted 10-21-2016 09:19 PM

I enjoy working mesquite as well. One of my favorites due to stability and in AZ it’s almost always free in abundance. Good looking stuff.

-- http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1207 posts in 1570 days


#7 posted 10-21-2016 09:23 PM

Mac, you needn’t worry about following pith on Mesquite. It’s not an issue. The warp I mentioned is not noticeable unless you have a second half to the form in most cases. If you were to turn the form over onto it’s rim after it sat for a month or two, there would probably be less than a 16th” gap from being warped.

I’ve turned some that the end of my tool was dripping like it sprung a leak.

If you think you’re going to get away with turning tool handles from branches with pith in them, think again. Mesquite that small will definitely split at 70% or more of the time.

When you’re on the family farm, have you encountered any flint, of chert? And while scouting for Mesquite, look for old dead stumps. About 30% will have burl in them, and the color is much prettier. I’ve collected some Mesquite that had been dead over 100 years, but most were pulled from the ground in the late 60’s and early 70’s.. Beautiful stuff…..... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

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Nubsnstubs

1207 posts in 1570 days


#8 posted 10-21-2016 09:37 PM

Mac, since you’re new to turning, welcome to Lumber Jocks, and the turners vortex. If you have a club nearby, join it, and seek help. Turning is a deadly disease that can only be cured with time at the machine, plus any money you might have..

What are you going to turn first? If it’s a bowl, how are you going to mount it between centers?

I’m a firm believer in chucks, so contrary to what Brad might say, you need one if you don’t already have it. Ha ha …........ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View Lazyman's profile (online now)

Lazyman

1509 posts in 1227 days


#9 posted 10-21-2016 09:54 PM

About 50 years ago, my grandfather had all of the mesquite on his farm bulldozed into piles. The mesquite was invasive, probably caused by over grazing in the 1930s. When I see the price of mesquite now, it makes me sick to think about the thousands of board feet that they just let rot in his pasture.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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