A piece of nectarine

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Forum topic by NBeener posted 10-06-2010 12:59 AM 2309 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4816 posts in 3196 days

10-06-2010 12:59 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood log milling fresh lumber nectarine

Hi there :-)

While I was doing hard time in Boston, I met a lovely couple who described their property to me.

One thing they mentioned was that they had a beautiful, and very productive, nectarine tree.

I told them that—as a woodworker (they didn’t know that I’m a hack, so … why spoil it, huh ?)—I was interested to see what nectarine wood looked like.

Kind folks that they are, they brought me in a piece:

I was thinking of making them a pen (brother’s a turner, and said he’d help me) or a business card holder.

But … where do I start ? As you can see, the piece is probably straight enough to yield a 1” x 8” blank.

Do I need a bandsaw log jig for this ? Could I … literally … rout a tapered “ditch” into a piece of scrap, and use strapping tape to tape the stick into it, and … then … just slice it the best I can ?

It’s been in my house since mid-July, so … I’m presuming it’s about as “dry” as it’s going to get, but … would I need to do anything to dry it further ? The cut end does not appear badly checked, by the way.

Thanks in advance !

-- -- Neil

6 replies so far

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 3220 days

#1 posted 10-06-2010 02:23 AM

Sorry neil. It will not be dry yet, probably take 3 years for it to dry. But I can help you. You would probably like to have a kiln anyway. Take a broken refridgerator from anyone on craigslist, and punch a whole in the bottom large enough to fit a plug from a clip on lamp. Then drill a couple of exit holes in the top and up through the freezer ( depending on the styl of fridge) Put a clip on lamp in the bottom with a 60 watt lightbulb turn it on and then you have a kiln. Monitor the temp, ideally not higher than 104, you may need to move up to a higher watt bulb ( or lower).
Okay the cutting of the log, I have sliced them on my bandsaw freehand, usually works okay, but if it tips a lille, then the blade violently yanks everything down which is scary and fortunately only bruised my thumb….
But I have not let that deter me from my dangerous ways, but the $30 blade got kinked up and now sounds like a freight train when I use it in the band saw, sadly this has detered me from my dangerous ways. A simple V groove should keep it stable enough.

Okay now that you have cut it down to rough size, coat the ends with wood sealer, some people use poly, some shellac, and some a little woodglue thinned with a little water I think 3- 1. Now let that dry before putting in your fridge ( kiln), especially if you use poly or shellac. Okay now weigh the peices, 1 will do, if they are similar sizes. Put them in the kiln, and every couple days to a week, weigh it again, if it stopps losing weight it is dry.
Saddly fruit woods, really warp, crack and twist. dont let this deter you, they are beautibul, but a project that can move with the humidity would be a good choice. card holder and pen sound good, cutting board would be horrendous, and a bookcase a waste. simple stool probably okay, but a maloof inspired rocker not so much.
You get the idea.
Good Luck

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 3220 days

#2 posted 10-06-2010 02:24 AM

Sorry after all that, I forgot make sure to remove the very middle of the wood, this will ease the tension and eliminate some (potential ) cracking.

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3130 days

#3 posted 10-06-2010 02:27 PM

Neil, I am not the most experienced turner but I have learned a few things. I also had a bit of experience making some wood boards from the log.

Judging by your piece, I would not even mess with attempting a flat wood project. By the time you slice and dice, you would be lucky if you ended up with a usable piece that is less than an 1/8th inch thick at about the same width. You would end up with sticks at best :)

Most turners that I run into will split the log and cut blanks from the halves. There are some (jockmike2 for instance) who make their turnings with the heartwood intact. I have made a chalice and a ring box out of logs that were about 3-4 inches in diameter. You have the right idea in thinking small, but I would skip out on the pen idea. Pieces that are completely hollow would probably not fare well when you are completely holllowing out the heartwood.

If it were me, I would probably cut the piece off where it curves, mount it directly on the lathe and turn it into a ring holder, a small box, or a candlestick. Maybe a small thin vase. It would have to be done in one day if you are turning it from green stock and it would need to be stained and sealed asap. Once the bark is stripped, the wood will de-stress. If it is sealed, you should see little cracking. If you turn it and leave it, cracks will start to form.

My two cents.

Good luck with the project,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3750 days

#4 posted 10-06-2010 03:05 PM

I don’t really know anything about this, but I think if you were to go back and look at some of gary fixler’s older blogs, you might find some really helpful info. He blogged a lot about making small turning s from found green wood. You can see some of his successes and even a few catastrophic failures. The best part is, I seem to remember him being able to ID the problem each time and adjust for future projects. Maybe this could help you pull off your project in one try.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3196 days

#5 posted 10-06-2010 04:19 PM

Andrew: PERFECT explanation, and … thank you for pointing out what I SHOULD have known: that wishing it were dry didn’t actually make it so. I’ll probably stick my moisture meter into it, today, just to verify how right you were !

All of that sounds like a “next phase of woodworking” step for me. Meanwhile, I’ve bought some boards from a local woodworker, in the past, who already has a solar kiln. In fact, if memory serves, he was drying some Elm and Maple that I wanted to evaluate for a workbench top.

I’ll give him a shout and ask if he can help me out on this one.

David and HokieMojo: thanks for the lead. I’ll check into Gary’s stuff.

I can also call my brother—who likes to turn—and see. Maybe he’s done the green wood, all at once, thing before and will simply tell me to bring it on down and we’ll deal with it.

He’s turned candlesticks, lamp bases, and … who knows what else, too, so … I think he’ll be able to read the wood exactly the way you described: what’s it good for, and what’s it NOT good for.

A ring holder is a very cool idea. I’ll check on LJ, and Google, to see how that works out, but … I imagine that even a simple tapered “tower,” set on a flat and decorative base (of another exotic wood) would do the job.

It was free. It’s a sentimental thing. If it doesn’t work out, then it was a learning experience.

Thanks much!

-- -- Neil

View Eli's profile


141 posts in 3028 days

#6 posted 10-06-2010 04:58 PM

Hey, Neil!

You can also use a plywood box with heat lamps in it for a kiln.


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