Drying Green Bowl Blanks - Help

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Forum topic by achesnpains posted 05-12-2011 11:49 PM 3545 views 1 time favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 3080 days

05-12-2011 11:49 PM

I’m new to preparing green wood as bowl blanks but am really excited about the possibilities.

A friend of mine just gave me several pieces cut from Ash, Cherry and Wormy Maple. The original pieces were about 22 inches in diameter. I have cut out the pith and cut the logs into the sections I would like to dry.

A couple of questions.

1. These pieces had been down for some time (maybe a month) and had begun to show radial cracking on the ends. Should I cut back the piece as deep as the cracks go or leave the existing cracks, Anchorseal the ends of the pieces and let them dry. Again, I removed about 4” from the middle of the pieces including the pith.

2. Which surfaces should I Anchorseal. When we mill dimensional stock I just seal the ends of the stock before stickering and drying. Should I do the same for these pieces or should I seal multiple surfaces?

Really appreciate any help. There are some beautiful bowls in there somewhere.



6 replies so far

View Barbara Gill's profile

Barbara Gill

153 posts in 2687 days

#1 posted 05-13-2011 01:43 AM

The best way to dry the wood is to rough turn the bowls after removing the pith and the cracked ends. If I am unable to rough turn the wood I put two coats of Anchorseal on all the end grain and one coat on the rest. This will allow a little moisture to escape but not enough to cause cracks unless the wood is allowed to sit around too long.
One of the ways I dry the rough turned bowls is to coat the end grain with Anchorseal and put them into a paper bag for about a year.

-- Barbara

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2985 days

#2 posted 05-17-2011 05:41 PM

I have Anchorsealed the ends of logs that had started cracking and found that as they sat the cracks closed back up as the end wood remoistened. Of course the cracks were still there, but they did not extend deeper into the wood. Barbaras above advice is common and appropriate for what you are doing, the turners I know do the same; there are always exceptions, but you know how that is. The only problem I have encountered with bagging the blanks was some spalted maple that began to mold furiously in just a couple days. I ended up taking them out of the bags, and they surface cracked; but the cracks were shallow, and when I re-turned them the cracks were able to be cut away…success! Good luck with your turnings!

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View achesnpains's profile


2 posts in 3080 days

#3 posted 05-18-2011 05:38 PM

Thanks, folks. Really appreciate your advice.

Lathe is down at the moment so I’m going to do the Anchorseal route for now.

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 3029 days

#4 posted 05-21-2011 05:02 AM

Hi Doug,
I agree with Barbara. I’ve worked with green maple, ash, and cherry and they act differently (Personally, I’ve found Ash to be the most forgiving, Maple kind of in the middle, and cherry to be the most sensitive to splitting out of these). I’ve had the best success by going ahead and cutting out the pith and the cracked ends and rough turning it right afterward – It’s amazing how fast it can change on you, so even if you leave it on the lathe overnight at this point, or set it aside before you rough turn it the next day, you should wrap it tightly in a plastic garbage bag.

I’ve also had a good luck by putting the rough turned blanks into a paper grocery bag to dry (I live in a fairly dry area in texas – I never really needed to do this when I was in the southeast). If I want it to dry even a little slower, I leave a few handfuls of the damp shavings in the bowl as well – jury is out out on whether or not this really helps, but I’ve had good success with it.

I hope you have fun turning the wet wood – it’s really a pleasure to work with vs. Kiln dried materials. Just wear a shirt you are ok sacrificing as it can really splatter you if the moisture content is high enough.


-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View thiswoodshop's profile


141 posts in 2583 days

#5 posted 05-28-2011 07:11 PM

In live in the San Joaquin Valley where the summers goes over a hundred and is suffering with the fact that my wood is cracking, any advice on what to use to ease the drying process, I have some anchor seal but was just wondering if there is something better to use on blanks that i will not be able to turn for a while.

-- Mo... For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind. ~ "Eleanor Everet" -

View cloakie1's profile


204 posts in 2581 days

#6 posted 05-29-2011 08:51 AM

if it was me i think i would get a very liberal coating of seal on the endgrain and then bury it under the house for at least a year…to much heat will open the pores of the timber to quickly….and direct sunlight also does a lot of damage.i reckon it also has a bit to do with tension within the timber as well…specially if the tree has grown in an area of high winds etc…good luck with it

-- just get stuck in and have a go!!!

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