Making Turning Blanks

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Forum topic by Dallas posted 07-21-2012 11:09 PM 3751 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2482 days

07-21-2012 11:09 PM

On my thread for a lost tree Thread , Arlin suggested I offer turning blocks and blanks.

I don’t know how to make them since I don’t do any turning and don’t own a lathe.

Can I get some information from the great wealth of wood turners here?

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

9 replies so far

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2799 days

#1 posted 07-22-2012 01:25 AM

I am not a master turner by all means, but, 1st, If you cut the logs like you would for splitting for firewood, then, cut the pith, yes, cut the pith (center of the log, fer those unaware), outta it. Then, you have 2 blanks. You could get fancy and round off the corners if you have a band saw, but, not really necessary. If you did have a band saw, you could also cut those halves into half, and you’d have 4 bowl blanks. You could leave the logs longer, and make you some lumber yourself also. Many options. Good luck with it all.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2259 days

#2 posted 07-22-2012 08:35 PM

Further clarifying for Roger, pith is the center of the center (inside the heartwood) of the log.

Roger, do you you have some ideas on typical sizes of blanks for bowls and pens and whatever else?

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View hhhopks's profile


651 posts in 2372 days

#3 posted 07-22-2012 09:44 PM

Turning Blanks?

By no means, I am a master turner.
The question is what what kind of blanks?

Bowls are very different from pens, handles, salt/pepper shaker…..etc.

If you are doing rectangular block type of turning blanks (pens, handles, salt/pepper shaker…..etc), I would think all you need is a band saw and table saw. I am assuming the rough planks are already done.

To me the bowls are very interesting, these turners use saws and axes to chop their blanks out of green wood. Firewood verses valuable lumber? It is up to the wood turner to decide. I need to try this sometime.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2482 days

#4 posted 07-22-2012 09:55 PM

Thanks for the answers guys!

Maybe I should restate the question.

With all the different green oak and sycamore I have I would like to offer turning blanks for sale, but I don’t have any idea of how to cut them from the log.

Should I cut post sized chunks out of the log and then whack it into pieces across the grain or should I cut the block out of the side grain? Does it really matter?

Pen blanks: What are the best sizes to make pens from? LxWxH? Side Grain or End Grain?


-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4213 posts in 2556 days

#5 posted 07-22-2012 09:59 PM

Hay Dallas

Here is a link to a site that sells wood for turners

You can go there and see what it looks like.

Good luck and hope to be hearing from you soon buddy


PS – Pen blanks should have alot of figure and color to them and the best size green should be 1”x1”x6 1/2”
If you cut a log make sure it is about 14” to 16” long and then split it in half or down the middle which is where most of the time the pith is. The pith is the beginning of the tree growing out and it is the most unstable part of the whole tree.
To keep the end grain from cracking use a good latex paint and put it on the end grain.

The web site will show you how the wood looks.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2129 days

#6 posted 07-23-2012 11:22 AM

If have any turning clubs in your area give them a call, some clubs have web sites so can e-mail them. Let them do the work turning logs to blanks worry about end sealing and storing. Any bandsaw box maker might be interested in your wood too.

Plenty of online vendors sell woodturning blanks (bowl, turning squares, pen) check out those sites see what they are doing. Not to many vendors grantee moisture content of wood they sell.

If visit classified section will see how folk sell their pen blanks.

Most of the vendors that cater to woodturners, carvers, will completely seal their blanks in wax to stop moisture loss.

-- Bill

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2482 days

#7 posted 07-23-2012 04:35 PM

Thanks Bill and Arlin! I will as directed! Maybe I’m being assimilated into the Wood Turners Guild!

(Good thing there aren’t any wood turners within 50 miles of me)!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3986 days

#8 posted 07-23-2012 07:42 PM


Take a look at this how-to by Bill Grumbine. just slide down the page to “Sawing a Log for Bowls”.


edited to add the link

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3986 days

#9 posted 07-23-2012 07:43 PM

Woops.... forgot the link....

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

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