Need help or advice on wood storage for turning

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Forum topic by aussiedave posted 11-23-2013 11:26 AM 1805 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1818 days

11-23-2013 11:26 AM

Hi fellow LJ’s I am still building the bench/stand for my new Nova lathe. But in the past few days I have happened across two large trees being felled and unfortunately both time got there as the trucks were loaded and heading for the tip. Both times the tree fellers were kind enough to let me have some of the wood close to the tailgate. I had to just get what I could fit in my little Hyundai hatch back. here are a few pics of what I managed to get.

Ok the first pic shows the flat quarter sections are Tuart a native Eucalyptus which I hope I can use later to make veneers and thicker pieces for box sides or inserts on sides and lids of boxes. The round pieces are another native Eucalyptus but no one could tell me what it was other than that. Pics two wnd three are to just show the Tuart before I painted them. Not having actually done any turning yet or having stored wood for turning, I need to know am I doing this right as far as storing it. I do believe I have to rough turn the log pieces for storing but after that I have no idea. As for the Tuart, should I cut like 4” wide lengths of the quarters and store it like that or leave as it is. What I mean by cutting a 4”wide strip is looking at the second pic cutting a 4”wide strip from the long vertical side so it is 4”wide by how ever thick that slab is. If that is the thing to do how long will it take to dry and should I just stack the pieces in top of each other painted surface to painted surface or sticker them? With the turning logs and disks how long can I keep them the way they are before I rough turn into cylinder like logs. I apologise for rambling on here people but I just don’t know really what to do. I hope I don’t end up with a nice pile of fire wood for next winter…lol. Thanks for reading.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

15 replies so far

View Tim's profile


273 posts in 1852 days

#1 posted 11-23-2013 12:02 PM

Hey Dave I don’t have a lathe but I have an idea for storage!! :D (I’m thinking of buying one)
Ok so here is my idea. A very big box say 1200mmx600mmx1000mm with a base and a hinged lid (optional).
This can be made from very simple construction with some 2×4s and one or two sheets of 19mm plywood or mdf.
It would be a really good idea to put it on casters to roll it around. Or an even better idea is to make this big box fit under a workbench if you have room. Im a 15 year old woodworker in Sydney :D and I don’t have all that much experience so if I got something wrong in this post please tell me Dave. Thank you.

-- No tree was harmed in the making of this project...... wait a minute, yes there was, uh oh

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20464 posts in 3099 days

#2 posted 11-23-2013 01:31 PM

Hi Dave, time has a good idea putting caster on a box to hold it. That makes it portable so you can move the heavy load all st once instead of in pieces.

If you are going to keep it for a while before turning it, I would coat it with Anchor Seal and not just paint. the Anchor seal has a wax in it that seal a lot better than paint. I think you will find that it is whole lot easier to turn when it is green- quite fun really. If you have some idea for shape you would want, rough turn the bowls leaving a thick wall and then bury them in the chips to dry that way. With a uniform wall thickness, you will get warping and most likely avoid cracking in the piece. Then when it is dry, you pull it out of the chips, true up the tenon on the bottom and finish the pieces. The wall thickness on the first rough turning should be about 10% of the diameter of the bowl.

As for storage of pieces like that, if you have a corner where you could put a rack, you could make a high rack with 2×4’s and a bottom with casters and then put shelves all the way up so you can easily see shat you have and be able to move the bunch of them around all at one time. I did that with plywood that I used to have to unstack all the time. Now I just roll the lot of it out of the way.

Good luck…..................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View doubleDD's profile


7382 posts in 2037 days

#3 posted 11-23-2013 03:13 PM

Hey Dave, as Jim said anchor seal is the best way to go. I have tried paints in the past but not as successful. I keep the bark on my logs and just seal the ends and lay them on their sides. This process works well. I have rounded out logs and sealed them and that is good too only it seems to take a bit longer to dry out. Even when you seal the ends you may develop cracks there so I’ll check them every so often and reseal the cracks and that does the trick.
Turning green wood is a lot of fun and easier, you just end up doing it in steps instead of all at once.
Air circulation is the quickest way for them to dry more natural. I have my ceiling air filter exhausting toward the logs which I have stored on shelving, so when I’m in the shop it’s always on aiding the drying process.

If you cut the tuart in strips as you said I would make sure the end grain is sealed and sticker them.
You can keep your sealed logs stored for years and should not have any problem with them as long as they were sealed. I keep close to 100 logs at a time ( in the shop, garage, outside ) and end up loosing very very little. I’m sure you have more question, just ask.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View JollyGreen67's profile


1669 posts in 2757 days

#4 posted 11-23-2013 05:09 PM

Dave, I know this is going to sound “strange”, but I always seal the ends with anchor seal, then apply a paper towel over that, then reseal again. I live in the dry southwest U.S. where it might get up to 20% humidity, and very seldom have a problem with cracking using this procedure.

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

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2129 days

#5 posted 11-23-2013 05:37 PM

Dave, sometimes have to end seal a couple or three times with paint.

All I know about Eucalyptus, comes from Rich Raffin harvesting and turning lot of stuff from that wood. Learned from him, Eucalyptuses has a high tannin content that will stain hands and lathe.

He likes to rough turn and set aside to cure for six months or longer.

I normally split logs over 8 to 10 centimeters in half, before setting aside to dry.

If can find a copy of Raffin’s, “Turned Bowl Design,” Oct 1987 or Feb 1992 he walks you through converting timber, rough turning & seasoning. Think he has updated that book with new title, but he does put a lot of information from old books into his new books too!

I cannot add much more than already posted on air circulation. My drying procedure different from your manily because where live in USA and relative humidity. Principles the same though.

-- Bill

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1818 days

#6 posted 11-24-2013 01:10 AM

Thanks very much Tim, Jim, Dave, Jimbo and Bill for all your input it is very much appreciated. I did use a sealer so I am guessing a little better than standard paint. The local woodworking shop here does not open on Sundays so I have to wait till Monday to go and get a can of end sealer and repaint them all. I also need to get a small chain saw to split some of these. Can any one tell me the rule of thumb for drying time, mainly for the Tuart when I cut it into sections for stickering. Jim you mentioned when rough turning leave the project at 10% thick…so if it is going to be around 10”across leave the wall 1” thick. Then pack in the shavings around it in a cardboard box or something. Is the drying time for that about six months to a year before you can do the final turning. Last question…is dry turning that much harder than wet? Is it hard because of ware on the turning tools or actually physically hard.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2129 days

#7 posted 11-24-2013 05:00 PM

Dave, you need a plan. Evaluate what pieces of wood will make good veneer and box components then process it. Stack and sticker it allowing for good air circulation. Or process your turning wood into bowl and spindle blanks.

Processing the wood, you have gathered for veneer, & boxes straight forward cutting on a table saw or band saw, stack & sticker allowing air circulation. Cutting wood thickness will speed up drying process.

Processing wood for turning little more difficult because length and diameter of your logs. From pictures, see more spindle than bowl blanks. I am looking at grain orientation of all your wood. The two short logs at left corner as either end grain bowls or couple of small side grain bowls if those logs split in half. They would make excellent hollow forms.

Yes, a small electric or gas chain saw very helpful around the shop if acquire larger diameter logs. Looking at pictures band saw and sled much safer option.

Drying wood sometimes more art than science. Your location in the world, average annual relative humidity, air circulation where & how you store wood, and wood species has a lot to do with it. By processing logs into thinner wood speeds up the drying process whether using that log for lumber for turning. Time to reach EMC can vary from few months to several based upon what already said.

Some ways to know if wood has reached ECM, and ready to use is by weighing with a scale or measuring with a meter. Many carvers & turners use bathroom or postal scales and weigh pieces on regular schedule until wood stops losing weight. Others use moisture meters.
Both methods can get you close, without spending a lot of money.

Roughing out wet bowl blanks speeds up drying because there is less wood to dry and have exposed more end grain. Wood has not reached maximum strength, so turning much easier.

-- Bill

View DIYaholic's profile


19618 posts in 2669 days

#8 posted 11-24-2013 05:32 PM

I can’t add to the conversation….

I just want to thank you, for asking about drying process. I’m in need of the same information!

Everyone else,
Thank you, for taking the time to post and share your knowledge!!!
This is exactly what makes LJs a great place!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2955 days

#9 posted 11-24-2013 06:50 PM

I didn’t see it mentioned but get a good moisture meter. Other have given good info. You realize that you are now committed to posting photos of your projects.

View BobWemm's profile


2450 posts in 1920 days

#10 posted 11-25-2013 12:02 PM

Hey Dave, green turning is easy on the tools and your body, while dry Hard timber is rough on your tools and your body. I changed to a carbide cutter for my hard woods, and they dull much quicker than the suggested service life.
If you can turn them green and store them(about 6 months) it is so much easier. Storage is, of course the biggest problem. My shed floor is half covered with cardboard boxes and green rough turned blanks. If you stack on top of each other it takes longer to dry. You don’t get the absorption through the bottom of the box and air flow on top.

-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

208 posts in 1726 days

#11 posted 11-28-2013 01:24 AM

Dave – As others have correctly stated, wood species, where you are in the world, humidity in your work area, etc. all contribute to how long a particular piece will take to dry sufficiently. A moisture meter is an excellent investment and will take the trial and error out of knowing when your wood is dry enough to take projects from rough-turned to be finished. Google ‘General Tools MMD4E Digital Moisture Meter’. Amazon sells them for $29.95 and they are well worth the money. I use one in my workshop and there is no guesswork involved in telling when pieces have reached the 10 – 12% moisture content you want.

Hope this helps!


-- Once in awhile I make something really great. Most days I just make sawdust.

View starman's profile


4 posts in 1635 days

#12 posted 12-03-2013 12:39 AM

Dave – I seal the cut ends of wood I find for free with a mixture of 50% wax and 50% mineral spirits. My cousin discovered that the mineral spirits help the wax adhere really well to the wood. For wax, I go to a local Goodwill store and buy a bag full of old candles for about $5.00. I put the wax and mineral spirits in an old rice cooker I purchased at Goodwill for $5.00. My workshop is in my basement. After sealing the wood, I place in on the shelves of an old metal rack in the corner and leave it there until I am ready for it. I’ve never had a problem.

View Norm192's profile


73 posts in 1636 days

#13 posted 12-08-2013 11:24 PM

I use the exact same process as starman and have never had a problem. I coat the end grain 100% with wax/min spirits. Hitachi rice cooker works like a champ!

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1818 days

#14 posted 12-09-2013 12:33 AM

Thanks heaps people…so much valuable info for Me, very much appreciated. Starman and Norm I take it the wax is paraffin wax?
Thanks again every one who has contributed to my initial call for help and advice…thank you thank you thank you.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View starman's profile


4 posts in 1635 days

#15 posted 12-09-2013 02:15 AM

Dave – Paraffin is expense. I use candles I purchase from Goodwill. Sometimes they are new, but mostly they are used. Last visit to Goodwill I got about a 2 year supply for about $5.00. I apply the wax/mineral spirits with a cheap paintbrush. Sometimes I cut the wood into turning blanks and then seal it. Sometimes I don’t have time to cut the wood when I get it so I wax the cut ends as they are and cut blanks later. I use a magic marker to put a date and type of wood on one end before I wax it.

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