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how to finish green wood turnings

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Forum topic by dozer57 posted 10-08-2014 02:17 PM 833 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dozer57

92 posts in 965 days


10-08-2014 02:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question ash

Hi I need some ideas and help on finishing green wood to help stop any cracking when it dries. I am practice turning on green wood logs and a couple have turned out nice and need to try and save them. The logs are green have only been cut for 60 days or so. I think they are ash logs. Thanks


9 replies so far

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Nubsnstubs

826 posts in 1196 days


#1 posted 10-08-2014 02:24 PM

Hey Dozer, when you say “Logs”, are you turning “logs”, or are you cutting smaller pieces from the Log, and then turning them? .............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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dozer57

92 posts in 965 days


#2 posted 10-08-2014 02:29 PM

I am cutting to smaller chunks and all different grain directions

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dozer57

92 posts in 965 days


#3 posted 10-08-2014 02:31 PM

I am cutting to smaller chunks and all different grain directions an some may have the bark left on when done thanks

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jdh122

879 posts in 2283 days


#4 posted 10-08-2014 04:19 PM

Generally you should make sure that you remove the pith of the log, otherwise it will almost certainly crack when drying. This means mostly people start by splitting the log or sawing it in half.
There are a couple of methods that green bowl and spoon makers use. I think that the microwave is probably the most common these days (heat it for 10-15 seconds, let it cool, repeat until dry). Others put the piece in a paper bag with a lot of shavings and then take it out of the bag for a few minutes each day. Personally I’ve had good success using a boiled potato (just smear the potato on the piece, nice and thick, the starch slows down the drying enough to stop cracking). You can put it near a heat source (with a thicker piece of wood I probably would leave it away from the heat for a week or so and then move it close to the heat).

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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gwilki

121 posts in 939 days


#5 posted 10-08-2014 06:16 PM

Dozer: I’m fascinated by Jeremy’s potato method. I’ve never heard of it. :-)

For the most part, bowl turners go with one of two methods: once turned or twice turned. For once turned bowls, you turn the bowl to a wall thickness of no more than 1/4” while wet, and let it dry. It will warp, but hopefully not crack. Sand it, finish it and you’re done. Many people like the warped look.
If you don’t want warped, you go with the twice turned method. You turn the bowl to its final outer shape, but leave thickness of the walls and bottom about 10% of the bowl’s diameter. So, a 10” bowl has 1” thick walls. Then you let it dry. Here, if you ask 10 turners, you will get 11 different drying methods – 12 if you count Jeremy’s potato method. :-) You can boil the thick blank, you can soak it in DNA, you can soak it in soap solution, you can microwave it, or you can be patient and let it dry naturally. If you let it dry naturally, it is generally recommended that you seal the end grain to slow the moisture loss from the end grain to equal the moisture loss from the side grain. Then you wrap it in paper or put it into a paper bag and walk away for weeks to months. You can weigh it when you first wrap it and continue to weigh it from time to time until it stops losing weight. When it stops, you put it back on the lathe. It will have warped, but hopefully, not cracked. You turn it round again, turn the walls to your final thickness and you’re done.
I’ve been turning a lot of ash lately, since locally, they are being cut down to stop the borer. I’ve used both the once turned and twice turned methods, but had more luck with twice turned. Even very thin, I’ve had once turned crack several times.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

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jdh122

879 posts in 2283 days


#6 posted 10-08-2014 06:59 PM

The potato method comes from master bowl and spoon carver Wille Sundqvist. Peter Follansbee mentions it on his blog. It works great for spoons and I’ve used it for bowls too (though I should mention that these are carved bowls rather than turned ones, but I don’t see why it would matter).

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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dozer57

92 posts in 965 days


#7 posted 10-09-2014 03:48 PM

POTATO MASH—hummmm-very interesting thought. :-) going try this and the other ideas also. Thanks everyone I will post a few if this works out. Tatters who would have thunk that one up.

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dozer57

92 posts in 965 days


#8 posted 10-13-2014 03:49 PM

Microwave works but I may have left them into long at first. Small cracks at start of drying, 30 seconds may be to much, 20 seconds for starters worked better. I rough turned my piece to the basic form and then tried drying in microwave. weighed pieces at start. 600 grams and 540 grams each microwaved about 15 times each and final weight was 534 on the 600 and 485 on the 540 piece. Small cracks on surface but did not go to deep as most turned out, the smaller ones have closed when let to sit at room temp. Thanks for the advice as now I have unlimited supply of wood to turn and hopefully make things worth keeping from fire wood.

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Woodmac

5 posts in 3416 days


#9 posted 10-22-2014 03:54 AM

Several of my clubs turners have had great success immersing green wood in 50:50 mixture of water and dishwashing soap (i.e. Dawn) for two days or longer. This has worked better and cheaper than using denatured alcohol. Eventually the bucket smells bad enough that you have to totally renew the solution. Shavings are said to come off nicely, especially from pieces of heavily spalted or punky wood.

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