Dry wood blanks

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Forum topic by Fridgecritter posted 12-12-2014 11:53 PM 1175 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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176 posts in 2142 days

12-12-2014 11:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: blank dry turning chip splinter humidor purpleheart bloodwood chisel lathe

I buy wood blanks online and have them shipped to my shop. Sometimes I get really dry wood, mainly Purpleheart and Bloodwood. When I go to turn them, they splinter and chip. I have a sharpening machine for my chisels, and I only have this problem with Purpleheart and Bloodwood really. Even when I use an oblique cutting technique with a super sharp skew it has a lot of chip out.

My question is, Has anyone experimented with storing overly dry wood blanks in a humidor? Bring the humidy in the wood up to where you want it and then turn it?

-- "Anyone can post a quote on the internet and attribute the quote to a famous person." -Abraham Lincoln

5 replies so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3068 days

#1 posted 12-13-2014 01:10 AM

Interesting question, cant answer specifically for turning. I know they both tearout and splinter when milling and routing horribly. Its the nature of the wood. Never tried to add moisture to them. I would assume it wouldnt help but will see what others say.

View Fridgecritter's profile


176 posts in 2142 days

#2 posted 12-13-2014 03:41 AM

Well, the reason I ask the question is because I’ve had both species blanks that were really tight grained and a pleasure to turn, seemingly softer, and then I get some that are just ridiculous. I’m just curious if that’s simply that section of the tree’s inherent grain pattern and there’s nothing that can be done, or if others have had any experience with “reviving” dry splintery wood enough to turn.

-- "Anyone can post a quote on the internet and attribute the quote to a famous person." -Abraham Lincoln

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2228 days

#3 posted 12-13-2014 08:42 AM

Sometimes it is just the nature of the beast, do you have a moisture meter…. A darn good investment, check to see what they are reading. Be very interesting to see what the moisture content is. What about increasing the speed some?

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View mrg's profile


827 posts in 3026 days

#4 posted 12-13-2014 01:54 PM

Two things to try. One is speed up the lathe and take a lighter cut. The other is mist the piece with a little water to soften the fibers where your cutting.

Overly dry wood seems to taer out more than wet wood.

-- mrg

View Sprung's profile


94 posts in 1742 days

#5 posted 12-13-2014 02:03 PM

Part of it is probably the nature of the wood. Some woods are more brittle and prone to splintering and chipping, and that can be more of a problem with the harder woods – and purpleheart and bloodwood rank up there as very hard woods. I’ve experienced the same the few times I’ve worked with either. Go slow. Sharp tools. Don’t let heat build up.

Some woods are real easy to work with, some pose challenges, and some are extremely difficult to work with unless you know how to tame the beast. (Snakewood comes to mind on that – I’ve worked with a couple small pieces of snakewood – it definitely lives up to its reputation and I’m unlikely to ever try working with it again…)

-- Matt, SW MN,

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