Green Wood

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Forum topic by Jerry Maske posted 05-25-2015 01:42 PM 833 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jerry Maske

14 posts in 1329 days

05-25-2015 01:42 PM

Been playing with green wood this year and have had some successes and some dismal failures. I’ve read everything I can find about how to “Cure” green wood and have come to some conclusions. Basically, I’d like to hear your stories: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly ones. And I’ll share a couple of my own. This is a wide open field with all sorts of variables at work.

For example, I got a load of Hawaiian Avocado that dries beautifully, as long as you get all the pith out. But a piece of local Maple, sitting right next to it, splits wide open. I live along the coast of Maine so there’s a lot of humidity, as opposed to Tucson, for example. So I’ve come to the point that when I’m dealing with a piece of wood I haven’t had success with before, I take all the precautions. Anchor Seal, paper bag and old shavings, for example. Of course, I’m “Rough Turning” and leaving thick walls and bottom. And even after going through all that, I’ve had pieces sitting out on display that went noticeably OVAL! Of course, that prompts interesting tales about how I turned that bowl to look like a football.

So, how do YOU cure your pieces? And how many ways have you tried that DIDN’T work. I’m sure there’s “Interesting” stories out there.


3 replies so far

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

208 posts in 1699 days

#1 posted 05-25-2015 02:45 PM

Sounds like you’ve hit the standard marks. Just a suggestion or two in case you didn’t do these things:

-Turn the green wood to a thickness equal to about 10% of the diameter of the rough-turned pieces
-put Anchorseal on the end grain before packing it in it’s own shavings in a paper bag
-One other thought would be to at least partially dry the pieces in a microwave oven before bagging them up

I have done all of these in the past, and frankly, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I keep track of my green turned pieces and experience about a 70% success rate for those making it to the finished state. Some warp beyond salvage, some blow up while being turned, etc. Good thing wood grows on trees!


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

View LeeMills's profile


522 posts in 1267 days

#2 posted 05-25-2015 03:38 PM

I usually give mine a DNA bath for about a day. When it is dry enough (about 30 minutes) I coat all end grain with Anchorseal and bag it. I don’t use shavings in the bag. I think the DNA helps drying time but may not help preventing cracking very much.
From a Bill Grumbine video I now rough turn the base thinner than the wall as it is face grain it will dry slower than the end grain sections. So the wall may be 1” and the base 3/4”.
I initially store the rough turns low in the back of my shop. I try to move items from the shop to the house (in a closet, under the bed, etc.) for at least a month to let them acclimate to the lower equilibrium before finish turning. Depending on your area and time of year there may be quite a difference in the EMC in your home and the EMC in your shop.
I’m in NC; a brother from El Paso visited and took back a bowl that had been finished about a year. In about a month going from my 12% to his 4% EMC it cracked wide open.

Here is an article listing EMC by state starting on about page six.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

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Jerry Maske

14 posts in 1329 days

#3 posted 05-25-2015 04:00 PM

Tried the microwave with minimal success. Rough turning to 10% and SOMETIMES using a paper bag, plastic bag and/or wood shavings or, just tossing them in a pile and letting whatever is going to happen, well, Happen. All those processes have worked and all have failed, but I’ve got a colony of fairies/menehunes living here stealing my tools, eating my left over pizzas and doing terrible things to the sharp edges on my gouges.

Richard Raffin says he just piles his rough turned bowls on a shelf, sometimes in a box, and leaves them to their own devices. He does this for a living and is one fine wood turner, and he STILL looses about 20%. If he can’t do better, what chance have the rest of us got?

I’m fond of this process. I’ll rough turn and apply apply Anchor seal on the outside and, SOMETIMES, the rim if it’s got bizarre wood grain in it. I usually don’t put seal inside. Then I leave it in the same space as my furnace, which is an, otherwise, unheated garage. Just now I’ve got three Maple, three Avocado, three Monkey Pod and one Lychee bowl sitting out doing just fine. I had two Maple bowls crack so I put them in plastic bags with no other treatment. The cracks healed just fine and they are sitting out on display. Care needs to be exercised using plastic because of the nasty things that can grow in there, so it ’s good to check every couple days and even change bags.

Spent the day today slabbing pieces of Rock Maple, Flaming Box Elder and a magnificent piece of Oak Burl. I’ll seal or bag them now until I can rough turn them. All these pieces came from a local lumber yard that would have used them for firewood. Took some off cuts from that Oak Burl that will make lovely small boxes.

Thanks for your help and I’ll let you know how things go.

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