curing wet wood for turning - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-13-2011, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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curing wet wood for turning

I have got some freshles cut river birch that was cut down about two months ago. the logs were 12/14 in. in dia. but I cut them in half through the heartwood/pith and rounded them some for drying. I want tod cure them for use next Jan/2012. How best to do and do the ends need to be treated (can latex paint be used) before storing thanks Eurekajon
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-13-2011, 04:01 PM
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I'm not an expert; just starting out like you, also. What I've been told is that the pith should be completely removed or else it will start splitting from there. So you might have to saw a little more off (thin slice). Maybe others will disagree.
You can either cut round blanks out of the remaining half logs, or just seal the end.
As far as sealing, latex paint doesn't really work; it is formulated to breath. Some around here use melted canning wax and others log sealers like Anchorseal (can be purchased directly from the manufacturer).
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-13-2011, 05:05 PM
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I have a couple of Russian Olive blanks that I won at out turning club, and I am drying them out in a plastic bag surrounded in shredded paper from our home paper shredder. It seems to be working since every two weeks I am replacing the paper with our shredded junk mail. The shredded paper is very wet and the blanks have not started to crack. Next month I am going to try and weigh them to see if they are really losing weight. I heard some where to put them in crushed paper but the shredded paper makes more contact with the wood, and it is a good place dispose of junk mail.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-13-2011, 05:50 PM
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A fairly standard practice is to remove the pith, coat the ends in wax or anchorseal, then place in a paper bag. Be sure to change the paper bag frequently in the beginning, as in every other day at least, but after that you can leave the paper bag for a week or more.

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post #5 of 8 Old 04-13-2011, 11:04 PM
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ok let me know if im wrong, by rounded do you mean rough cut? if so then just coat in anc seal and put in a paper bag. if they are solid round they are more unstable and prone to crack its almost better to leave them in log form to keep them that long with the seal on the end and if u want to cure them do you want them dry to cut? cuz if so it takes like one year per inch to dry if you want the wood dry then rough out to one inch thick then seal and put into paper bag with some of the shavings that you cut out into the bag with it but in my opinion the wetter the better

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post #6 of 8 Old 04-14-2011, 07:22 AM
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Well I've been doing a lot of experimenting with saving wood in the last 5 to 10 years. Here's my take on this. Paint doesn't work. End grain sealer doesn't work if you store the wood outside in the weather.
They are right. Left in log form with the pith cut out and ends sealed with wax has been the best for long term storage. It still might start to check but usually from the ends so leave it longer than the bowl you want so you can remove the waste later. Store these out of direct sunlight and even keep the wind off if you can. Best bet is inside away from the bugs sun and wind.
I've had great luck cutting them into bowl blanks and sealing the whole thing in wax. I use an old electric skillet with the heat set to just barely melt the wax. Keep the lid handy in case of fire but the difference between the melting point and the flash point is huge so I don't think you will ever have a problem. Unfortunately your limited to the size of the skillet. For larger blanks fill a can with melted wax and use a brush. You can re use this brush many times because the melted wax just melts the wax in the brush. I use a large metal measuring cup I found because it has a handle.
Best bet. Rough turn the bowls to about 10% of the over all size. Seal all endgrain areas with Anchorseal or if your really patient and want to increase your odds of not losing the bowl seal the whole thing with wax.
I rarely use the paper bags anymore. They do help if all you have is Anchorseal. The bags keep the sun and wind off the blank and slow down the moisture loss. However they can also trap enough moisture in to cause mold. That's why I quit using them and don't use the shavings in the bag either. I will use them for the first week on important rough turned bowls or sometimes on finish turned pieces just for a day to slow down the moisture loss.
Too rapid drying is why wood cracks. Part of it starts to dry and shrink, the part underneath is not drying and staying the same size. Something has to give. Since wood loses moisture fastest through the end grain sealing these areas equalizes the moisture loss.
Anchorseal lets air pass also but greatly slows down the moisture loss. Wax is even better at slowing down moisture loss. The 1" per year is really not very accurate but gives you some idea of how long it might take. In Tennessee a bowl blank 1" thick with end grain sealed will usually dry in 6 months. Weight them. When they stop losing weight they are dry. Well not dry but the moisture content is equal to your shop.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-14-2011, 08:06 AM
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I cut split and end seal with either latex paint or wax and store in my wood shed until can rough turn. Wood will always have some moisture in it even after couple of years of drying. That is why I rough turn a bowl blank. Time before rough turning might be couple of weeks, months, and over a year. When rough turning shoot for uniform thickness, which varies upon size of blank.

Once rough turned do not seal again. If wood is really wet will store in brow grocery bag with shaving for week or two before removing and stack some place in my shop. If not getting water coming from blank while turning just stack in shop.

Final turning may not happen for months or couple years.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-20-2011, 01:01 AM
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I rough turn my bowl blanks then cover them in saw dust for a few months. However, this method takes too long so I made a kiln using an old upright freezer. Now they are dry in 2-4 days. Some checking occurs but it's manageable.

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