how can I stop cracking in my wood! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-01-2012, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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how can I stop cracking in my wood!

Ive just finished a satin bloodwood bowl.My first bowl at that.I but johnsons wax on it every night iwas done, still cracked.I finished it and put poly rub on it and crossed my fingers.I worked to hard on it and i dont wont to waste the wood to trash it, so i hope it doesnt get worse.How can i stop the cracks to begin with?Its a beautiful wood and it just made me mad. thanks, chris
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-01-2012, 05:22 PM
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Without seeing a photo and knowing the history of the wood it's impossible to say. Cracks for for many reasons. The first thing is to start with wood that doesn't have any. They are very hard to detect. Rub on some mineral spirits and it will run into crack and darken it to make it show.
You didn't say if the wood was green or dry. If you bought the wood from a store and it was waxed you have no way of knowing. I treat it as green wood.
Uneven drying is the culprit most of the time. Moisture escapes through the end grain faster than the side grain. When wood dries it shrinks. If you have shinkage (thanks George Constanza) right next to a moist area that doesn't shrink you get cracks.
If you can't turn a bowl in one session, cover it with plastic until the next session. coating it with wax would help but may not stop it. The plastic will sort of put it in suspended animation and not let any moisture escape.
try to make a bowl the same thickness throughout. The most common cause of cracks is a thin lip leading down into a thicker wall. The lip dries and shrinks, the wall doesn't do it at the same rate and something has to give.
If you leave the pith in the wood you really invite cracks. The wood moves a lot more around a pity so unless the wood outside this area can also move or warp you get cracks.
After you turn it put it in a paper sack for a few days. That really slows down the moisture departure and often alleviates cracks.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-01-2012, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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yes the wood was store bought,and after roughing it i didnt see any cracks.I made the mistake of thinking its from a store its got to be dry but that was assuming and we know what that gets us.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-01-2012, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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given i cover it in a plastic bag when the piece is done each night,when its done will a poly rub or mineral spirits could it still crack?
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-01-2012, 07:04 PM
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Putting a finish on a turned piece is not going to prevent it from cracking if it's going to crack. It may slow it down, but that's all.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-01-2012, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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how can i stabilize them,just hope i get lucky?I mean if i do the bag method and to keep it from cracking while iam turning it,should take the wax off my blanks and control how much moisture is removed

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post #7 of 10 Old 05-01-2012, 08:00 PM
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Reread Johns post. If its green (wet) wood, turn it 90% and even thickness and then set aside to dry (there have been numerous posts here on this, do a search). Re-turn when dry. If dry, you shouldn't have any cracking problems.

I'm just guessing, but I'll assume you're relatively new to turning? If so my advice to all new turners is to take a class, join a club, or find a more experienced turner to mentor you (or all of the above).

Happy turnings.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-01-2012, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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yes iam new to turning i tend to be a fathead and read things but not READ them, sorry.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-01-2012, 08:57 PM
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No worries. Just trying to get you answers.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-01-2012, 10:01 PM
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It's more important how you wax or finish it at the green stage. What I do is coat the end grain areas along with the lip and foot with wax or finish. this keeps this are from losing moisture as quickly and hopefully match the moisture loss of the non waxed areas. this would equalize the tensions in the wood and hopefully solve the cracking problems.
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