Microwave Drying - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-17-2011, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Microwave Drying

Has anyone dried wood in a microwave? Any suggestions on how to go about doing it?
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post #2 of 4 Old 07-17-2011, 07:34 AM
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I've done it. It's trial and error as to coordinating power and time with the volume of wood and it's degree of moisture.

Also, would recommend NOT using the one in the kitchen.
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post #3 of 4 Old 07-17-2011, 07:44 AM
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Ditto what Gene says. Especially the kitchen part, unless your single like me. I did it for years on occasion and then one day there was a sap pocket in the wall of a bowl. It heated up faster than the wood burned a hole in the side of the bowl. It didn't catch on fire but charred the wood and left a smell that took a month or more to get out of the microwave. Had I been married, I would not have been very shortly unless I put another microwave in it's place, quickly.
That being said it does work. Start with short times on full power or slightly longer on half power. I start with 30 seconds on full. If the piece doesn't feel pretty darn warm then extend the time. I try to make it hot enough that you can still hold it. After the first 4 or 5 cycles I go to a minute. It will gradually take longer and longer to get it hot without getting too hot.
What I usually do is just stick to a minute. Every time I come in the house I tick off another minute. I let it cool quite a bit between cycles. I weight it. When it stops losing weight it's dry, but really too dry. If it's a bowl that's OK. If it's a box I let is sit for a day to pick up moisture so it will be stable. It takes quite a few cycles. I've never counted but I'd say 10 to 15, maybe more. I just do it until it's dry.
I only do this when I absolutely have to have it there by tomorrow. Most thin bowls and boxes will dry by themselves after roughing in 3 to 5 days so it's not really worth microwaving. Thicker bowls I just rough turn and put on the shelf and wait the 6 months or so. I did dry one that was 10" and 1" thick. It took many many cycles over 2 days to dry completely. It started to check so I had to lower the power and wait longer between cycles. Just too much hassle for me.
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post #4 of 4 Old 07-18-2011, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help.
I originally asked because I wanted to kill the powder post beetle infestation I have then found out I need a piece for Sunday so this sounds like it will work out pretty well. I will be using some Cherry so there is a chance of there being a gum pocket. It sounds like I should keep an eye on it while the microwave is running. I have a microwave that is not the kitchen one so I should be safe on that account.
I just started turning in October and have a lot to learn and this was one thing I was curious about. Thanks to both of you for the help.
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