Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Baxter, Tennessee
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.