@slatron25, I live in the southeast, up on Lookout Mountain. It's just regular old sycamore with the peeling bark. My primary gripe when it was green was 3 HF's in a row turned on center that popped from top to bottom. While bowls are fun to turn, and small spindle type stuff, it's not really what I enjoy most, and that seems to be what this wood is good for, not tall HF's. Secondly, as these logs have sat here for over a year, the sapwood dried out completely. There's no moisture in it at all. But the reddish heartwood still slings water everywhere. It's sapwood has the consistency of styrofoam, and it will not cut clean with any of my gouges in the shear scrape position, nor with my dedicated shear scraper (sorby). It is pretty though, with all of it's spalting. I'll post pics when they're finished.
@djg, These logs are about 18" or so diameter. If i could make a suggestion, it's way safer to leave the wood in log form, than it is to cut blanks out and let them sit, even with wax. If they're just gonna sit for a few days that's one thing, but otherwise, you're running the risk of each blank possibly checking over time, when if you left in the log, only the ends would check somewhat, and you could just cut out what you needed, and save on wax too. (last year, approximately 3 complete trees were ruined using the method of cutting out the blanks first, and i was out a lot of wax)
Anyways, about the lathe
It is a rather small lathe, but I see no need to ever turn anything over my 14.5" max. That's really big for a usable bowl, and a hollow form at that size is not something i'm interested in. With that said, I've upgraded the motor to a 3hp DC motor, it weighs in at 98lbs and is over 2' long
overkill. If you look at the lathe box, you can see my motor controller mounted to it. Without a true variable speed, I could not do larger work like this. Other than that, if you have variable speed and a decent sized motor, it's no problem. Just like turning a small bowl, only bigger, and takes longer. The lathe came with a 3/4hp AC motor with a reeves drive, and it's lowest speed was around 600rpm, i think. Doesn't matter what it was, cause it was too fast for anything that was out of round. I now can start out as slow as i want to, and with the step pulleys I installed in the headstock and the motor spindles, I get maximum torque from the motor even at the lowest speeds.
And about cherry, in my experience, it is certainly prone to cracking. Within seconds of cutting every single tree, it has begun to check, and if not worked fairly quickly, the log will continue to split from one end to the other. robert421960 just posted some pics of a log with this same problem. I've had about 8 trees so far, from different places, and of different ages, and they've all been like that. It is a hard wood too, and turns great, imo. Bowls or HF's cut like butter. (really hard butter, haha)
whew, i'm outta bref