quick dry wet wood? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-06-2012, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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quick dry wet wood?

I woke up feeling like it was a day for pens. I haven't made pens in a long time but earlier in the week found a bag of pen parts, mandrels, bushing etc that I must have bought one or five years ago.
I grabbed a small log that I cut off a mesquite tree a few days ago. I thought it was deadwood since most of the bigger stuff I cut was deadwood, but when I cut it down on the bandsaw it feels real cold to the touch - that to me means it's wet.

So now I've got two wet mesquite boards 1" thick, 4" wide, 18" long. And I want to turn pens.

Today.
I suppose I could keep grabbing logs and making boards, but I've only got one junker bandsaw blade left and milling wet mesquite with it is going to kill it very quickly. So option 2 is to dry the boards I just made.

What can I do? It's not hot enough out here to just lay them on the driveway - another 30 days or so and that will do the trick quickly.

Can I microwave them? Cook them in the oven? If so - how, as they are, cut into blanks first, predrill before cooking?

I've also heard boiling stops checking. Instead of drying, can I boil them?

thanks
Joe

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post #2 of 8 Old 05-06-2012, 12:17 PM
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If you're really in a hurry, cut them closer to pen blank side and dry them in the microwave, CAREFULLY.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-06-2012, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Cool. 1 minute, 10 minutes? popcorn setting?

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post #4 of 8 Old 05-06-2012, 12:29 PM
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Ive dried a couple of blanks in the microwave. I nuke them for 15 to 20 seconds and then let them cool and nuke em again and continue untill I dont see moisture boiling from the end grain. Probably not the most scientific method but has worked in a pinch. You can also use a kitchen scale to get more accurate measurements of when the moisture is gone. Make sure they have completely cooled before drilling.

You can also put them in a toaster oven or possibly even your regular oven at 200* for about 2 hours. I know guys do this to get blanks completely dry before stabelizing. It may take longer when starting with green wood, not sure.

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post #5 of 8 Old 05-06-2012, 05:44 PM
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You probably have dried the wood by now and turned a pen. But if you haven't I have dried a fair amount of wood in the microwave. One way to tell if you have nuked it enough is to use a clear plastic bag. Put the blanks in to the bag and nuke on high for a minute or two. the moisture will condensate on the plastic. take it out and remove the blanks and either dry the bag or use another one and do it again. I never leave it cool so the process doesn't take to long. Sometimes I will let it cool a little to see if the moisture will stop coming out of the wood. When you aren't getting a lot of moisture on the inside of the bag it should be dry enough. OR if you smell burning wood you probably have dried it a little to far. Do one blank at a time so if you do dry it to far you aren't out that much.

Some woods will be a different color when nuked. Little Leaf Linden or Basswood will stay almost ivory color when nuked.

Good luck
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-06-2012, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Waste of a Day

Dried the wood - yes. Turned a pen - no. It just turned into another wasted day. I microwaved 15-20 seconds at a time, standing them on end on a paper towel. It took a while but I found the rhythm that kept the sound they made somewhere between a slight hiss and a heavy whistle. When they got too hot I let them set on a rack on the stove for a while. The sapwood turned a nice yellow - like I wanted, but the heartwood didn't get very dark. In any case, I got one blank prepped and halved - then realized I had no glue. So I drove all the way into town just for some superglue. Got back and got the tubes in and the ends squared. Went to put it on the bushings and the mandrel and the bushings don't fit in the tube. Turns out I have 5 pen kits, all 7mm and my bushings - both sets - are for "parker style". At least that's what I'm assuming the problem is. One of the mandrels was brand new, and the bushings were still in the wrapper and the wrapper says "parker style." The other bushings were used and just sitting on the other mandrel but they look like they're the exact same size as the other. So Sunday was a waste, no pens until I get around to ordering 7mm bushings.
EDIT: And the pen kits were from Lee Valley. I can't remember the last time I ordered from LV so I've had these for a while. Time to stop procrastinating and order those bushings.

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post #7 of 8 Old 05-06-2012, 10:09 PM
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Do you have a 60* live center and dead center? If so, just turn between centers. No bushings or mandrel needed!!

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post #8 of 8 Old 05-07-2012, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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No bushings, but finished the pen.

Thanks - I'd read that tip here before but figured it was for lathe-meisters. When you mentioned it again I thought what the hell - the wood was free and I've got 5 of the kits so if I ruin one it's no big loss. First attempt was with CA to finish - I didn't like the big shine so I took it back down to a dull sheen with just a couple coats of oil. It's no museum piece, but not bad for someone who hasn't turned a pen since Bush was in the White House (Sr. and he was only the VP.) Next one I'm trying to use a blank with more of the yellow sapwood like on the chisel in the pic.
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