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post #1 of 7 Old 02-18-2008, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Turning Green Wood

I just received several green wood bowl blanks that I would like to turn into bowls. Can anyone give me a crash course on turning green wood and preventing it from cracking after it is turned? Any input is appreciated.

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post #2 of 7 Old 02-18-2008, 12:21 PM
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Crash course-turn it thin in one setting. There are actually 2 ways. One is to turn it to about 1" thick, seal the endgrain areas and let it dry for 6 months or so. Weight it frequently and when it stops losing weight it's dry.
I had a bunch of failures early on because I left big tenons on the bottom. The tenons would check. The bowl bottom doesn't warp as much so I found that I can leave the bottom including the tenon the same thickness as the upper walls. This lets the whole bowl dry more evenly and that's the secret to keeping green wood from checking. Slow even moisture loss.
When I need a bowl quickly from green wood I turn it to final size in one setting. I leave the walls no thicker than 1/4" or so on woods that check easily or 3/8" for most woods. This includes the foot area. To keep it from checking while I'm turning if it's going to take very long I will mist it with water. If I stop to eat or anything longer I cover it with a plastic bag until I can get back to it.
That's it in a nutshell. It can be a lot more complicated.
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-18-2008, 12:29 PM
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Everything I turn is from wet wood. I turn the bowl or whatever to it's finished appearance in one turning. I then seal the wood with a sealer immediately after finishing the turning, if you don't do this it cracks and checks. Shellac is good for this purpose also. Then when dry I usually use several coats of poly, shiny or satin. I don't lose many bowls doing it this way and don't have to wait forever for it to dry. There are some disadvantages doing it this way but I am not going to wait for it to dry. Check out my turnings on my gallery here on this forum. Mitch
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-18-2008, 12:30 PM
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Hi ken, you could turn them to about 1" thick wrap them up in newspaper for a few months then return to finish, helps to dry them out quicker and have enough left on them to turn any movment of warp. You could also look into microwave drying i have had some that have been okay, some not so. Mitch turns green wood and then seals the finish with Shelac never done it that way myself but i think his are okay not heard anything to say not. Me i would go for the turning to about the 1" and then storing for a few months. If its not great wood then try different methods, learn by mistakes trial and erro.....LB..
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-18-2008, 12:32 PM
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NO one here a second ago, slow down. my fingers are old... LB.
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-04-2008, 03:02 AM
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I have been turning green wood often and really like some of the oval shapes you get (particularly from red oak). But checking is always a problem particularly with cherry.

So I now rough out the bowl, soak it in a liquid dish detergent (6 parts water 1 part detergent, estimated) for a couple of days (or longer) and then wrap in news paper (maybe put inside a plastic bag but not sealed) and
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-04-2008, 03:04 AM
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I have been turning green wood often and really like some of the oval shapes you get (particularly from red oak). But checking is always a problem particularly with cherry.

So I now rough out the bowl, soak it in a liquid dish detergent (6 parts water 1 part detergent, estimated) for a couple of days (or longer) and then wrap in news paper (maybe put inside a plastic bag but not sealed) and forget it for some months. I have had no checking with this technique and it is well worth the wait. Of course you have to return the bowl to desired thickness etc. and to get it round for the wood will go oval as it dries. I learned of this technique from a posting called "soap in your bowl" by Ernie Connover and had since seen several posting about how well it works.

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