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post #1 of 11 Old 02-11-2010, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Wood Prep

Ok, so I got some english walnut logs from some guy that cut down his tree and I am wondering what to do at this point. How long does it have to dry out before I can turn it? I live in WI and it was outside covered in snow. Once it is dry what is my next step? Do I rip the bark off and try to get the logs into smaller peices that I can turn. Just looking for some guidence. Thanks.

John
Green Bay WI
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-11-2010, 08:08 PM
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It's better to turn it green.When the wood is freshly cut it turns so much easier and isn't so hard on the tools.Go to www.youtube.com and type in bowl turning and watch some great videos about this.Also if you would like to purchase a DVD then look up "turned bowls made easy" by Bill Grumbine.It's an excellent DVD that takes you from the log to a finished bowl.I bought it and it is well worth watching over and over again.
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-12-2010, 09:50 AM
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Rough-turning the wood into very thick bowls will aid in drying. Rough turn them, put them on a shelf and forget them for several months at least. Some will dry perfectly, some will warp, some will crack. Those reasons are why you leave them thick and go back and finish turn them after they're dry. A good rule of thumb for green wood blanks is 1 year of drying per 1" of thickness.

If you intend to do something other than bowls, I'd cut the logs into usable sizes and immediately seal the end grain with anchorseal or paraffin. If you don't seal the end grain in short order, you're guaranteed to get cracks and checks during the drying process.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-13-2010, 08:06 PM
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What the others have said is a good way to go about it. You can't dry a log. It will crack in many places from end to end. What I do when I get new wood is to coat the ends with end grain sealer as soon as possible. If they are going to sit there very long I try to cover them to keep the sun and wind off of them.
When I don't have time to put end grain sealer on I will set the long on one end and cover the other end with a plastic garbage bag. This will promote fungus but will also slow down the cracking until I can cut the log up to rough turn the bowls.
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-15-2010, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Would it be better to but the logs into smaller pieces and then seal the ends?

John
Green Bay WI
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-15-2010, 09:29 AM
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Not unless you want most of them to crack. They really need to be bandsawn into blanks or boards before drying. Simply cutting the logs into shorter pieces will promote drying but you're guaranteed to get cracking from the pith to the bark. A bowl blank is cut from a log that has already been cut in half (lengthwise through the pith) lengthwise.
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-16-2010, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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could I use my table saw to cut them down? My band saw is not big enough.

John
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-16-2010, 11:13 AM
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I often cut logs into smaller pieces to dry. If I know I can't get to a log to rough turn it into bowls I cut it through the pith. Then I cut it into 4x4, 3x3,2x2 etc, as long as the log is. Sometimes I'll cut them into rectangles for small bowls such as 3" thick 6" wide and as long as the log.
If your bandsaw isn't that big rip the log into slabs with the chainsaw. It takes a lot longer but will let you cut the slab into 5 or 6" thick pieces that will fit even a small bandsaw.
I seal the ends with wax and put them on the floor of my shop to dry. I have a used electric skillet that I bought at the flea mkt. I keep parafin wax melted in it. I turned the thermostat up until if just melts the wax. That's a safe temperature. Then I taped it in this position. I dip the ends of the blanks in the wax.
I get very little checking and usually it's just an inch or so. I use these blanks for boxes, christmas ornaments and anything that needs dry wood.
If I really want a bowl or hollow vessel out of it and think I will get to it within 3 months or so I cut out the blank on the bandsaw and then coat the whole thing with wax. I've had blanks last as long as 6 months this way. a few check and I have to toss them but I would have had to anyway if I didn't coat them.
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-16-2010, 11:28 AM
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John,
you stole my idea! I thought melting wax in an old electric skillet was a novel (mine) idea. Got there too late, guess I can't patent that idea now (Long story). Seriously, I'm in 'jrflat's position and I value all the comments above on the subject. My question is where do you get your bulk wax from, at an economical price? Years ago I had a salesman friend that would get me 'samples' of block wax whenever I needed it.
Thanks
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-16-2010, 12:59 PM
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I just go to the store and buy canning wax. It's amazing how far it goes. At least until you drop a piece in. I was sealing a walnut blank with a bark edge. The bark came off and dropped the 10" blank flat side down into the wax. It splattered all over me. I had wax on my glasses, hanging off my mustache, and all over my shirt and pants. I never did figure out how to get it out of my clothes. It didn't burn me at all but scared the hell out of me.
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post #11 of 11 Old 02-17-2010, 10:19 PM
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wax purchase

I purchased 2- 10# slabs of candle wax that melts at 130-140 degrees at a craft store called Hobby Lobby. Check any craft store and see if they have any candle makers as customers they will carry the wax slabs.
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