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Interesting question-- no right or wrong answer. There've been more than a few queries about that on the forum. Have you tried a thread search?
Other than that, it depends on what you want to do. A lot of turners will turn green wood to a point then let it dry, to finish turn later once moisture levels have equilibrated. Others prefer to turn when the moisture level is whatever the ambient level happens to be, so things can be done at one session.
 
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I've turned about a dozen pepper mills. The ones that were made from kiln dried wood or wood with moisture content similar to kiln dried turned out well. The ones that were wetter cracked or distorted.
 

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Never really worried about it much. When I find a log I let nature work on it for a while then I try to cut the pith out of it before it causes cracking. I've only had a few pieces crack the rest have been fine. I think area/environment/type of wood is the key. Everyone has a different way of getting the raw blocks ready, I don't believe there is an exact science for all wood. IMO a person could probably put themselves into the nut house worrying about it too much :eek: :laughing:
 

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What should the % of moisture in wood be for proper turning ?
Not an easy question to answer. No single answer. Too many variables.

Is your wood green or dry?
Is the wood blanks covered in wax?
How long has the wood been in your shop?
Where do you live? Relative humidity varies a great deal between locations.
What is the season? Relative humidity also varies a great deal between the seasons.
Are you turning spindles or bowls? A big bowl blank takes a long time for moisture change.

If the wood is green you need to twice turn, once to rough shape, put aside and allow to stop loosing moisture. Weighing is the best method to determine when the wood stops loosing moisture. You can then turn to final shape.

If the wood is dry and has been in your shop for several months then you may be able to turn. Depends on the size of the wood. When in doubt, leave the wood longer before turning.
 

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Assuming you are talking about final turning, it should be close to equilibrium for your area. For thoses who take a weight it is when the item weighs the same for several weeks. I use a moisture meter and locally (Charlotte, NC area) I turn once it reaches 15% or less.
Equilibrium here is 12-14%.
Here is a link to equilbrium by major cities; starts on page seven (by the pdf).
http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplrn/fplrn268.pdf
Indoor is typically less than the above outdoor but my shop is basically outdoor. The only way for me to make it less by a couple of percentage is bring it inside for a few weeks prior to the final turning.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for feed back.

:smile:
Assuming you are talking about final turning, it should be close to equilibrium for your area. For thoses who take a weight it is when the item weighs the same for several weeks. I use a moisture meter and locally (Charlotte, NC area) I turn once it reaches 15% or less.
Equilibrium here is 12-14%.
Here is a link to equilbrium by major cities; starts on page seven (by the pdf).
http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplrn/fplrn268.pdf
Indoor is typically less than the above outdoor but my shop is basically outdoor. The only way for me to make it less by a couple of percentage is bring it inside for a few weeks prior to the final turning.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have a new moisture meter. I have heard that green wood should be dried a year for ever inch plus a year ! There are a lot of different conditions that would change this idea. I mostly only work on small items.
I have dried some in the micro ! The wife does not like this !
I have worked on Apple, maple, apricot & Cherry from my yard.
Mostly interested to what the reading should be on the new meter, when ready to turn. I would have dried and cut into small pieces before final testing. I live in the dry side of Washington State (Eastern) side.
Thanks to all the information.
 

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It depends on what you want. I have true a popular bowl from a tree cut down the day before. And it can be turned to final size at this time. However, you need to put it up where it will not get direct air flow for several months. It is best to weigh it after turning and then continue to check its weight until it stabilizes. It will warp on you as it dries but it can make a nice bowl.
Tom
 
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