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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have turned a few pens and and letter openers. But not anything to write home about yet. I watched a few yt videos on bowl turning and thought i would give it a try. I took a piece of cedar lumber and made a nice little bowl out of a 4" piece of 2x4, so i thought what the heck woodcraft has a four piece bowl blank package for $29.99. I got the first blank cut on the band saw and mounted on a faceplate. After getting the outside to the shape i wanted and sanded down smooth i flipped it over on the tennon and when i started hollowing it out the wood started to crack in multiple locations. Just wondering if i did something wrong. How are you supposed to use these blanks with wax covering them?
 

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I assume wax covered blanks are still green because we don't have any way to really know how wet they are. Typically on wet wood you would rough turn the bowl leaving it thick. Place it in a paper sack or some other way to keep air movement away from it. Then let it dry and warp. Then re-turn it.
You can find a lot of info on the web on turning green wood. That's where I would start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. I thought it might be green just wasnt sure. Figured the wax would seal in the moisture. How long should i leave it in a paper bag? When you rough the bowl do you just shape the outside or a little of the inside too?
 

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Thanks guys. I thought it might be green just wasnt sure. Figured the wax would seal in the moisture. How long should i leave it in a paper bag? When you rough the bowl do you just shape the outside or a little of the inside too?
Yes, hollow out the inside too, but leaving the walls quite thick.

The rule of thumb is to make the wall thickness 10% of the diameter at the rim -- so a 10" diameter bowl should be rough-turned to a 1" thick wall, etc.
 

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Know you're new to turning ----welcome to the vortex.
Feel your pain about the cedar. You'll find that wood cracks even when it's dry (I sure did), Dream to work with 'cuz it cuts so well and sands nicely. Other downside is that the color will change after a while too. I turn it occasionally(think I have some pics on here), but the scent gets old after a while. Much prefer mesquite & some other native species.
 

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Thanks dunc. These blanks are 6x6x3. Any idea how long they need to be kept in the paper bag to dry? Guess the wood type makes the difference on drying time huh.
As you say, it varies greatly from wood type to wood type -- not to mention the relative humidity and temperatures where you live.

My measurement method is simple: I have a digital scale and weigh the rough-turned bowls about once a month, recording the weight on the outside of the paper bag. When I get 3 consecutive identical readings, the piece has not lost any water in 2 months or more ... that's good enough for me.

(fwiw, some of mine have dried to equilibrium in 3 months, others have taken twice that.)
 

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Cedar is also a hard wood to dry without cracking. It just does that. For really problem woods I coat the end grain areas with Anchor seal or wax or even latex paint. Then put it a box or paper bag until it stops losing weight. Most woods will dry in the sack without the anchorseal. Some woods will dry quite nicely in the corner of the shop with anchorseal on the endgrain and no paper sack. You have to experiment for what works in your area of the world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
All great information thanks guys. Guess i will be filling up my shed with paper sacks this winter to see if i can have some good dry wood by the start to mid summer then. Here in TX i would think things will dry out a little quicker because of the lowish humidity and hot temp during the summer months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I do have another question seeing as though everyone is so helpful in here. When applying a CA finish to a couple of pens i have had the bushing stick to my finished piece and mess up the end. Any way to avoid this from happening in the future?
 

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I do have another question seeing as though everyone is so helpful in here. When applying a CA finish to a couple of pens i have had the bushing stick to my finished piece and mess up the end. Any way to avoid this from happening in the future?
After you get the bushing clean apply a liberal coat of wax to it. Then when using you tap the end and it should separate cleanly and you should sand the ends back flush to the tube so it will not crack the finish when seating the hardware in the tube.
 

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I do have another question seeing as though everyone is so helpful in here. When applying a CA finish to a couple of pens i have had the bushing stick to my finished piece and mess up the end. Any way to avoid this from happening in the future?
Yep, the best way I have found is to not use bushing when you finish. Use a cone dead center in the head stock and a cone live center in the tail stock. Finish and polish as usual. When you take it off the lathe, you will now have CA on the ends of the blank. For that, I flip the cutter head of my end mill over with a little piece of sandpaper and sand the ends flat and true again.
 
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