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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I may have lied, there could be more questions.

I started to turn a 3-1/2" by 3-1/2" blank and basically got it to round when I discovered it was wet. I had some surface checking, but I think most of it will be removed when I shape to final size. I'm giving it the microwave treatment and wondering if I could speed up drying or make it dry more evenly by drilling a hole through the middle. The hole would normally be 1-1/16", so I'd make it something like 7/8" so I could re-drill it if it warped. Is this a good idea, or a bad one?
 

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Microwaves have a difficult time to penetrate through wood, so hollowing out the centre should allow microwaves to get to the centre faster/easier.

Bigger hole may be better than smaller hole.
 

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OK, I may have lied, there could be more questions.

I started to turn a 3-1/2" by 3-1/2" blank and basically got it to round when I discovered it was wet. I had some surface checking, but I think most of it will be removed when I shape to final size. I'm giving it the microwave treatment and wondering if I could speed up drying or make it dry more evenly by drilling a hole through the middle. The hole would normally be 1-1/16", so I'd make it something like 7/8" so I could re-drill it if it warped. Is this a good idea, or a bad one?
Try to dry as is in the micro wave and coat the complete piece of wood. If you predrill to 7/8 and your final bit is a forstner bit you will not be able to make your final bore. No place for the bit to keep on center. If both bits are twist drill than it is OK. I would nuke it 3 to 4 time a day at 1/2 power no longer than 45 sec. put it some place where air will circulate around the wood. rest it on two pieces of 1/2 X 1/2 sleepers. Get a good postage scale up to 10lbs. Weigh once per day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, guys. Bigger hole makes sense, I was only thinking smaller hole, so I had more leeway to make the hole round again if it got badly out of round from drying. Also, I've never had issues starting a forstner bit without wood for the center spur to engage. In fact, when making my peppermills, I drill the 1-1/16 through hole first, then drill the larger holes afterward bacause I get better chip clearance. Is this something that shouldn't have worked?
 

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Also, I've never had issues starting a forstner bit without wood for the center spur to engage. In fact, when making my peppermills, I drill the 1-1/16 through hole first, then drill the larger holes afterward bacause I get better chip clearance. Is this something that shouldn't have worked?
I do the same with pepper mills, flower vases. Start with smaller diameter bit, then larger. I do use a steady rest on the mill blank. Between the steady rest and the tailstock holding the chuck and bit, it is not a problem for the larger dia Forstnet bit to start to cut. Once it has made the initial cut, it is using its own circumference as the cutting guide.
 

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Just my 2 cents if it was me I would seal the end grain and set it some cool dry place for about 6 months to a year, let it dry naturely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
When to convert a turning blank to heat?

Looks like I should have heeded Lilty's advice. After drilling the hole through the middle, a crack that was originally just on the outside has gone all the way through. It doesn't go end-to-end (yet) and I could fill it with epoxy if I could ever get the thing dry, but I'm wondering..... how far should I go before sending this thing to the kindling pile?
 

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Sometimes the wood cracks when drying. If you had sealed the ends, it would not have dried.

It is possible the crack was due to fast drying, or it was a weak point in the grain a small crack, and it just got worse.

If this is otherwise a nice piece of wood, it may be worth trying to salvage. If it is nothing special, still may be worth trying to salvage, for the experience so you are more comfortable gluing future pieces.

The key for me is whether the crack is stable. I would attempt to glue if the crack will not widen. If the crack is going to widen, the glue will likely fail.
 
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