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Buying timber blanks off eBay auctions

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Cutting Crew

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Hello All,

A word of warning about buying turning blanks through eBay auctions.

I recently bought three blanks from a seller who described a piece of spalted beech as "Superb", when I tried to turn it I found it was almost totally decayed and in very poor condition. A second blank was elm and again described as "Classy" this had a split in the main body that would have made it very risky to turn.

I know as a professional turner that buying timber can be difficult and, if I fight hard enough I may get my money back, but please be aware some of the timber blanks on eBay are at the best, suspect.

Regards....Mike Swain RPT
 
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I've just bought some burrs(oak and lime )from a sawmill in N.Yorks.I thought they were a tad expensive at £5 each but I have no experience of buying burrs.I also bought a 2" thick plank of cherry for a tenner, it turns beautifully.
 

mudman

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Mike,

Bad luck on the wood.
I've looked at some of the eBay auctions but only once had the nerve to chance my cash on it. Never too happy that you can't have a good look before buying.
Trouble with eBay is that you have to take the word of the seller and his idea of 'superb' can be completely different to yours. I found this with the Stanley 5 1/2 I bought. Then when you give them some bad feedback, they get all nasty and give you tit-for-tat bad feedback in return. :evil:

I did open up the bags I've put some beech logs into to see what's been happening last weekend and it looks like I've got some nice spalting going on. All free wood I picked up from some thinnings left by the side of the road. Probably about time I cut some blanks from one to see how it turns out. Only trouble is that my workshop is currently full of plasterboard, architrave, skirting board and some odd items of bedroom furniture so can't even get to the lathe at the moment. Not even been able to try out the RS2000 yet. :x

Oh well, maybe this weekend. :?
 

Taffy Turner

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I have just gotten hold of some spalted beech. My neighbour has a huge beech tree, and a couple of years ago a branch (about 3' diameter) came down in a storm.

I harvested some of the smaller limbs straight away, and have been using them since. Some are lightly spalted, and some are just "marbled".

I went back last weekend to have a look at the big stuff which has been laying stacked outside on the ground for nearly two years now.

I now have about 100 kg of large chunks of superbly spalted timber drying in my workshop (dehumidifier going flat out). Obviously some of it is a bit rotten, but most of it seems fine - but I guess I won't find out until I try turning it. Fingers crossed! :?

Must remember to remove any wildlife before starting the lathe - being hit in the face by a high - speed slug isn't a pleasant experience!!!! :shock: (I speak from exoerience). :cry:
 

Taffy Turner

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Chris,

Thanks for the advice. As I am asthmatic, I never do any turning whatsoever without a face mask.

I made a candlestick a couple of months ago from pau amarello, which is not normally considered to be a high risk wood, but it gave me a nasty rash on my arms, and caused my chest to tighten even through a respirator.

I am saving up my pennies for a Trend Airshield helmet, which hopefully will avoid the problems I get with my safety glasses steaming up when wearing a traditional style mask.
 
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