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Can you really turn complete logs?

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graduate_owner

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Hi everyone,
I have read several forum entries about people putting complete logs on the lathe and turning vases etc. from them. I have had a lathe for over 20 years but am only now (having retired) managing to put in some time at turning, so I'm nowhere near an expert (not even a competent turner yet) However I always thought that you couldn't just put a log on the lathe because the sapwood, heartwood etc would cause it to split badly. I have quite a large quantity of 'firewood' in the form of logs, from about 5" diameter up to about 15", and some as long as 5 foot. Some of this will indeed go on the woodburning stove, but I would like to turn some of the better stuff. I have seen youtube videos of people chain sawing logs in half vertically, then bandsawing disks from the halves before mounting on the lathe, and I thought this was what had to be done. However it would be very convenient just to mount then on the lathe and turn away.

So, complete logs or chainsawn sections? Anybody have any advice?

Many thanks

K
 

duncanh

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I've turned complete logs plenty of times and it usually works ok for me. I sometimes get the odd crack coming from the pith but these are usually filled with CA glue and with luck they don't increase in size. Sometimes I've had them split more and the piece had to be thrown away.
To minimise the chance of spliiting turn to a uniform thickness for the walls and base. Once finished I usually leave any finished items in the shed for a while before bringing inside the house.

I also sometimes chainsaw in half before turning and this does minimise the chance of a split
 

Grahamshed

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If you read a few more of those posts you will realise that logwood does not 'split' on the lathe. It produces 'design features' :)
 

KimG

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Stating the obvious, having a lathe and chuck well capable of securely holding and safely spinning such a log is of course a must, considerably larger leverage forces at work compared to a bowl.
 
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