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drying pen blanks

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jonesbones

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hi has anybody tried drying wood for pen planks in a microwave Ive heard it is done but how long etc? or any other short cut? jonesbones
 

nev

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hi, i've tried it with yew branch that ive had knocking about for a few months . i 'defrost' for 5 minutes, remove, allow to cool, repeat. til i get no more steam. be warned though it does just start to split in the ends so i leave the blank an inch or so oversize so i can cut the ends off.
 

chipmunk

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As an alternative for drying such small sections, have you tried wrapping them in newspaper and sealing them in (a few layers) and putting them on a radiator?

I've been trying to dry holly without greying and even larger sections can be dried pretty effectively this way.
HTH
Jon
 

Tazmaniandevil

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I did some oak blanks last year. Put them in a freezer bag and left them next to a radiator. Turn the bag inside out every day until there is no condensation. Took about 5 weeks I think
 

Neil Farrer

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I've made a lot of pens and have needed to dry some blanks in a rush. I didn't have much success with the microwave, they were dry but very brittle but it could just have been the species I was using.

What I have done in the past is to cut the blank over length, drill it undersize and mount it between centres, deadcentre in the headstock and turn it down, bit like rough out a wet bowl and then leaving it for a couple of days. Job done.
 

davebrac

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I have used the microwave for pen blanks 1min on full power and left for two hours and continued till dry, l had the blanks in a paper bag.

Think the thing here is that each microwave and wood species seems to be different. Just make sure you do not dry them too fast or they will split
 

ian_in_the_midlands

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If like a bowl blank, it can smoulder from the inside if you get too carried away. Not visually obvious, but it stinks the kitchen out and you get into trouble,
 

jonesbones

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thanks for all the tips on drying pen blanks will give them a go . Jonesbones
 

CHJ

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Best way of all is time, while you are trying to speed up a few for immediate use, throw half a dozen other well figured pieces into a suitable open tray or box and keep topping up the stash whenever you have some off-cuts big enough (don't cut too small if green, some wet wood can move a great deal whilst drying) given a few months/years you will have that many options to use you will be able to sort through them and discard those that seemed a good idea at the time and find something to meet your current wants without having to worry about how dry they are. I find slow air dried is usualy less brittle and easier to turn.
 
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