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Is there anything special about a woodturning spindle blank?

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GarF

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I'm relatively new to this, so perhaps I'm missing something, or overthinking....

I understand that cross grain blanks for bowl turning need special preparation to reduce the risk of cracks forming while they sit on the shelf waiting to be used. But spindle blanks are presumably a different matter, having their long grain exposed more evenly.

The specialist woodturning suppliers all carry spindle blanks pre cut to shortish lengths which are priced accordingly. I'm just wondering if there's a sensible economy to be had by obtaining similar sections in longer lengths from regular timber merchants, the likes of Robbins etc? Or is there something special about the precut 'spindle' blanks? I'm thinking in particular about 50mm and 60mm thick maple or sycamore for a bunch of Christmas ornaments and perhaps having a go at a crushgrind.
Cheers
G
 

Dalboy

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There is nothing wrong with buying a long length from a merchant in the correct thickness for your needs. Just cut to length for the piece you are turning. The spindle blanks you buy from a woodturning supplier start out that way and you pay more as they have had to cut to length and seal the ends.
I get all of my turning blanks whether they are for bowls straight from the tree rather than going to a timber supplier or woodturning shop. OK, this does cut down the choice of the types of wood but am very happy with what we call homegrown. By doing this, however, means that I need to seal it after preparing the wood and storing it to dry out.
 

GarF

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Thanks, confirmed what I'd thought---the premium is for the convenience of having them crosscut and stored on their shelf. I've got a shelf of my own and a crosscut saw!
G
 

marcros

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There is also a premium for buying small quantities. I use a few 3" spindle blanks, and buying a full board if that would be expensive. Sometimes it makes sense to buy a couple of one and a couple of another etc for a fiver a piece instead.
 
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