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turning yew

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sawdustjon

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Is yew good for turning? After a lot of waste I managed to cut some usable timber from a 2x8 inch board. Finding dead wood in the middle of the spindles, I carried on. When I finished the chair legs they split as I was assembling my chair. Was this a case of buying bad timber or is yew not suitable for tuning. Please help! I am at my wits end, I am on the verge of giving it up and going back to using ash.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Yew is one of the most beautiful woods to turn, but you need straight grained stuff for any structural purpose. longbows were made of it for donkeys years, so it does grow straight!
 

Jonzjob

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I love turning yew. It turns like cream and has a lovely grain. As said, if you get any straight wood it is lovely for spindle work.

8 X 2? I could see a lovely platter in that, but seal it well. I would do so with celulose sanding sealer and melamine laqure and you have an entry for this months challenge..
 

gus3049

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I certainly hope so. I have a barn full of the stuff.

It is great for turning actually, the contrast between the heartwood and the sapwood can be really interesting. The main problem I have found is the the pith is VERY prone to cracking. make sure any green timber is well sealed or turn it very thin and pray.

A couple of mine which show the contrast.
 

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chipmunk

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Yew is very nice to turn but it is quite prone to heat checking, particularly end-grain, when sanding. So either sand lightly with sharp abrasive and/or wet-sand using wax or oil as a lubricant.

It's also prone to splitting/checking during seasoning and this may be where you had your problems. Small defects can go unnoticed and appear once an item is finished unfortunately.

Were your chair components small cross-sections?

...but as others have said it is worth persevering with.

Having said that though, straight grained ash will also look pretty darn good and won't give you the same issues with checking - Although kiln dried ash doesn't cut anywhere near as cleanly as yew or air-dried ash.

HTH
Jon
 

Graigmerched

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I have turned a lot of Yew and I like the fact it cracks, splits and warps. This is not a very good picture but this platter was about 30 inches long.
 

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sawdustjon

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Sorry for the delay with a reply, I have been away for a few days.
Thanks for the advise guys I will persevere with turning yew. On closer inspection there are a few small cracks in the board, I will take my time in future inspecting the wood more closely before I buy.
 
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