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Wet turning

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Johnboy

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I was given a couple of branches off some trees at the weekend so have made my first attempt at turning unseasoned wood.

The branch with the completed turning.


A closer view


I don't know if it will distort much as it dries out. I finished it with a coat of cellulose sanding sealer then a coat of wax.

Anyone know what the timber is?

John
 

ike

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John,

Not sure what timber it is, but thats a pretty piece. One day, I hope to get into woodturning. I've had a go before on a friends lathe and really enjoyed practicing, making thimbles out of logs likes yours! - until he moved house and it's been crated up ever since in his garden shed, waiting for a workshop to be built.

cheers

Ike
 

Philly

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Be careful finishing a piece too early if the timber is wet. I've had problems with the finish clouding because the timber wasn't dry enough when I finished it.
A week or two makes all the difference.
hope this is of help
Philly :D
 

ike

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John,

I was browsing and saw this. Has anyone tried it?
 

ike

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Further delving found:

Active ingredient PEG (polyethylene glycol - as in antifreeze). Also available from here as "Wood Stabiliser-Pentaceyl"
 

Johnboy

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Well it did more than distort it split!


I turned a small bowl out of the same timber leaving some natural edge. As the side view shows this has distorted a lot. The base and top were parallel when I turned it.



I turned another bowl yesterday and I have left this unfinished at the moment. The wet wood turns really easily but you have to make sure you clean up the lathe and tools afterwards to prevent rust. This could become addictive.


John
 

Chris Knight

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Johnboy":1bc3uuyh said:
The wet wood turns really easily but you have to make sure you clean up the lathe and tools afterwards to prevent rust.
I was once ripping green oak with a handsaw that I left lying on the plank whilst I went out for two or three hours. When I came back the saw had rusted and pitted so badly I had to chuck it away!
 

Taffy Turner

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I was afraid that it might split, but I didn't like to say anything before, as I didn't want to worry you, and you may have got away with it. :( It is a shame it split, as it was a nice piece.

Generally speaking, green wood is only any good for making thin walled items. That way, as the wood distorts as it dries, it relieves the stress by moving. If you leave it too thick, then it can't move, and so splits.

By the way, the wood is almost certainly Yew - one of my favourite woods to turn, and quite difficult to get hold of these days in large diameter logs. Yew is a very nice wood to turn when dry as well as wet. I have a couple of pieces under my bench that I got from a tree surgeon who was cutting down a Yew tree in a local churchyard. I have been waiting patiently for it to dry - it has been a couple of years now, so I might have a go at it soon. To be honest, I am not keen on turning wet wood because of the mess, and the fact that you can't predict how much distortion is going to occur. I prefer my items to stay more or less the same shape as when I made them. :)
 

Johnboy

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Hi Taffy, It doesn't bother me much that it split, all part of the learning process. I enjoy turning the wet wood, the shavings fly over your shoulder in a continious ribbon. Makes me feel like I actually know what I am doing!! Amazing just how much water there is in the wood. When I cranked the speed up water was spraying out and I now have a stripe up the wall behind the lathe. I have turned the bowls with much thinner walls and so far they are OK, distorted but no splits.

Just noticed this is my 100th post. Time flies.

John
 
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Ike - I haven't tried PEG but I believe it can cause the wood to discolour

John - have you heard about using a microwave oven to dry green wood? There are articles on the internet that describe the process, but the basic idea is that you give the turning repeated short bursts of drying in the oven. If you weigh it at the start and after each cycle you will know it is dry when it doesn't lose any more weight.

I haven't tried it but it sounds like it might be a way to have the best of both worlds

Wulf
 

Philly

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Hi All,
I have tried the microwave method on small turnings with mixed results...
The important thing is to have a uniform thickness of the sides, and dont use the pith of the tree or that is a guaranteed split.
regards
Philly :D
 

Cutting Crew

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Hi Philly,

As I mainly use large branchwood, the majority of my closed forms and vases have the pith in, none have split. I use sycamore, ash, holly and most native woods.

If the piece is cut thin enough, very little distortion occurs and virtually no splitting around the pith. When microwave drying I only leave the work in for 10 to 20 seconds at a time, allow to cool and then repeat to reach the moisture content I looking for.

The only problem for me with the microwave drying method is the restriction on the size I can put in there, round about 9" tall.

Regards....Mike
 

Johnboy

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Hmm, I think the main restriction on what I could put in the micrwave would be SWMBO!!

I'm glad you answered Mike as the branches I have are fairly small and to turn anything out of them I will have to include the pith. I turned the most recent one as thin as I could and so far no splits. I presume the microwaving is done after the piece is turned.

John
 

Cutting Crew

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Hi Johnboy,

I prefer microwaving after I've turned to the finished size and thickness but you can rough turn, leaving the walls much thicker, then microwave and finish to the final size.

Whichever way you do it, turn thin or rough turn, you must leave the walls an even thickness all round including the base area.

If you keep a close watch on the pitch area as you're drying the piece and looks as though it may split, give it a liberal dose of super glue.

Regards....Mike
 

Hans

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Cutting Crew":3j8dal3x said:
When microwave drying I only leave the work in for 10 to 20 seconds at a time, allow to cool and then repeat to reach the moisture content I looking for.
Mike,

How do you determine the moisture content? Meter or weighing?

Hans
 

Cutting Crew

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Hello Hans,

I constantly weigh the pieces throughout the drying process, when the weight has stabilised I then finish by hand sanding, draw the design if I'm piercing or add colour, sealer and final top coats.

The only moisture meter I have has twin prongs and as these need to go well into the surface they would cause damage to the work.

Regards....Mike
 
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