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Wet yew

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duncanh

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My dad was just walking though his village and they were sawing up the old yew tree from the church. He gave them a donation and I'm now the happy owner of enough freshly cut yew to fill the back of a small van :D

It's going to take me a while to turn it so what's the best way to store it?
Previously I've just painted diluted pva on the ends and laid logs flat - is this the correct orientation?
I have some storage space in my old shed but probably not enough, so would I be better keeping it outside on top of a palette and covered with a polythene sheet?
How long have I got before I need to paint the ends?

And how well does wet yew turn (it's very wet)?

Thanks

Duncan
 

Taffy Turner

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Duncan,

First of all - you lucky blighter!!! Yew is one of my favourite woods for turning, but it is becoming increasingly hard to come by, and therefore expensive!

In my experience, Yew is VERY prone to end checking, so leave the logs in as long lengths as possible.

Get the PVA on the ends as soon as you possible can. If the wood is as wet as you say it is, even a week might be too long, as they may already start to split, and once the splitting starts you are all but done for!

As for the orientation of the logs, I don't think that it is critical for Yew - horizontal should be fine.

For the ones that don't fit in your shed, outside on a palette should be OK, although not ideal. Try and make sure that the sun can't get at it, otherwise you will end up with a load of pretty coloured firewood. Also, try and arrange the polythene sheet so that air can circulate around the logs if possible.

If you have any large diameter pieces, it might be a wise precaution to split them down the middle lengthways, as this will eliminate most of the stress by allowing them to deform how they want to, rather than splitting.

Even if you follow all the precautions, you can still expect to lose a fair proprtion of the wood to checking - it is that kind of wood I'm afraid.

I have not tried turning wet Yew, so I can't help you on that score, although dry Yew normally is a joy to turn, unless you are trying to cut into end grain, in which case you need to grit your teeth and hang on tight. End grain hollowing should be much easier if the wood is still wet.

Good luck!

Regards

Gary
 

duncanh

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thanks for the reply.
There was also a cherry burr waiting for me when I went to pick up the yew. It's also wet. How's it best to handle this - turn it wet or try to keep it until dry? It's about 20cm in diameter and 40cm long.

Duncan
 

geoff_tulip

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i agree - for yew logs the best thing to do is seal the ends and store in a dry place out of the sun - if this means under a tarp outside that is fine - but set the logs up off the ground to prevent them rotting away if you dont get back to them it time. again for the bigger stuff split in half if you can and get rid of the pith to prevent splitting. yew generally splits like all woods with a coloured heartwood becasue of the tensions creatde by the two different types of wood in the saem log. you may find that yew will start to split from the outside in because of this tension but once the splits have reached the heartwood it may stop again. if your logs are mostly heartwood the losses are minimal around the rim but if a large % is sapwood then splits can be much deeper. it is a beautiful wood to turn and you are lucky to have such a find. as for your cherry burr - cherry is an awful wood to dry from green and losses become much higher. with a burr however the grain is multidirectional and there is often natural features that will aborb the tensions created in drying. seal the cut face and leave for a while before turning - if you turn when too fresh it can lead to splitting.

good luck
 
A

Anonymous

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Duncan
Do try a bit of the wet... I'd recommend choosing a piece about 40mm dia... and turn a mushroom! Finish with something like Chestnut's melamine.

If the stem is fairly thin ... and distorts, this can often give a 'natural. look to the piece.

It worked for me...
 

DKMWT

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Hi Duncan
I've veen advised by people from my wood tunring club to rough turn it to about an inch thick with a chucking point on the inside. Then coat it watered down pva wrap it in newspaper put it in a carrier bag and leave it for as long as you can before you finish it. Although I haven't treid it I hear a lot of people talking about it so it must work.

Cheers Donald
 

duncanh

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Here's the first turning from the yew

click image for a larger version

It's 16.5cm tall, 10.5cm wide. Walls are 3mm thick and almost uniform.

The tree had only been down about 2 weeks when I made this and the sap was flying as I turned it. The wood cut very easily with ribbons many metres long flying over my shoulder. Hollowing was done with the Monro tool and went very smoothly. A small amount of shear scraping was needed and I used the Sorby tool fitted with a Crown teardrop cutter (it's much thicker than the Sorby one, is easier to sharpen and they come in several shapes).
I used a technique I saw Jimmy Clewes demonstrate for sanding - spray the outside with meths and set it alight whilst turning the piece slowly by hand. This drys the outer surface of the wood enough not to clog the abrasive and worked a lot better than the wet sanding I tried.

Whilst working I used a bright light occaisionally inside to check wall thickness consistency. This worked well untill I got to the heart wood which didn't allow light through it.

The finish so far is one coat of Danish oil.

I'm not completely happy with the shape (the transition from wide to narrow isn't completely smooth), but it's a good start. The log I used was slightly off centre at the base but not quite enough so the pith ended up in the base (will have to see how it continues to dry) and there's not quite enough of the heartwood showing.
 

woodbutcher1

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Brilliant turning, well done. I have some yew in storage, will be turning something like yours, thanks for the idea.

I have always stored my wet wood with wax on the ends, it has stopped the end cracks.

Cheers Woodie :wink:
 

treefella83

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yew can be a very funny wood to work with .
i think it is the missing link a sort of in between a hard wood and soft wood.
freshly cut branches of yew must have the end grain treated or it will start to check .
a yew tree grows under a lot of strain for some reason and it wants to release it all when drying out
any way a very nice timber to have on the lathe.
good luck
 
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