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Drying bowls, a miracle?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Emiliano Achaval, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Just got my Woodturners catalogue, the latest edition. I believe we might have a miracle product, I might have to call my Argentinian old friend, he's the Pope now, and tell him miracles are happening in the USA.
    A new product : Tree Saver Green Woodsealer. They claim a near 0 failure rate, even in Utah!!
    How to dry bowls without cracking is probably the most asked question by new turners. If this product is as good as they claim, we have a billionaire in the making!! As you can see, I'm very skeptical. Would like to hear from anybody that has used it.
     
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It's just Anchorseal that has been repackaged in small quantities and the price adjusted commensurate with its miracle status.
     
  3. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    The preachers around here would simply tell you how to heal the cracks. :) Drying bowls is hit or miss with me. I will have a ton of success and then the piece you really are excited about will crack, even though you've dried that kind of wood many time before. I just figure losing one is part of the game and may be there just to humble us.
     
  4. odie

    odie

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    Actually, there does seem to be a slight difference in the formula for this "miracle" solution.....and, the difference is "PVA", which stands for polyvinal acetate.

    This PVA substance seems to be similar to.....Elmer's glue.

    If it allows a 50% reduction in seasoning time for roughed bowls over wax based sealers.......there is no magic here. It simply allows moisture to be released at a quicker rate than plain ol' anchorseal! o_O......which common sense tells you it's not as efficient as anchorseal.

    There is no secret to a high success rate in seasoning roughed bowls.......it's simply a matter of extending the drying time to a very slow rate, which is what anchorseal does. Many turners bend over backwards trying to get their bowl on the lathe as quickly as possible, but there really isn't anything more successful than extending the time element in the seasoning process. Slooooow is what works! Patience, my friends!.....:D.....Some of my roughed bowls take up to a year to season properly, and I have a very high success rate......somewhere around 99%, I'd say. I use anchorseal at 100% coverage.

    -----odie-----
     
  5. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Successful drying is a function of wood condition, size, grain orientation, shape, wall thickness and controlling the moisture loss. Controlling the drying loss involves ambient conditions around the turning as well as any treatment applied to the wood.

    I dislike using anchor seal to control moisture loss because it is messy and takes longer than paper bags.

    If you turn thick uneven walls with right angle curves miracles help! :)

    You can dry shapes at 7” diameters that will rarely dry successfully at 15” diameters.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  6. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Once you rough turn a number of bowls and make it past the 1st year or two 99% of wood turners
    will have plenty of dry bowls on the rack waiting to be turned and finished. If the new turner wants
    to finish a few bowls the first year in they can always make segmented bowls or laminate kiln dried
    lumber and make any sized piece they want. Speeding the green wood process is a lot of effort which
    can be better applied towards other projects the first year.

    Sourcing local wood
    Processing fresh wood into blanks
    Building jigs for the lathe
    Building a steady rest for bowl turning
    Building a Longworth chuck for bowl finishing
    Building a cole chuck for bowl finishing
    Build sanding discs for the lathe
    Build a threading jig for boxes
    Turning glue blocks
    Threading glue blocks
    Etc. Etc. Etc.
     
    hockenbery likes this.
  7. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Excellent point Mike. I probably spent the first 5 years building up dry wood for my projects. It wasn't until I moved to Cookeville and Met Joe Looper that I started turning Greenwood. I had seen David Ellsworths article in Fine woodworking but didn't think hollow forms were for me. I also didn't own a chainsaw or a bandsaw that had enough size to cut things like that. I didn't know about smaller projects like all the boxes and ornaments that I now make.
     
  8. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    You live in Florida which i would guess is more humid than most places. I tried paper bags with disappointing results, but Anchorseal has worked fine. What works is a function of where you live. Kelly Dunn who lives in Hawaii says that wood would never dry if he didn't use a kiln.
     
    Emiliano Achaval and odie like this.
  9. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I grew up in FL, go Gators

    Moved to Md in 1971, got my first lathe in 1975, got serious about turning in 1987, moved back to FL in 2004.
    I used anchor seal until around 2000 when a club member Introduced me to the paper bag method. Tried it, never used anchor seal again on rough outs. Maryland is humid from late spring to early fall. As atmospheric moisture increases most places will see an increase of humid days in year. This is good for turners bad if you don’t like floods.

    Paper bags are not good for production or large runs of bowls because of time to swap bags and perhaps requiring a bit more shelf space. I have done mostly HF and NE bowls since 1998.
     
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  10. odie

    odie

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    Would like to see Emiliano comment about this.......

    Emiliano, if you aren't using a kiln, how do you know your roughed bowls are stabilized? How would you know how your bowls would react to being transferred to one of the mainland states?

    -----odie-----
     
  11. odie

    odie

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    I've concluded similarly, Bill.......

    It's been a long time since I tried paper bags, chips, experimenting with storage techniques, etc.....but, I had very limited success back then. These days, I store up about 5-8' above floor level, and completely seal with anchorseal......it's been working very nicely for me, but......I've never lived anywhere else but MT, for the past 37 years. It could be that someone who lives elsewhere won't have the same success that I've had, doing it the way I do it.....

    I weigh monthly, and when I get 3-4 months of stable weights, I consider it seasoned, and ready to turn. Sometimes, they go into storage, and aren't turned for an extended time after that......which can only make the process better.

    -----odie-----
     
    Craig Steele likes this.
  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    That's one of the reasons that Kelly says that he uses a kiln. What's air dried and stable in his climate has cracked when delivered to a customer in one of the arid western states. Not good for business he says so he had to do something to get the wood drier.
     
  13. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    How dry wood will get is directly related to its environment’s temperature and relative humidity. The table below is from the hardwood handbook. You can find many similar references.

    If you air dry wood at 70 degrees in a room with RH off 60% it will dry to 11% MC and GET NO DRYER in that environmnt. If you finish that bowl and put it in a room at 80 degrees with an RH of 30% it will if the finish permits dry to 6.1%. It could crack. Or warp.

    16B8E150-1041-4445-872F-F2FC07FEA856.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  14. tdrice

    tdrice

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    I lived in eastern Colorado where the daytime humidity was usually around 10%. I could rough turn a 20 in. bowl to 2" thick, put in a paper bag and have the weight stabilize in 4 to 6 weeks. For health reasons I moved to western Oregon last January. (way West; A 300 yard walk further West would put me in the Pacific.) The daytime humidity here is often 90%. I have a slight adjustment to make.
     
    Emiliano Achaval likes this.
  15. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I do have a kiln, a glass door flower lei display refrigerator converted Cindy Drozda style. I only use it for my boxes. I sell a lot of my things to the mainland, have not have a problem with things breaking yet. My prices are probably 1/3 of what Kelly Dunn charges. So if something breaks I can promise a refund or a piece of similar artwork. Just a few days ago, the gallery called me. I have a $500 Kou puahala calabash. The guy from Arizona wanted to know if the Kou was going to crack in the desert... I let my rough turned bowls sit for a minimum of 6 months on shelves in the shop. Some sit there for years, lol Since I turn so much, I gave up on finding a miracle solution. I do not use any method, on the shelve they go, if they make it good, if not, I have a deep gulch behind the house... I have a close to 99% success rate. The failures are probably my fault for pushing it, crotches with too many end grain areas etc... The only time I measure MC is when a client picks something out of the shelve to see how much longer it might need. 12.4 is bone dry here. The only thing I use is Cedar Oil, I'm on my last gallon!! After this we are out of this juice for ever. The last Milo pieces, are all green turned, I soak them in cedar oil , there is less warping and no cracking, in a few days I finish them... Aloha!
     
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  16. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Very tricky to do that, I have tried it with poor results.... I rather take my chances sending it...
     
  17. Chuck Scott

    Chuck Scott

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    Emiliano, do you have any images of your glass door kiln?

    I have a Marvel wine cooler/refrigerator that I’d like to convert to a kiln?

    Any drawings or plans would be very helpful. Or if you watched a video, a link to that video would be great too!

    Thank you,

    Chuck
     
  18. Donovan Bailey

    Donovan Bailey

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    Thanks Emiliano. Cedar oil...I don't think that I have ever touched the substance but I sure am going to do so now. I've been turning for years but I seem to snag a new technique or method on a regular basis here on the forum...and it sure does bring a little fun to the game. The king of all cracked wood is Eastern Red Cedar...and it is going to be my first cedar oil experiment.
     
  19. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I can take some pictures and post them later. Aloha
     
  20. Paul M. Kaplowitz

    Paul M. Kaplowitz

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    Some years ago Anchorseal changed it's formula to make it more environment friendly. I started getting cracks. I had a long conversation with the folks at UC Coatings and they swore nothing had changed. What I finally figured out was that if I double coated the bowls, putting the second coat on before the first coat dryed( 5 minutes) I would eliminate the cracking. I let the Anchorseal dry, weigh each bowl and put a paper with the weight and date in the bowl. At 6 to 8 months I weigh the bowls every month until there is no drop in weight. I finish them and have never had a crack after this process. Two problems I have noticed in the way new turners handle green wood. They don't seal the logs or green blanks fast enough and so start out with cracks and the second is that the walls of their bowls are not uniform in thickness.
     
    John Jordan likes this.
  21. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    About ten years ago I read Steve Russell's white paper on boiling - he boiled several thousand and documented the results.
    • His basic formula was 1-hour per inch thickness.
    • The cracking is dramatically reduced
    • the warping is unchanged
    • After boiling for an hour or so, let the water completely cool before removing
    • Then dry - the fully saturated to 20% MC is the delicate part - put in a sealed cardboard box until lower than 20%
    • After that, you can be more aggressive.
    Earlier this year a tornado damaged a bunch of homes in Dallas. I very large red oak was destroyed - it was planted at the time of their son's bar mitzvah. I don't like oak, don't do oak and maybe a bit scared of oak - but how could I refuse. I turned a 22-1/2" dia hollowform with 1-1/2" thickness and then boiled for 3-hours. It went into a very sealed cardboard box with a computer fan on top of some 2" PVC exhausting the inside air into the sealed box 24/7.. Air circulating in a sealed environment works great. I looked at it for the first time in about 4-months - along the grain is still 22-1/2" and across the grain is a bit under 21" - only two minor cracks in the end-grain areas that may turn out.
    It will be down to under 20% in September at which time I'll take it out of the box - the drying room in my shop has a dehumidifier going 24/7
    Should be ready to final turn late November and deliver mid December.
     
  22. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I had a busy day, I had another IRD. Yesterday one to 5 clubs in England, today to the Mount Vernon Woodturners. I did not forget to take some pictures for you. I have 2 holes below, I made them with a 2 in circular sawtooth and one hole on the top on the other side. I can control the size of the holes with a simple cover with a screw, I just rotate it for more or less air.
     

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  23. Chuck Scott

    Chuck Scott

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    Wonderful! Do you have an idea as to drying time from when a piece goes in to when it's ready or dry?

    Just trying to weigh the benefit on a home made kiln vs. natural air drying?

    Thank you for the images.
     
  24. Dean

    Dean

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    I use the tree saver cut with water about 40-50%. I coat the in entire bowl and stack them up with stickers and wait about 9-12 months I put one good coat on them. I have a pretty good success rate. Bark inclusions and some crotch associated cracks are generally what constitute the losses which are somewhat expected. I Live in central Texas. As Odie mentioned patients is key. I am currently turning what I put up last year and rough turning what I will turn next year. I am running a bunch of mesquite right now and I think I just picked up a large walnut, this is a poor time of the year to be processing green wood but I cant choose when I get the opportunities so getting them turned, cored and sealed has to happen at a good pace. I do not have the room to let the logs set till winter. This happens a lot because of the spring storms bring trees down so this is when I get most of my wood. I used to use anchorseal but I think they changed it a few years ago and and I had a few failures. So I went on a hunt for something new. Found the tree saver and I have been very happy with it. Mike Mahoney told me to thin it with water by 50%, after using the product a while I thin is a little less than 50 and it works great for me. If the rough turn bowl is clean I have very very few failures
     
  25. DON FRANK

    DON FRANK

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    A question for Dean in Waco. With the tree saver product, what's the difference in performance between using it straight or thinning it 50%? I was not aware of the product until you mentioned it.
     
  26. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    When talking to any expert on wood drying they will tell you that the MC when removed from the kiln will not last because the wood begins to take on or lose moisture as soon as it leaves the kiln. I know this is true because I weight each rough turned piece when it is put into the drying area and mark it with a date and weight, then the next day weigh again and as the weight lose diminishes spread the time between weighings. The area that I live in has long cold winters such that the heated areas like my heated shop get very dry so if a rough turning is weighed in the early spring then by August it has taken on moisture and is heavier. Another thing to be aware of is the fact that very few finishes will stop the acclimatization of wood, the darn stuff always wants to adjust to it's surroundings.
     
  27. Dean

    Dean

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    Don, sorry for the delay. I thin it because it is not needed full thickness to work and I’m cheap so it reduces the cost somewhat. It also paints on better
     
  28. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I can cut the drying time to more than half. I built the kiln for my blanks that I use in my boxes with hand chased threads. It is critical to have the wood completely dry. I turn too many bowls to worry about drying them. I have used the kiln to dry urns, people want the urns today, so I have to rush the drying. Nothing beats the success I have of drying in the racks all over my shop and my shed area. It takes longer, but I have an almost 100% success rate.
     
  29. Craig Steele

    Craig Steele

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    I built my kiln from a free old upright freezer (appliance store). It has shelves. There’s a chase in the back from top to bottom where I installed a fan from a dead microwave oven. A 100 W bulb provides the heat, and it’s only on when temp drops below thermostat setting (105F). Bored holes top and bottom w 2” hole saw. Seems to work, usually quit in about a month.
     
  30. Chuck Scott

    Chuck Scott

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    Any thoughts on adding more intake or exhaust holes, if so, where would you suggest they be drilled in the kiln?

    The idea is to have natural air move inside the kiln and as the heated air rises it will escape from above and out the exhaust holes.

    The air will be heated by the seed start mat that is on the floor of the kiln, the wood will not be placed directly on the mat (as it is in the photo).

    Any input on a good thermometer/hygrometer combo would be appreciated too.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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