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drying green wood turned bowls in Silica Desiccant beads?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Breck Whitworth, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

    Jul 10, 2017
    Location (City & State):
    Invermere, British Columbia
    That means that anchor seal is sure doing it’s job!
  2. Breck Whitworth

    Breck Whitworth Sharp Dressed Woodturner

    Nov 1, 2013
    Location (City & State):
    Gulfport, MS
    Home Page:
    That is for sure, my normal way of slowing down the drying time for bowls using original formula anchor seal gives me about a 96% success rate from fatal cracks. The time tested slow drying works so well, I have no problem with it at all. The only reason I even tried the beads is because of those times after an art festival or a special Holliday where I've sold most of my inventory and need a few in a hurry lest I loose a sale or two. Some customers will wait the necessary months, but most want something for a gift now. It's like if I couldn't take credit cards I would loose 70% of my sales at certain events. The beads are an experiment to help provide that special piece a chance to be ready for sale Many Months before it would normally be ready. I love the problem of selling 85% of my inventory at one time, but some times my medium or large size bowls will all sell then 5 people want a medium or large size bowl after the event.
  3. Randy Heinemann

    Randy Heinemann

    Jul 19, 2017
    Location (City & State):
    Roscoe, Illinois
    I've used silica beads for smaller bowls (8" or less) for over a year. None of them cracked. All of them stopped losing weight from moisture evaporation after about 2 - 3 days. I've come to the conclusion it's a great way to dry bowls, at least for a hobby oriented turner. If you turn a large number of bowls, it may not be practical as it would require a lot of beads, more than one container (or a large one), and frequent recharging of the beads. For me, though, it's a great idea that works for the periodic bowls I turn. I bought a "kit" from Rockler with the beads and an airtight container and 2 bags that can be sealed essentially airtight with a tie also included. I'm sure that there are cheaper sources for the beads and airtight containers, but this works great for a hobbyist who turns bowls once in awhile.
  4. Karl Loeblein

    Karl Loeblein

    Feb 12, 2018
    Location (City & State):
    Millington, TN
    Breck, if you have another green magnolia bowl the you might try combining a microwave and the silica beads like many do for drying flowers quickly. The microwave might help you avoid the resting period since it will cooking the water out with heat.

    Wife gave me the url for instructions that she used for drying flowers after a recent funeral:
  5. Dennis Dibala

    Dennis Dibala

    Dec 15, 2020
    Location (City & State):
    Wallis, TX
    I generally don't rush drying on most pieces but when I do want to speed up the process, I have an old and large styrofoam cooler with the lightbulb/computer cooling fan method to make a kiln. This is used for rough turned pieces only because of the probable warping that will occur. I have done the microwave trick on some pieces but only small ones.

    To dry wet turned pieces moderately fast I keep all the junkmail flyers I get in the mail. Those are seperated into single pages, crumpled into loose balls, packed around the wood piece and that all goes into a paper sack or cardboard box for larger pieces. I change out the flyers closest to the wood every day or every other day as the piece dries out some and stops loosing moisture rapidly. The flyers are free and I don't feel quite as bad about disposing of them after use. In fact, they can still be recylced after use.
  6. Dan Stevenson

    Dan Stevenson

    May 7, 2019
    Location (City & State):
    Wesley Chapel, FL
    I use rechargeable beads to dry Norfolk Island Pine forms out all the time. Works fantastic on consistent thickness pieces and rarely causes any substantial cracking issues. I can go from green log to dry form in a couple of days. Results on your particular wood will vary and experimentation will be your key.

    A experienced tip: Don't fill hollow forms completely when drying, I have had them burst forms. Instead I now fill partially and allow for bead expansion, flip the form and repeat, or rotate the form a bit throughout the shortened drying process.
    Tim Tucker likes this.
  7. Mike Adams

    Mike Adams

    Jan 8, 2020
    Location (City & State):
    Bloomfield, New Jersey
    I've used it on a few bowls (species unk.). I used the SoPhresh crystals from Petco. I only had a crack (fixable) and it wasn't too bad. I turned them all pretty thin, though ( < 1/2) I put 6 inches of litter in the bottom of a 5 gallon pail, set a bowl in on its side, and then poured in litter so that all surfaces were touching litter. I took one out at 8 days, another at 10, and the last at 12.

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