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First time to turn green wood, help?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by sroxberg, Jun 29, 2004.

  1. sroxberg

    sroxberg

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    3
    Ok, I now have a stack of green Walnut logs in the back yard. I have anchor sealed both ends with several coats. I may even dip them each one more time in a pan with about an inch of sealer to seal them real good.

    I have the working with green wood book but have never turned, without it cracking, green wood.

    What articles or primers do you recommend?

    I'd like to try a hollow vase, can you do that with green wood?

    Oh, and if you live in Kansas City, I could even spare a log or two. I got the entire tree. :D
     
  2. Randy Rice

    Randy Rice

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2004
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    Location (City & State):
    Garland, Texas
    Home Page:
    Turning Green Wood

    Steve,

    I suggest you get a copy of Turning Green Wood by Michael O'Donnell. I would consider it the bible for this type of thing.
     
  3. Glenn

    Glenn

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Messages:
    20
    Agree with Randy. O'Donnell's book is a great reference. :cool2:

    I am also new to the world of bowl turning. I stumbled upon a web site by pro turner Ron Kent . Under techniques, he talks about soaking bowls in dish soap to reduce cracking. Ernie Conover has an article (referencing Kent's work) that goes into great detail with a similar soaking protocol. Conover calls for a soak in a 1:6 dish soap/water solution. This is suppose to eliminate cracking. Since Conover has turned many more bowls than me (I have finished ONE bowl), I was willing to give it a try. I currently have about 15 bowls in that have come out of the soak. I kept them in for 3 days, which is much longer than conover call for. I have yet to finish turn them so I don't know what I'll encounter. Anyway, you may want to check out Ron Kent's site. Try searching for Conover's article. If you can't find it, frop me a PM and I'll email you my copy.

    Has anyone else tried this? Success? Failure? Lessons learned?
     
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location (City & State):
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    First while your looking at the books, if your log sections are short, rip the log sections roughly in half so that you have at least one good blank with the grain balance you like. You need to cut through the center of the growth rings (pith) or to one side. If you can cut two or more you like from one log section great but avoid cutting two poor ones. With the walnut you can usually see the curvature of the sapwood.

    When wood dries it shrinks and needs to move. In the round log it will begin cracking at the center very quickly even when coated. The growth rings tend to flatten out as wood shrinks a connected growth ring cannot flatten without cracking. The same is true of the green turning. You need to control the drying. If the piece has an uneven wall thickness the thin parts will want to dry faster than the thick.

    Another good way is to leave logs in 10 foot lengths and just cut off and discard 4 inches or so to the depth of the checks every time you cut blanks.

    Happy Turning,
    Al
     
  5. dkulze

    dkulze

    Joined:
    May 29, 2004
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    Location (City & State):
    billerica, ma
    Welcome to green turning. It's one of the things you will probably come to enjoy very much as turning green wood leads to lots of long shavings and easier cutting.

    If you're doing bowls, the above suggestions are about right. Cut the log down the center twice, cutting out a slab about 10% of the thickness of the log and including the center and a little wood on each side (this is called the pith). If the log is curved, cut it on the straight axis, so that you consistantly remove the pith. As hockenbery said, the growth rings tend to try and straighten out. The center can't as it's too compact so it acts as a wedge and splits the wood as the outside dries. The turnings you make from the remaining wood will warp as they dry but this is considered by many (including me) to be a feature, not a problem, so make sure you turn them thin and finish them completely in one sitting if you want this. If you don't turn them very thick, coat them with wax, and let them dry for a few months. Then turn off the warpage.

    If you want to do vases and to include the pith, just make sure you turn them consistant and relatively thin, especially the bottom of the vase. If you don't make it thin enough for the pith to compress a bit, it will crack the vase. Consistancy also helps as variations in the thickness will create stress points as it dries.

    If you get the book on turning green wood, it will explain all this in great detail with illustrations.

    If you really like this post, feel free to mail me a few logs to MA.

    Welcome and enjoy.
    Dietrich
     
  6. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Black walnut has a chambered pith. Looks sort of like a straight nautilis in cross section. It is sort of hollow with spacers that don't ammount to much.

    If you leave the pith in a thin black walnut turning it will most likely result in a small hole and a thicker one will have a depression. Now that isn't good or bad it just is.
    The hole can be a nice feature.

    I recently finished a small hollow turning from a spalted walnut limb with the pith in the side walls. It has two small holes in the pith centers. I think they worked out okay.

    happy turning,
    Al
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2004
  7. Whit

    Whit

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    Location (City & State):
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    Al,

    I hadn't thought of turning a vessel with the pith in the side walls. An interesting idea. I'll have to try something like that. Thanks.

    Whit
     
  8. theeviltwinn

    theeviltwinn

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2004
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    Location (City & State):
    Royersford, Pa
    Whether you turn it thin and finish right away or turn it thick and let it dry before finish turning, a turning with an even wall thickness is less likely to crack than one with uneven walls.

    If you plan to twice turn your bowls, 10% of the bowls diameter is a good thickness to rough turn the bowl. Then coat with wax or wrap in newspaper and let dry in a cool place.

    Mike
     
  9. Fred LeBail

    Fred LeBail

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
    Messages:
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    Location (City & State):
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Hey Steve,
    Don't live anywhere near KC but would pay shipping for one of those bowl blanks.
    Fred



    PS , Missed the bowlsavers i Guess?
     
  10. sroxberg

    sroxberg

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    3
    I'd ship you a bowl blank, but am still sorting everything out. Some of these will be rather small bowls, but hey the price is right.

    I bought the book and am reading it now.

    Thanks for all the help.
     
  11. Fred LeBail

    Fred LeBail

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
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    Location (City & State):
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Hey Steve , E-mail me about the bowl blanks when you get things sorted out.
    Thanks, Fred
     

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