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How do I prepare a fork from a tree for turning?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by The Spin Doctor, May 27, 2004.

  1. The Spin Doctor

    The Spin Doctor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
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    Location (City & State):
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Home Page:
    I have a piece of a tree collected during a Boy Scout service project last year. I have kept it in a plastic bag for a year. It looks like two branches joined together as the tree grew. There are actually at least three branches at this point. The piece is at least 18 inches across and about 8 inches thick. I worry that it will crack and break apart as I try to rough it on the lathe. It has been preliminarily shaped by chain saw.

    Since I have never worked with such a raw piece of wood, I need help. :eek: Do I put cyanoacrylate glue in all the cracks to start? Should I soak it in PEG or a soapy mix with water for a while? Or do I just mount it up and start going. Is there a project paper in the internet somewhere that describes how to take a raw cracked piece and salvage it into a successful project.

    thanks for you input :confused:
     
  2. George Van Beynen

    George Van Beynen

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
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    171
    Location (City & State):
    Mercer, WI
  3. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Messages:
    2,542
    Location (City & State):
    Annandale, New Jersey
    Fork

    Keith,

    From your description you may have something other than a crotch. With "intertwined" branches, the boundry surfaces will have weak, if any, bonding ability, and what is holding the three together in a "knot" is actually their shapes. You will find, I think, that if you try to get face-grain blanks, after slicing the section in half, the branches will part and the piece will disintegrate either on or off the lathe.

    You might do better with a hollowform cut end grain from the entire piece, but be very carefull with how much tail stock pressure you use as it will tend to split the branches apart. In fact, I think I'd first cut a tenon on one end as wide as your chuck jaws will open so that you can mount with the chuck in compression mode to help hold things together. Eitherway, it is likely to be a dangerous piece of material, and while CA will help, I would not rely upon it to hold all this together, even with repeated applications as the cutting progresses.

    I would also think that one of your steadies should be employed at the earliest opportunity to relieve tortional stress.

    Of course, I could be wrong . . .

    Good Luck
     
  4. The Spin Doctor

    The Spin Doctor

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location (City & State):
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Home Page:
    Boy Scout falloff

    Mark and George,

    Thanks so much for the input. :) I will check the link by George. Mark, I think you are correct about two branches intertwined. I will not try the glue method, but perhaps there is some drilling operation I could employ to place dowels across the presumed joint that would remain during the roughing process. Then once the roughing was done I could rely on glue??? at the critical places?

    I appreciate the idea of a tenon and how it would clamp the piece to help hold it. I had thought of using a face plate initially, but if I can figure out how to do the tenon perhaps with a chain saw, it might work better.

    thanks again.
     
  5. The Spin Doctor

    The Spin Doctor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    25
    Location (City & State):
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Home Page:
    Boy Scout falloff

    George,

    Thanks so much for the link! It is just what I need to further my knowledge and possibly make something out of this hunk of waste wood! I have only taken a quick look at it, but it is certainly covering just what I was looking for.

    This is just what a discussion forum was meant to accomplish! :D
     

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