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Now I know why...

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by John Hicks, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. John Hicks

    John Hicks

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    So I just turned a bunch of green sycamore bowls; get them ready to store and re-turn later. Sycamore has a nasty habit of cracking like a stick of dynamite was part of the drying process, so instead of losing all that wood, I turned it green. Now I see why almost every YouTube video of someone turning a bowl, is green wood! It's great! Ribbons of wet wood flying in piles; no catches and you really look like you know what your doing! The largest was 17 inches. I sealed them with anchorseal on the end grain, and left the tenons a bit large to re-turn. I only used one tool, start to finish. This green stuff is great.

    IMG_8806.JPG IMG_8828.JPG IMG_8829.JPG IMG_8830.JPG
     
  2. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    A while back I got a HUGE stockpile of sycamore from a neighbor. The tree was dead but the bottom 1/3 or so of it was in good shape. My first time turning it and I've have very good luck with it so far. Stable, no cracking while drying and good color. Thinking now I don't think I've lost any pieces yet. Yep, turning wood green is a hoot when it cooperates - just like you see in the movies.
     
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  3. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Sycamore is one of those woods that can shrink way beyond the 10% rule. Never had problems with it cracking though, it seems to be fairly stable, well, maybe not very prone to cracking. Make sure to round over the edges of the bowl rims as a sharp edge is far more prone to cracking.

    robo hippy
     
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I love turning wet wood too.

    Like you said - so enjoyable to watch the tool work.
     
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  5. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    Glad to see that you have seen the light.
    According to Hoadley's Understanding Wood American Sycamore has tangential shrinkage of 8.4%, radial of 5% and T/R of 1.7%.
    The shrinkage percentages illustrate why sawmills make boards first then dry them so the same rule applies to bowl turning.
     
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  6. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    In addition, sycamore is one of the species that is more prone than others to ring shake, which causes a separation along the growth rings. I’ve experienced this with wood that I’ve taken from my town’s log dump. These are often trees that are harvested from city streetscapes, and fit in the description below, of overmature, butt logs. This clip from an old USDA guide to log defects.
    https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/CAT87209089/PDF
    “RING SHAKE
    Definition.—Ring shake is a tangential separation of the wood fibers along parts of the annual rings (fig. 47). Sometimes it is confined to de- finite sections along the outer rim of wood, some- times it is confined to the center, and sometimes it is found all through the log. Important ring shake is often so fine as to be invisible in green wood, and shows up only when the wood is dry.
    Occurrence.—Although ring shake is definitely related to species, it is not found on all trees of any species. On the other hand, it may be found in some trees of every species. It seems especially prevalent in overmature, leaning, toppy. sweepy tin)l)er. Ring shake is most common in the butt log and may result from a serious butt injury. As good second-growth timber stands develop, the occurrence of ring shake will be greatly reduced. Today, however, much of the old-growth bitter pecan is shaky. Ring shake is also serious in over- mature sycamoie, túpelo, and elms, and in overcup and chestnut oak from poor sites.”
     
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  7. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    ring shakes are one of the most dangerous defects in turning wood. Easy to miss in a chainsaw cut.
    This is a structural separation of growth rings and the two pieces of wood will come apart.

    I have found a lot of them in black walnut.
    I have used ring shakes to turn hollow balls. Rough a ball with the ring shake near the center holding it to together with strapping tape. Separate the two parts hollow them, glue them together( I put a quarter inside to rattle. Finish turn the ball. The glue joint on a growth ring is impossible to see.
    Woodturners know the ball is hollow by the weight. The quarter tips off those unfamiliar with what wood should weigh.
     
  8. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    Neat idea! How to make lemonade out of lemons. Next time I come across a piece with ring shake I won’t automatically throw it away. Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  9. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Well, what I get with sycamore here in Oregon, it is all domestic, as in grown in the city and not wild. This means it gets lots of water and lots of fertilizer. Add to that, we have a long mild growing season. The growth rings can be over 1/2 inch wide. It grows way too fast. I have seen some ornamental cherry with 1 inch growth rings. I haven't seen any ring shake in the sycamore I have turned. Most of what we have here is probably London Plane. I never get to see those white skeletons out in the woods around here that I used to see back in Missouri.

    robo hippy
     
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  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm glad that you discovered the joy of turning green wood. It's almost more fun than the law allows. :D
     
  11. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    The next step is to see how long a shaving you can get.
    I once had one about 12 feet long.
    It is fun to see those continuous shavings coming off of your gouge.
     
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  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I once got carried away admiring the long streamers of wood and almost turned the whole blank into shavings.
     
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  13. Christian Radcliff

    Christian Radcliff

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    I turned my first green wooden jar last night, it was a fresh log of ponderosa pine. I have never experienced such a strong smell and such sticky wood shavings. I got a few long ribbons for the first time, that was cool. The turpentine smell still lingers in my garage today...o_O

    It was a weird but... interesting? Experience. I took a piece dark with resin and chased my wife around with it, kept making her gag. Good times. :D

    Going to try quaking aspen next, looking forward to it honesty. Now I'm curious to try more fresh wood for smell and turning experience. Have to get used to the ponderosa thought, its all I have on my land besides the aspens. (P. ponderosa ssp. ponderosa)
     
  14. Karl Loeblein

    Karl Loeblein

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    Get your hands on fresh cherry or eastern red cedar to see if the wife likes the smell better.

    Btw, Woodbarter.com is a great source for finding wood from other woodworkers that you can’t get locally.
     
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  15. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Most western cities have large numbers of hardwoods growing throughout their urban/suburban area.
    I’ve not been to Spokan but imaginative it has a good number.
    If you find an arborist or firewood dealer you can likely end up with a lot of turning blanks for little cost or free.
    Many cities have a dump for logs where residents can remove wood.

    The Inland woodturners are a local chapter o the AAW. If you have not already done so, You might contact them regarding local wood sources. They have pictures on their web site.
    https://www.inwwoodturners.com/
     
  16. Christian Radcliff

    Christian Radcliff

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    There's some old orchards east of me with abandoned fruit trees but they have signs about heavy metal contamination (Aresnic) from pesticides. I wonder if the wood is ok to work with. Today the wood lost its potent smell and was kind of pleasant to her so looks like its a temporary thing. It wasnt that bad, just caught me off guard. Thought something was wrong at first, didn't think wood could make that smell.

    Interesting website, thanks. I just picked up a decent bandsaw so I can prepare some ponderosa for trade. It would be fun to try exchanging it for different woods to try. Good idea. :) I wonder if it would be more popular in the east coast where it doesn't grow naturally.

    Joined the local chapter today, haven't lived here long so they will be a great resource.

    I'm about 30-40 minutes outside of town in rural Spokane county on some acreage, poor soil, lots of fires and all the ponderosa one can want. There's even some DNR land next to me where I can cut some for free each year. In town has a ton of variety in peoples yards in the older neighborhoods. A lot of places sit on basalt with very little topsoil/glacial lake sediment, windstorms always do some damage to the trees each year. Day trip to load up my van with a chainsaw after a windstorm sounds fun, I will be ready for next year. Going to try that firewood/arborist idea also. Thank you.
     
  17. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Aspen is wonderful to turn but be aware that it is soft and turns so easily that in the blink of an eye, you can be down to a toothpick or fairy cup.
     
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  18. Christian Radcliff

    Christian Radcliff

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    Now I see what John was getting at, the green quaking aspen was a pleasure to work with! A 6ish year old tree that was about 6 inches across went down easy and turned in the blink of an eye. Made a mallet for fun in like 20 minutes after a full day of working with pine or walnut that was significantly harder. Like butter. I am defiantly going to cut down a much older aspen and set aside some logs to play with. What a fun wood. :D
     
  19. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    The young wood is very plain, but the older wood has a lot of character to it and can be very attractive. Our late great mentor Gordon McMullen used to determine if an aspen was big enough based on his inability to wrap his arms all the way around. For you, look for aspen that have lots of the black 'divots' on the bark of the trunk. The more the better and it's best if it's started to make corky black bark at the base. If it's all light green-white bark, it's going to be bland.
     
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