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recipe for boiling/ Freezing wood ?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Kenny, Jun 22, 2004.

  1. Kenny

    Kenny

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    I tried the search menu on this site but not getting anywhere. What is the proper way to boil wood and/ or freeze wood so to get the moisture out. I have been using dishwashing soap ( costco brand) and its fine but turns my turnings slightly green. I want to build a steel pot / burner in the back yard to handle 20" pieces.
    1. do you put the wood in the pot cold and then boil it?
    2. when do you take it out of the pot?
    3. should I add spices- ( joke )

    how does freezing work

    thank you...
     
  2. RevDoug

    RevDoug

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    Boiling

    Remember that boiling is not to dry the wood, but to relieve the internal stresses in the wood. I've been doing it nearly as long as I've been turning bowls.

    My procedure is a bit different than most folks. I finish turn and sand the bowl. Then I boil it. Usually 1 hour is enough. The rule of thumb is 1 hour per inch. I believe that a full hour is minimum though. You will also want to make sure that you have a minimum clearance around the piece of 1" all the way around for safety. Some will suggest weighting it down, but I found that the rolling boil will flip and turn the bowl enough that the weight is not necessary. After taking the bowl out of the water, allow it to dry to 2-3 days so that all water has evaporated. Hand sand through the grits and finish. That's it.

    If warpage is going to take place, it will happen pretty quickly. I watched one piece warp (pretty cool). The neat thing is, you'll get very few cracks. This precedure has worked well for me. It has only failed when I've forgotten to use it (even on end-grain turnings). Let us know what you end up doing and how it works out for you.
     
  3. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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  4. dkulze

    dkulze

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    I don't think anyone mentioned but adding a few cloves and some nutmeg is kinda nice. Makes the house smell good.

    dietrich
     
  5. RevDoug

    RevDoug

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    Boiling

    Thanks Steve. I just re-read Russell's article for about the twentyith time. It is a great article. I emailed him a year or so ago and he was interested that my protocol seemed to work as well as his. The biggest difference is that he boils his rough-outs where I boil the finished product. The hand sanding is a pain at times, especially if I don't get it sanded well to begin with. But, it really doesn't take very long and I like feeling what is going on as I prepare to finish the piece.
     
  6. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    What is really cool is to boil the finished turned light wood pieces with a dark wood like walnut or osage. Adds a real interesting color to the light wood work.
     
  7. Kenny

    Kenny

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    finishing bowls before boiling ? question for you

    My bigger question is that 'REV DOUG' says his bowls are completed / dried and ready to sell within a few days but the article by
    Stephen Russell states it takes 3 months. So do you save lots of time ( 3 months) by finishing the bowl first?
     
  8. RevDoug

    RevDoug

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    Kenny,

    I didn't mean to confuse you. Steve boils his rough-outs. That is, he rough turns the bowl to a thickness 10% of the diameter. Then he boils the blank. All this means is that it will then take a bit less time for the blank to dry before returning.

    With my method, I don't turn twice. I start with the billet, turn to final thickness, sand, boil, dry a couple of days, sand, finish. The piece is not ready to sell in a few days because my finish technique takes a couple of weeks to get through.

    We are really talking about two radically different methods. With Steve's method you reduce the heavy checks that ruin so many bowl blanks. The final product is a beautiful round piece. My method relieves the checks, just like Steve's method, but the finished product will usually have warpage.

    The choice is your's. Do you want to spend more time and end up with round bowls, or spend less time and end up with out of round pieces? I have choosen to have warped bowls for now. I simply like the character that the warping adds.

    Does this help with your confussion?
     
  9. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    I Quit Boiling

    I tried the Russell Protocol [rolling boil 1 hour/inch, weighted under the surface, tarp cover for days, bag, etc.] and lost every bowl to cracks. Now carefully examine the stock for defects, turn to 10%, anchorseal, bag, etc. and my result is about 75% crack-free.

    Besides, family didn't care for the smell of boiled walnut. :rolleyes:

    Mark
     
  10. Bob Hadley

    Bob Hadley

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    Freezing

    Anyone care to chime in on freezing?

    Vic Wood mentioned it at Pasadena last year. If I remember correctly (not usually a good assumption):
    1) he turns green to finished bowl;
    2) he carefully blow-torches (w/ hand-held propane torch) the bowl very lightly to make the surface respond to sanding (does not scorch the wood);
    3) he saturates the wood with tung oil and wipes off the excess;
    4) he wraps in a paper bag and puts in the freezer for a week (not sure on the duration exactly, a week is what I used).

    The theory is, the freezer is essentially a dehumidifier and sucks the water out of the wood. Not sure why he uses tung oil. Probably to retard the moisture loss, but if anyone can enlighten me with some additional insight or experience, that would be appreciated.

    I used it one time on a macadamia bowl after all my other macadamia bowls shattered themselves. Except for one small split that I epoxied, it worked! The bowl was accepted for the Odyssey to the Sea show (titled: "Hawaiian Nuts!"). I may use the method again if the need arises, as long as it OK with you know who.

    BH
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2004

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