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Storing Wood Until You Can Make Bowl Blanks

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Larry Steinmetz, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Hello,

    I am a new woodturner (just introduced myself in the "Introductions" forum) and have a question about what to do with downed trees or wood from tree services if you don't have time to immediately make bowl blanks. I have read many forum posts about either making bowl blanks or rough turning bowls from green wood but haven't found much on how long you can store wood until you can get around to doing anything with it.

    I was driving home yesterday and saw a tree service removing a couple of Live Oak trees near my home. I stopped and asked them what they were going to do with the wood and they said I could take it if I wanted it. The trunk sections are approximately 15" W x 24" L. It is probably weeks if not a month or so before I can really do anything with the wood so I was wondering if I can paint the end grain with ANCHORSEAL and put it away until I can get to it? I guess a related question would be can you get TOO much wood if you aren't able to quickly process it? Thank you.
     
  2. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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  3. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Location (City & State):
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  4. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Larry,

    1. You can never have too much wood.
    2. You want to apply Anchorseal as soon as possible.
    3. Logs can lay around for considerable time but the open ends will create checking and cracking over time as they dry.
    4. You are better off processing fresh cut logs the same day it comes down into the size of blanks you intend to use and seal them with Anchorseal.
    5. A pickup truck load of cut logs is usually a full day of work to cut, load, transport and process and seal into lathe turning billets.
    6. Focus on good quality wood to add to your wood stash.
    7. The thicker the wood billet the longer time it takes to dry, large solid wood billets can take years to dry.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  5. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    If you can get and keep it as longer logs the wood in the center will have a better chance of surviving. 10 ft pieces can last for years. I have cut sections to 6-10 " longer than needed, split them in half through the pith and anchorsealed the ends and still lost half or more to checking (stored outdoors, in the shade, under a tarp in MA). I've grabbed sections out of long logs that have been down for over two years that still yielded useful blanks.

    Next tree I get I'll try cutting an inch or two to each side of the pith so that no part of the center is incorporated. I wonder if splitting would be more effective than chainsawing the logs in half?
     
  6. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    IN the tips and techniques Working with Green wood thread there is a link to some slides I use in demos.
    They give you some tips on storing wood.

    Storing wood in 8-10 foot log lengths works well but few people have the equipment or space .

    I rip logs through the pith in the longest lengths I can move easily. I try to get the best blank in the half log- pith near the center and balance grain. Florida logs are never round.
    I cut the round blanks just before turning and put them in a plastic bag if it will be more than a few minutes before I start turning.
    D23D08FA-CBB5-4275-B325-9F1F14643A56.jpeg

    Wood has a shelf life. I have often been able to use half logs 6 months after cutting. The color is not vibrant and the sapwood Will be discolored. Many woods ( maple, beech, ..) may have spalted. I much prefer to turn blanks within two weeks. However it’s always nice to have some wood in reserve when no one calls with a tree.
    A982F8F4-FE2F-41E0-9A08-F5FB22A7E98F.jpeg

    All the slides
    http://www.aawforum.org/community/index.php?threads/working-with-green-wood.11626/
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  7. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I rarely cut wood into turning blanks. I think that it's much easier to saw a piece off the log, mount it between centers, shape the outside, make a tenon, turn it around and put the tenon in a chuck, and turn the interior. If it's mesquite I might turn it to final thickness. Otherwise, I will rough turn it and then let it dry for three to four months before doing the final turning.
     
  8. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    Larry.... as for myself I rarely ever cut green wood. I'm lucky that I have excess to a Forrest close by and I look for dead trees that have spalting and cut what I need. Most of the dead trees have falling down from wind and storms. I really love to work with spalted wood. The land owner said that I could cut all the dead trees or trees that were in early decay. Win Win for both of us! :D

    As for green wood, as Mike said you need to apply Anchorseal as soon as possible to the end grain and still after a while it may check some.
     
  9. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Larry, the answers to your questions will depend on the climate where you live and where/how you will be storing the wood. Your circumstances in Texas are not the same as mine in Montana.

    Here, I make the time to rip those 20-24" logs down the pith and then put the half logs in large 3 mil plastic bags with the top folded underneath. Then I stack them next to my driveway where they won't get more than a few hours of sunlight each day, often under a tarp to be on the safe side. They keep for a long time in that form. (Tip: if you nip the corners of the half logs off with the saw, you get fewer holes in the bag.)

    In your climate, your wood will dry a more slowly than in our arid climate, but you are probably also more susceptible to mold and rot during storage. Your local turning club members could suggest methods that are successful to save green wood for later.
     
  10. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Thanks Mike...that is a great list of things for consideration. Related to item #7, would it then hold true that the thicker the logs the longer you have to get it cut into blanks?
     
  11. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Thanks Dean. BTW, I love your part of the country. I have family in Idaho and have spent active duty time in both Oregon and Washington. Texas has a lot of great things going for it...weather ain't one of them!

    Your comment about local turning club members is one that I need to focus on and make the time to start attending club meetings.
     
  12. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Bill...I truly hope that some day in the not too distant future I can get the shop "completed" (will always be doing something to it as I figure out how I want to organize it) so that I can take advantage of newfound wood and turn a bowl shortly thereafter.
     
  13. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Thanks for the info and the links...a lot of good stuff to go through!
     
  14. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Larry,

    Yes, the longer the billet or log the more time you have to work with it, the end grain is the issue, this is where the checking and cracking begins and it can start to migrate through the remainder of the log/billet if it gets a start. You will find stress in a large percentage of the logs which is constantly trying to release the internal pressures as the log starts to dry, cutting the log down the middle releases some of the internal stresses and provides each half of the log the ability to shrink in size and not crack.
     
  15. Larry Steinmetz

    Larry Steinmetz

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    Location (City & State):
    Alvin, TX
    Mike, thanks for the detailed explanation...makes a lot of sense!
     

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