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Thread: Log ID (Help!)

  1. #16
    Personally, I usually don't try to dry anything over 4" thick.

    Your drying success rate will much better the thinner and smaller the blanks are. Oak especially is bad about "honeycombing" or deep cracking along the face grain.

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Bouis View Post
    Personally, I usually don't try to dry anything over 4" thick.

    Your drying success rate will much better the thinner and smaller the blanks are. Oak especially is bad about "honeycombing" or deep cracking along the face grain.
    Most of the blanks that I have cut up and sealed thus far have been between 3-4" thick, 5x5 to 10x10 squares. Sealing the ends with anchor seal, and stickering on shelves in my un heated work garage. Hopefully doing it "right"

  3. #18
    I just got down rough turning a dry black walnut bank. Dusty to say the least. However, it has some sentimental value. The tree was damaged when out former home burned down three years ago. I had to have the tree taken down after the fire, but saved a few of blanks for turning. I saved them on a skid in the barn. Just cut the logs into sections a little longer than the diameter and then cut in half length wise. Stored with the remaining bark on it. I did not seal the ends and checks were slight. (At the time I simply had no sealer and had lots of other things on my mind. Maybe the fire heat had something to do with it.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Atikokan, Rainy River district, Ontario
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Bottoms View Post
    Most of the blanks that I have cut up and sealed thus far have been between 3-4" thick, 5x5 to 10x10 squares. Sealing the ends with anchor seal, and stickering on shelves in my un heated work garage. Hopefully doing it "right"
    Cut into slabs or planks will give you a much better chance of getting good turning blanks, but still do seal them well.


    Have fun and take care

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    I just got down rough turning a dry black walnut bank. ...Just cut the logs into sections a little longer than the diameter and then cut in half length wise. ... I did not seal the ends and checks were slight. ...
    One thing to consider which might have helped your blank to survive. Black walnut, at least in my experience, is inherently quite stable compared to many other species such as cherry and oak. Sometimes cherry will start to crack while you are standing there looking at the downed tree! An indicator is the T/R ratio for black walnut is 1.4 while the ratio for s. red oak is 2.4 - far more shrinkage and cracking likely. Black cherry is closer to 2.

    I too have some big chunks of walnut, some burled, that are perhaps 30-50 years old and have dried without cracks. On the other hand I cut some white oak on the sawmill about a week ago and some pieces I took into the shop started to show some cracks after about three days! These cracks were not on the end grain but down sides that tangential to the outermost rings in the blank. No cracks anywhere else on the blank. I usually wax those sides of turning squares but this time I forgot.

    For the OP's case, it still boils down to first identifying the wood.

    JKJ

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Northern Ohio
    Posts
    519
    Black Oak is the name. Close to Red Oak. Oak is hard to dry in thicker pieces, over 2 inches.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Bottoms View Post
    Thank you for your very detailed reply! Very detailed and appreciated. let me as you, what do you consider smaller blanks? TIA
    I do a lot of spindle turning, love to make smaller things like boxes and such, beads of courage lidded boxes, and a variety of bowls and platters. I turn almost everything from dry wood. I seldom turn big bowls from green wood. They are not as challenging and besides, I give most turnings away and not many people want more than one big bowl or platter - not enough room in the house! They ALWAYS seem to have room for small things, though, like these handbell ornaments.

    bells_PC244161es.jpg

    For spindles and other end grain turnings like boxes and small vessels I cut and dry squares from 1x1 up to about 4x4, occasionally smaller or larger depending on the species (certain species will dry far quicker and with less self destruction so I can cut larger sizes). For bowls I dry wood up to maybe 4-5" thick and 6-10" square. For larger vessels I dry end grain blocks up to about 6-8" square. I cut larger blanks on the sawmill but most I process with an 18" bandsaw with a 1/2" 3-tpi blade. For shallow bowls and platters I often cut 2" or 2+" slabs on my sawmill and sticker to dry outdoors before bringing inside. This is a cedar log but I also cut slabs of persimmon, oak, walnut, cherry, maple, and other local woods. Dry slabs also are more flexibile - I can decide later if I want to make smaller bowls and platters or cut them up into squares for spindle turning.

    cedar_P9064287es.jpg

    I like to cut blanks square or rectangular for several reasons. The biggest reason is it lets me see what is in the log so I can cut away defects and wood I don't want to keep. This makes the blanks smaller and easier to dry. Pieces that are entirely heartwood for some woods (or sapwood for some like dogwood) are more stable and more likely to survive drying. Mixed sap and heartwood doesn't make much difference in the stability other species, for example walnut and sassafras. When processing the wood I am careful to cut away all end grain cracks to prevent even invisible cracks from propagating, then seal immediately. If I do decide to leave minor defects in the wood I always mark them with a bright Sharpie before sealing so I'll see them when I choose a blank for turning rather than be unpleasantly surprised in the middle of a turning. Cutting away the bark and much of the sapwood also minimizes harboring a lot of the insects that eat wood.

    I write the name of the wood and the date cut on every block so I have an idea of when it might be about ready. I use a pinless moisture meter to check. My shop is heated and air conditioned which might help keep the humidity low.

    After they are partially dry I put the smaller pieces into tubs and move the larger pieces to other shelves. I've been drying wood in some form since the mid 70s but specifically drying for woodturning for about 15 years. Most of the wood I'm turning now has been air drying for at least 10 years. I figure if I process some every year I'll have plenty to turn until I kick the bucket.

    These are some of the blanks stacked on wire shelves for drying.

    drying_IMG_5757.jpg

    I especially like to turn dogwood so I keep my eye out for logs. I've had a few 12-14" in diameter, huge for flowering dogwood. These are smaller pieces cut a couple of years ago. Some of the smaller blanks can be turned now but I'll probably let them dry a while longer.
    dogwood_IMG_5759.jpg dogwood_IMG_5760.jpg

    Some of these are exotics but most are larger dry pieces.
    exotics_larger_IMG_5764.jpg rack1_2_IMG_5762.jpg

    Dry wood is essential for turning things with lids like the Beads of Courage boxes. I made this one from a single block of yellow poplar maybe 7x7" and 12" or so long, "bone" dry after being on the shelf since about 2004. It has a music box hidden under the lid.
    BOC_B_comp.jpg

    I encourage people to cut up even just a little each year for drying so they will have a constant supply. Some friends don't have a good way to cut blanks so they bring them here.

    BTW, I might have more wood than I can turn but I have no trouble finding people to use some! I have students who are always wanting to make something new, friends who make wonderfully creative things, and I take wood to club meetings for auctions.

    JKJ
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 02-12-2018 at 11:40 PM.

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