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Thread: Boiling Air Dried Walnut

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Warsaw, Missouri
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    53

    Boiling Air Dried Walnut

    In the past, I have had great success in boiling fresh-cut walnut and cherry after roughing out bowls - greater than 95% usable after six months of drying after the boil.

    I recently scored some 3 inch thick walnut that has been air dried under tin for 2 years. After this much time, will I get any benefit from boiling rough turned bowls before setting aside to dry/stabilize, or should I skip the boil?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    I would skip the boil. Walnut is pretty easy to dry without cracking and with very little movement. There may still be some movement, but not much. Air drying board stock, rule of thumb is 1 year per inch of thickness plus 6 months or so in the shop to be ready for furniture work. 3 inches will still have some moisture in the middle. I would turn one bowl to see how moist it still is, and proceed from there. Make sure to round over bowl rims.

    robo hippy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reed Gray View Post
    I would skip the boil. Walnut is pretty easy to dry without cracking and with very little movement. There may still be some movement, but not much. Air drying board stock, rule of thumb is 1 year per inch of thickness plus 6 months or so in the shop to be ready for furniture work. 3 inches will still have some moisture in the middle. I would turn one bowl to see how moist it still is, and proceed from there. Make sure to round over bowl rims.

    robo hippy
    I agree, walnut is pretty stable and probably would have cracked by now if it was going to. It probably is not completely dry inside yet, though. If you want to know for sure you can grab a bunch shavings from hollowing, seal them immediately in a plastic bag to keep them from immediately drying out, then use the oven-dry method to determine the exact moisture content. All you need for this is an accurate gram scale and a warm oven around 200 deg F. I used a toaster oven.

    Note that if there is significant figure in the walnut, for example if the chunk is a highly figured crotch, it may be less stable. Same thing if if it is partly reaction wood from a leaning tree or a non-vertical branch.

    JKJ

  4. #4
    I have done rough outs in green walnut, maple and cherry, sealed the outside only and had them ready to finish turn in six months. I donít know what one might gain from boiling, particularly with air dried walnut. Great wood to turn, BTW!

    Left click my name for homepage link.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Lummi Island, WA
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    470
    Full confession - I’m a boiler. But in this case, I doubt its necessary. Most Walnut, as has been pointed out is pretty stable. I boil highly reactive woods like madrone and figured maple when roughed wet. Some gets turned to final within a couple of weeks of roughing/boiling. I like a little movement in some pieces, and turning smaller blanks cored from the larger pieces lets me know better how long I need to let the rest dry. For boxes or lidded pieces, it needs to be as dry as possible; blanks are roughed, lid separated, both hollowed and left to dry.

    I’d rough it out and set aside to dry - weighing until it stabilizes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Warsaw, Missouri
    Posts
    53
    Thanks, all. Now, if you could just tell me how to arrange to have new logs come available only at convenient intervals I'll be all set

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Nordyke View Post
    Thanks, all. Now, if you could just tell me how to arrange to have new logs come available only at convenient intervals I'll be all set
    Where do you live?

    Plenty of logs here. Last time I walked down the hill on the back of my property I found a nice cherry tree down from a storm and some other trees, right across the trail. I have stacks of hickory, white oak, cedar, and a sassafras log waiting at my sawmill behind the barn. No walnut at the moment but I do have a damaged maple that needs to be taken down. I know of at least 30 trees downed by the utility company within a mile of here - I'm sure most will be left to rot. Way too much wood to even think about!

    If you have a way to haul logs and live where trees grow contact the tree service and utility companies. The last time I did that in a short time I had more logs than I could even possibly saw into lumber.

    As for "convenient intervals": The other John Jordan (the famous one) said he has an entire log hauled in, paying someone to bring it if necessary. He does NOT cut it into chunks but leaves the entire log uncut, off the ground, out of the sun, never seals the ends. When ready to turn he cuts a 6" or so piece off the end and throws it away then cuts off a turning blank. This gives him an constant "convenient" supply of fresh green wood.

    Since I primarily turn dry wood I don't do this - I cut chunks and log sections into turning blanks, seal, and put up to dry.

    JKJ

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