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Thread: Worth turning this blank with pith?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Worth turning this blank with pith?

    Someone was generous enough to offer me this monkeypod blank for turning on a recent trip, it's about 12" by 5", but has the pith right down the center of one end. It's more off center at the other end. If I just chuck it up and turn I'll have at least one big pith "eye" in the wall of the bowl, on the other end I think I can turn it away. I'd hate to just trash it. I don't mind filling with epoxy/sawdust/coffe grinds down the road either.

    Option 1: Turn it thin, let it move and see what survives?
    Option 2: Rough turn, let it dry, fill cracks with epoxy/decoration and finish turn (I've done this with other problematic wood but never straight on pith). Maybe even drill out the pith and count on filling it with something?
    Option 3: Cut it into 3"x12" blanks for pepper mills.
    Option 4: Cut into 4 smaller blanks and turn small change bowls/candy bowls.

    Thoughts?
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    Where did I put that?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    I'll go with #3 or #4.
    I've never turned "monkey pod" but if it's like anything else i've turned it will most definitely split wide open with the pith in it.

  3. #3
    Option 5: Slice 3/4" on each side of the pith parallel to the two large checks that have developed. Turn a thin platter from the top piece (in the picture) and 2 small dishes from the bottom pieces.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Monkeypod is usually pretty stable. I normally don't turn with the pith in, but that doesn't look too bad. Personally, I'd chance the big bowl. Rough turn it and see what happens. If it cracks, patch with "pevas" (butterfly inlays). Or however you fix things. I like imperfect wood items, I think they are more attractive, but that's just me. The wormy/cracked/patched/filled items seem to sell much slower though. Good luck!
    Oh. I just started experimenting patching with man made turquoise and CA. That may be nice on a dark wood.

  5. #5
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    Kyle: Yea, I've been looking at the Pevas on a few pieces over at WOWs. Pretty cool looking. I've got the templates and router bushings...

    Prashun: I did think about platters as well. It may be pushing the limits of my bandsaw to cut the slabs but that's definitely an option. I think I would use glue blocks as tenons to save depth, think the glue would work on green wood?
    Where did I put that?

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Price View Post
    Think the glue would work on green wood?
    I use CA glue for glue blocks on green wood and haven't had any problems.

  7. #7
    That looks like a cross hairs type of pith checking, side to side, and up and down. I would quarter it as much as possible on the crack lines. If you try to turn one big bowl out of that, there is a good risk of it coming apart as you turn. Bigger risk of it coming apart after you turn. For me, it isn't worth all of the extra work of trying to fix the cracks. I would make some thing else out of it...

    robo hippy

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    You could also cut the section along pith removing section about 1-1/2" wide and then make 4 smaller natural edge small vases/pots and also have some spindle/pen/???? material from removed pith section. The long sections with the light/dark wood would not be my choice for a endgrain vase, but would make dramatic side grain vase/pot. You did not mention the moisture content which will also be a big factor in using the section.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    lufkin tx
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    I have turned hundreds of bowls and urns with the pith in. Use a 3" glueblock and thick CA glue and twice turn it. Leave the glueblock on until ready to sign and sell. If you have cracks in it it,s already drying some--just glue up the cracks with dyed epoxy glue and then mount the glueblock. Rough out and slather with endseal and put it on the shelf for several months or hurry it and deal with cracks. I do vases across the pith side to side this way and seldom ever have a crack. The CA glued on block really seems to prevent cracks on the pith area. A pretty piece of wood deserves some patience.

  10. #10
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    For what I can see, if you don’t want to chance turning it with the pith and splits in it, here’s another plan, use your bandsaw to cut the piece, glue a waste block on after turning a flat spot for it, then you will have a couple mill blanks and round spindles for candle sticks or something.

    MP blank.jpg


    Have fun and take care

  11. #11
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    I actually had a buddy unexpectedly give me some extra band saw blades today- maybe itís a sign I should try sawing this down...

  12. #12
    You could try splitting it with axe or fro along the crack lines, which would take care of 'where are the cracks and how deep to they go?' and then cut them up accordingly. this method would leave you with good sound wood...

    robo hippy

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Not worth turning. PM me and I'll send you an address for shipping and I'll take care of it for you.

    Gene

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Well played, Gene...

    So I cut a little bit on the bandsaw- this stuff is dry. Bone dry. I have no idea how long itís been sitting but I figured I would give it a go.

    Ever tried turning an entire bowl from dry stock? Not fun. My gouge was getting scorching hot, and thatís with frequent sharpening. Dust and chips, very few shavings.

    I was able to rough it out, I left it thinner than I normally do because Iíll be shocked if it looses an ounce of weight. But itís about 3/4 thick, sealed up, Iíll check it in a week or two and see if itís lost any weight.

    The cracks are still there, they didnít open up any. I filled them with ebony dust and CA glue. Iíll put a couple of butterfly pewas across the cracks. Iím working on figuring out those per my other post.

    Man this stuff tears out just looking at it. I figure my re-turning will be primarily removing tear out.
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    Where did I put that?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Price View Post
    Ever tried turning an entire bowl from dry stock? Not fun. My gouge was getting scorching hot, and thatís with frequent sharpening. Dust and chips, very few shavings.
    ...
    Man this stuff tears out just looking at it. I figure my re-turning will be primarily removing tear out.
    Most of what I turn is from dry wood so I understand. You get used to it after a while.

    Depending on the wood I try different things for clean cuts in dry wood:
    - Apply some sanding sealer and let dry, I like the shellac-based sealer but also have used the lacquer. I sometimes thin it even more.
    or
    - Mist the surface with water just before the cut. Softens the fibers and sometimes cuts cleaner. Won't' soak in enough to affect the wood inside.
    - Sharp, sharp, sharp and light cuts, of course. I like the Hunter Hercules or Osprey for such cuts but I'll also try sharp bowl gouges, usually a smaller one such as a 3/8".

    JKJ

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