Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: How to season log section

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    16

    How to season log section

    Question- I have two billets of bradford pear, 12-18" diameter, 16-20" long. I would like to season them for turnings, tool handles, etc. Should I paint the ends, split them, leave them whole? Any recommendations?

  2. #2
    How you prepare them depends on what you want to make. The chances of successfully drying a whole log section is very poor. Split in half through the pith and sealed ends - the chance of success goes up. Cut into 2 x 2 x ?? spindle blanks and end sealed - the chances are very good for any blanks that do not have pith or knots. If you want to make bowls, it is better to rough them out thick before drying.
    _______________________________________
    When failure is not an option
    Mediocre is assured.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    7,548
    I agree with Dennis - drying the entire short log in the round will most likely lead to a nice pile of firewood.

    I seal the ends immediately then soon as possible slice them up into turning blanks. I remove the pith or cut squares so the pith is right at the corner. I've successfully dried bradford pear squares and bowl blanks maybe 6-8" square or 8" in diameter. It is in fact a lot easier to dry 2x2 to 4x4 or so squares.

    After cutting in to square blanks on the bandsaw, I trim the ends, bend a thin end grain slice to check for cracks, then seal the end grain and put on the shelf to dry. I usually let large chunks dry for years. You can periodically weigh pieces to know for sure when they are dry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Ford View Post
    How you prepare them depends on what you want to make. The chances of successfully drying a whole log section is very poor. Split in half through the pith and sealed ends - the chance of success goes up. Cut into 2 x 2 x ?? spindle blanks and end sealed - the chances are very good for any blanks that do not have pith or knots. If you want to make bowls, it is better to rough them out thick before drying.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    16
    Dennis and John, Good advice, thanks. I'll splint at least in half and seal the ends.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    San Diego, Ca
    Posts
    1,132
    William, please come back and let us know how it comes out.

    Some people have said that you should figure 1 year for every inch of thickness. That is why - - especially for bowls - - that most people rough them out. If the 1 yr/in is reality, plan on waiting a long time before they are fully dry.

    That is why I follow John J's advice. I don't like to waste otherwise good wood and I don't like to wait several years for the wood to dry.

    Also - - and this is a big motivator for me - - I find that roughing green wood is 10X easier than turning bone dry wood. It actually is a boat-load of fun throwing streams of shavings several feet away.

    But let us know how just splitting and sealing work for you. Maybe, I'm taking unnecessary steps? Or not?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    16
    Bruce, I wlll do that, but (ahem) it might be a while. I also am familiar with the 1 inch/year drying rule, and have followed it. I really don't want to wait a decade before using this wood.
    I did just receive a gallon of Anchorseal (a gallon was only about $10 more than a quart, go figure).
    I'll need to give some thought to what I really want to make and split according to that plan.
    Good recommendations here.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    7,548
    From my reading the "one year per inch" rule of thumb has largely been debunked as too widely variable depending on the species and drying conditions (i.e., humidity, temperature).

    Professor Gene Wengert writes on the wood web in response to this question:
    I read that when air drying 8/4 lumber, the rule-of-thumb is one year per inch plus a year... 3 years to dry 8/4 stock. Is there a rule-of-thumb for air drying stock thicker than 8/4? How long to dry a 12" x 12" timber? Would it ever actually dry?
    The response:
    That rule of thumb is not even close to the truth. For 4/4, oftentimes it is well air dried within 60 days; 8/4 in about 180 days of good weather. Air drying longer than needed can increase checking, warp, discoloration, etc. In fact, get air dried lumber into a shed to prevent these losses, as rain and sun cause loss.
    There is more in that thread and others.

    Regardless, thick blocks and chunks are a different game. I get a quick check near the surface with a moisture meter. If the block is well sealed the surface method is not bad since the internal moisture gradient has more time to equlibriate. However, I rely on the weight method to be sure - I write the weight in grams on a piece of masking tape on the blocks and reweigh every few months or so. When the weight doesn't change over a period of several months it's considered at EMC, as dry as it's going to get. Some pieces are dry in a surprisingly short time. I dry all turning wood indoors.

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by William Flather View Post
    Bruce, I wlll do that, but (ahem) it might be a while. I also am familiar with the 1 inch/year drying rule, and have followed it. I really don't want to wait a decade before using this wood.
    I did just receive a gallon of Anchorseal (a gallon was only about $10 more than a quart, go figure).
    I'll need to give some thought to what I really want to make and split according to that plan.
    Good recommendations here.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    16
    John, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, TX
    Posts
    2,384
    I advocate cutting a pith slab about 15% of diameter out of sections to better eliminate the checking at pith. The slabs are quarter sawn material and useful for turning saucers or thin bowls, spindle turning, or cut thicker sections for lidded boxes or other end grain hollow forms. The 15% does not have to be the actual slab thickness, but the removed section to cover the pith area. Any pith left at the edge of a bowl rim for standard bowl or on tenon of natural edge bowl almost always will result in a check with turning thick to twice turn.

  10. #10
    This sounds like a promising future for my nova chuck.

    thanks,

    clint

    this posted in the wrong thread.... Sorry
    Last edited by Clint Bach; 01-15-2019 at 10:42 PM. Reason: Posted to the wrong thread

  11. #11
    Oops that last post from me went to the wrong place.... Sorry, I hope things didn't get too confused.

    clint

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    7,548
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Canfield View Post
    I advocate cutting a pith slab about 15% of diameter out of sections to better eliminate the checking at pith...
    I have one exception on removing the pith when preparing square blanks for drying. I will sometimes leave it in the very corner of a square end grain blank. Cracks here are unlikely due to the geometry and if they develop they are both minor and in wood that will be cut away when rounded. Some species like sassafras, walnut, and ERC are far more forgiving. Some like holly, dogwood, and red oak are not. Dogwood, in fact, can crack horribly at the simple junction of the dark heartwood and lighter sapwood due to the big difference in shrinkage rates (far higher for the sapwood). For blanks like this I not only seal the end grain but seal any side that has both heart and sapwood.

    For woods I've had trouble with I also might seal a side that is mostly tangential to the rings. That means for dogwood with heart and sapwood I might seal like this to be on the safe side since the tangential face sometimes will crack:

    seal_transition.jpg

    When in doubt, seal the entire blank! I do that for most burls and wild grain. Exotic species are often sold covered completely in a thick coating of paraffin. Some will still crack unless boiled. (Boiling can fix almost any stability problem.)

    But I always remember that individual trees can behave far differently than others of the same species. I once had to take down a huge black cherry which turned out to be the most stable cherry I've ever experienced. One round refused to crack even when left out in the sun for years.

    JKJ

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •