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Thread: Drying bowl blanks

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    sykesville, maryland
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    232
    has anyone tried seedling heat pads?

  2. #32
    STC 1000 temperature controller.... Dirt cheap... Heat and cool 10amp relays... -50 to 210 degree C control range.... Search the net...

    My previous post seems to be lost here somewhere....

    Clint

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Bach View Post
    STC 1000 temperature controller.... Dirt cheap... Heat and cool 10amp relays... -50 to 210 degree C control range.... Search the net...
    My previous post seems to be lost here somewhere....
    Clint
    Still here: https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....98#post2897698

  4. #34
    Huh... I wonder why it's eluding my browser?

    Clint

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    I need to break down and build myself one of those. What wattage light bulb do you find best? Did you cut vents in the top?

    I'm making a small one from a large roll-around cooler big enough to hold a 5-gallon bucket. Not for drying wood or bowls but to re-liquify a bucket of honey that crystalized from getting too cool.

    JKJ
    just a hundred watt bulb
    no vents
    load it full
    needs to dry real slow
    say about two weeks

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Conway, Arkansas
    Posts
    12,607
    I still use the denatured alcohol method for soaking and drying bowls. I've had too much success with the DNA method to stop using it. Maybe I'll have to try the other methods when I come across the right materials for free.
    Thanks & Happy Wood Chips,
    Dennis -
    Get the Benefits of Being an SMC Contributor..!
    ....DEBT is nothing more than yesterday's spending taken from tomorrow's income.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
    307
    Too bad IPA is so expensive. Denatured is cheaper but still will add up over time.

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Conway, Arkansas
    Posts
    12,607
    I tend to use a 5 gallon container of DNA for a year before dumping and starting over with a fresh batch.
    Thanks & Happy Wood Chips,
    Dennis -
    Get the Benefits of Being an SMC Contributor..!
    ....DEBT is nothing more than yesterday's spending taken from tomorrow's income.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
    307
    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Peacock View Post
    I tend to use a 5 gallon container of DNA for a year before dumping and starting over with a fresh batch.
    That's about $65 (from Zoro through Walmart with free shipping) for a 5 gallon jug. How many and what size bowls do you dry? How wet are they when you start? Enough of my blanks are too big to fit into a 5 gallon bucket so I've looked into something like a 15 gallon plastic barrel (old food container) with a screw on lid. Have you thought about using a hydrometer to check how much water is in your alcohol?
    Last edited by Alex Zeller; 02-20-2019 at 1:11 PM.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Conway, Arkansas
    Posts
    12,607
    No, I don't test it. I just use it until it doesn't work any longer and dump it.
    I do have a large container that I put it in...which is larger than a 5 gallon bucket. I do turn several bowls every year that are too large to fit inside a 5 gallon bucket. I've also used a good heavy duty trash bag and padded the outside with shavings to make the DNA cover the bowl inside the bag. Takes less DNA that way too.
    Thanks & Happy Wood Chips,
    Dennis -
    Get the Benefits of Being an SMC Contributor..!
    ....DEBT is nothing more than yesterday's spending taken from tomorrow's income.

  11. #41
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Knoxville,TN.
    Posts
    53

    DNA purchase

    Dennis, could you tell me the cheapest place to buy DNA. Roger

  12. #42
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Conway, Arkansas
    Posts
    12,607
    A local lumber / building supply company near here sells it in 5 gallon cans. Last can I bought was about $64. Not cheap....but it's far cheaper for me than to end up with fancy firewood for my wood stove heater.
    Thanks & Happy Wood Chips,
    Dennis -
    Get the Benefits of Being an SMC Contributor..!
    ....DEBT is nothing more than yesterday's spending taken from tomorrow's income.

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Knoxville,TN.
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    53
    Thanks Dennis, Roger.

  14. #44
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
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    I've looked into every option and I haven't found a good source to buy it local for a reasonable amount. But you can buy it by the 5 gallon can through WalMart (through a vendor called Zoro) with free shipping the last time I looked. It seamed tempting but I figured I would need at least 10 gallons and a container (like an old food grade plastic barrel) with a large sealed lid. I figured it would be about $200 to get started. I've even looked at ways to remove the water from the alcohol. Freezing seams like an easy one for me living up north. What I haven't found is a good idea as to how much you will loose per bowl. On a small scale basis it seams like a viable option.

    But that's really exactly how everything is with turning. Other than the lathe and a few expensive attachments everything is a hundred or two here or there. Want to try turning something new, $100 will get you the correct tool for the job. Want to get multiple bowl blanks out of block of wood, a few hundred will get you a coring system. What tool junkie doesn't want it all right now?

  15. #45
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    7,544

    getting loaded with alcohol

    Alex, over the years there has been a lot of discussion and some controversy over using alcohol to aid in drying roughed out green bowls. Some say it works for them and that's fine. Some, like me, tried to do so fair comparison tests and saw no significant difference between the alcohol soaking and drying other methods, in either reduced drying time or reduced defects. I don't turn many bowls so admittedly my tests were not exhaustive. At one time there was so much processing with alcohol it almost reach a religious fervor - a few people got highly and vocally disturbed at any heathen who dared even question the process.

    When considering the cellular structure of wood it does make me wonder how effective it can be, at least on some woods. Wood like red oak has open soda-straw pores that alcohol could easily enter. I can imagine internal free water and some bound water in adjacent cells mixing with the alcohol and being removed more rapidly as the alcohol evaporates. However, the free water will leave fairly quickly on its own - it's the bound water that can take years to migrate from the center of a thick piece of wood. And many species have their pores tightly sealed with tyloses - for example white oak, osage orange, locust - which would stop even alcohol from penetrating deeply. Others, such as diffuse porous woods such as dogwood and such, have extremely small pores, also an impediment to free exchange of liquid.

    For those who have had success with alcohol soaking, I say more power to them, keep up what works. The same for those who have success with refrigerator kilns, wrapping in paper bags, the plastic bag regimen, burying in shavings, or coating with anchor seal - if it works why do anything different?

    But if so inclined and if you have the time and energy for some tests I think you should try alcohol soaking for yourself. I recommend getting just a few gallons for a test rather than making a big investment. Perhaps use the plastic bag method instead of the large container dunking method. But don't just try a bowl or two and pronounce it worthwhile - how would you know if that particular wood and bowl geometry would have behaved differently if dried a different way?

    One way to experiment: Make four or more roughed bowls from the same wood and store in water or plastic bags until ready for the test. Soak two in alcohol and dry two or more in other ways and compare the differences. For a more complete test, rough out a single bowl (or two) with thick walls and cut four quadrants, each with the same amount of end and side grain. Soak two, dry two another way. (The more data points, the better.) After some time cut a small sample from the center of each and use the oven dry method to determine the actual moisture content. This won't prove that one method will result in less loss from cracking and such but it might provide a good handle on how dry the wood is on the inside.

    If you want a sure, time proven method to reduce drying defects and speed up drying you might consider boiling. An acquaintance who exported many bowls and blanks from Peru said without boiling he would not have a business. They boiled every bowl in 55 gallon drums over wood fires. Respected turner/teacher/writer Steven Russell investigated this years ago and wrote "Boiling Green Wood Overview: In the summer of 1999, several of my Internet woodturning friends urged me to begin a comprehensive series of timber drying tests. My goal was to reduce drying defects to the absolute minimum and to discover faster and more efficient ways to accelerate the drying process. This first article on boiling green wood will profile the results of my continuing drying tests with bowls, platters and hollow forms." His web site is gone now, only available on the Wayback Machine archive, but I have downloaded many of his articles and could email that one if you want it.

    Some people still use boiling but I don't hear much about it these days. I suspect one reason is it's more trouble than many methods - you have to have a suitable container and heat source, work outside, and invest some time. There is the safety associated with fire and boiling water, even outside. And a few unthinking people have discovered to their dismay and injury that a round bowl the same diameter as the inside of a turkey fryer can plug the container and cause it to explode from trapped steam, spraying scalding water. Don't do that!

    If you do decide to use alcohol, have fun. Keep in mind the real hazards of storing and working with large amounts of highly flammable liquid in or near the shop. And one other thing about denatured alcohol - read the MSDS sheet for any brand you might purchase. In recent years, I've noticed a trend for processors to mix methyl alcohol with ethyl alcohol, presumably to stretch it out and make more money (methanol is cheaper than ethanol). However, methyl is toxic. Read up on the difference. It is recommended to use gloves since it can be absorbed though the skin. I was surprised to find that one brand of DNA I've bought for years suddenly and quietly switched formulas to includ a huge percentage of methanol.

    For me, I find a certain zen satisfaction to slowing down and letting things dry with time. In the larger scheme of things, what's a few months for a roughed bowl to dry? I'm turning wood blanks now drying since I cut them green, some in 2006 and earlier. These are small compared to big bowl blanks, of course, or they would be mostly firewood now.

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    I've looked into every option and I haven't found a good source to buy it local for a reasonable amount. But you can buy it by the 5 gallon can through WalMart (through a vendor called Zoro) with free shipping the last time I looked. It seamed tempting but I figured I would need at least 10 gallons and a container (like an old food grade plastic barrel) with a large sealed lid. I figured it would be about $200 to get started. I've even looked at ways to remove the water from the alcohol. Freezing seams like an easy one for me living up north. What I haven't found is a good idea as to how much you will loose per bowl. On a small scale basis it seams like a viable option.

    But that's really exactly how everything is with turning. Other than the lathe and a few expensive attachments everything is a hundred or two here or there. Want to try turning something new, $100 will get you the correct tool for the job. Want to get multiple bowl blanks out of block of wood, a few hundred will get you a coring system. What tool junkie doesn't want it all right now?

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