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Thread: Wood turning blanks online

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    San Jose, CA
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    24

    Wood turning blanks online

    Hi everyone,

    Looking for recommendations on where to find good quality, well prices bowl blanks on line? With the pandemic, I've been trying to avoid spending time inside shops, especially activities where I find myself browsing for extended periods of time

    Thanks for any advice!

    Best,
    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
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    2,170
    I mostly find mine along the side of the road, or by following the sound of chain saws in the neighborhood. An occasional note on the town facebook page has turned up interesting wood. We've got a guy on craigslist who sells high priced slabs with big cracks in them and bowl blanks for "interesting" prices. I've not really seen bowl blanks for sale really other than small dried blocks for lidded boxes and such. I think Mike Mahoney sells roughed out bowls, if that's of interest.

    For dried wood in small dimensions I buy 16/4 or 20/4 stock from the "shorts" pile at my hardwood lumber yard. They will deliver for a fee, perhaps you have someplace similar near you.

  3. #3
    an awful expensive way to avoid shops. A medical mask is a lot cheaper than shipping. As others say, there is a lot available for free. Seems wood does grow on trees. We have dozens of small saw mills and a few large hardwood suppliers near by. Cut offs are often had for free or minimal charge. A few furniture plants in central PA process their own finished wood from rough sawn blanks. They sell cut offs, imperfect pieces etc by the 4 x 4 skid carton. If you have no equipment to process blanks, your certainly limited. However at least one guy I know uses a 5ft two man cross cut saw to cut up turning wood.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    San Jose, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    I mostly find mine along the side of the road, or by following the sound of chain saws in the neighborhood. An occasional note on the town facebook page has turned up interesting wood. We've got a guy on craigslist who sells high priced slabs with big cracks in them and bowl blanks for "interesting" prices. I've not really seen bowl blanks for sale really other than small dried blocks for lidded boxes and such. I think Mike Mahoney sells roughed out bowls, if that's of interest.

    For dried wood in small dimensions I buy 16/4 or 20/4 stock from the "shorts" pile at my hardwood lumber yard. They will deliver for a fee, perhaps you have someplace similar near you.
    Hi Roger, thanks for the response. When turning with wood you find, do you normally prep the stock, then store it in the garage to dry for a year or so?

    Best,
    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    San Diego, Ca
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    1,421
    There is a fellow in Northern Ca. who sells dry Claro Walnut bowl blanks. His name is Mike Mahoney. Here is a blurb from his website (BTW, I have no pecuniary/financial interest in this - - I'm just passing this along as a courtesy to the OP):

    "Every winter I obtain large Claro Walnut trunks from the Sacramento valley. California produces 99% of all the walnuts consumed in North America. Unfortunately, after about 45 years the trees are no longer as productive as they were and are removed to plant new ones. I am a direct beneficiary of this. I contract with the farmers to buy these trees and make bowl blanks for other woodturners. All my blanks are defect-free and completely dry when you get them."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    10,055
    The defining questions: What sizes and types of blanks are you looking for? Green or dry?

    There are dealers that supply bowl blanks but due to the nature of wood, dry blanks are usually not very large. And large wet blanks freshly cut from trees are not usually sold online since they can be very heavy and can deteriorate rapidly, checking and splitting. That's the reason most people who live where wood grows get their wood from downed trees for little or no cost and turn them right away before they start to split. If you rough turn them right away many may dry without self-destructing. Just this week I had people carry off a couple of loads of cherry, walnut, black locust, osage orange, box elder, and more. Some of what we cut up was so heavy it required two of us to load. I still have piles of black locust, sassafras, holly, dogwood, apple, asian pear, hackberry, and more, some burls. What I can't cut up myself and others don't take will soon be converted to ashes.

    If you like to turn smaller bowls and platters of any size, dry blanks are easier to find. I have bought 4" thick blanks from a variety of sources. I also cut up so many log sections into turning blanks and dry them that I've run out of space.

    If you live where trees grow and like to turn medium to large bowls from green wood the best advice is to acquire a log and store it off the ground in the shade. When you want to turn something cut off the end and throw it away then cut a blank to turn. (This advice comes from the other John Jordan, the famous one.) A mistake some make is to accumulate a large pile of chunks of trees and let them turn into firewood before they get a chance to rough turn them.

    I prefer turning dry wood so I process green wood into turning squares and blanks, seal them well, and put them up to dry. I have blanks that have been drying like this since 2005, now ready to turn. If you do this yourself then after a few years you'll have all the wood you can use and it will all be free except for the time involved. (free, that is, if you live where trees grow)

    If you live where trees don't grow, there are indeed a number of wood dealers that will ship wood too you, wet and waxed or dry. This can be expensive, not only because of shipping costs but because some wood dealers like to deal in expensive exotic woods. For example, I have purchased large blocks of olive, bloodwood, tigrillo, zebra wood, ebony, lignium vitea, camphor, goncolo alves, cocobolo, and others. One helpful and trustworthy dealer I often buy from is Pete at Big Monk Lumber in Kentucky. He doesn't have a show room but if you call he might have what you are looking for. I'm sure others have their favorite dealers.

    If you are looking for dry domestic eastern woods like cherry, walnut, ash, oak, holly, maple, etc. you might consider a road trip. One gentleman I know from Australia periodically makes a sweep through the US on a wood buying tour. (in non-pandemic times) Another time a woman drove her station wagon here from desert country and when she left she was so loaded down with dry slabs her springs were completely compressed. (I have a sawmill behind the barn)

    If you are willing to pay, you might place a wanted-to-buy ad here in the Classifieds section and list what species you are interested in and the size ranges. Perhaps someone is willing to part with some of their stash. Again, shipping of heavy pieces may be expensive, more than the wood. (and you have to sign up as a Contributor to post in the Classifieds section.)

    JKJ



    Quote Originally Posted by John Strong View Post
    Hi everyone,

    Looking for recommendations on where to find good quality, well prices bowl blanks on line? With the pandemic, I've been trying to avoid spending time inside shops, especially activities where I find myself browsing for extended periods of time

    Thanks for any advice!

    Best,
    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    2,170
    I wrote a long response, but it vanished. I guess I forgot to push the send button.

    Drying thick wood takes forever and then it is hard to turn. I rough turn or core everything I can from green, trying to do it within a week of getting the wood. For boxes I use kiln dried. My loss rate for trying to dry thick blanks is very high (like 80%) despite reasonable care and Anchorseal.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Camillus, NY
    Posts
    319
    Green Valley Wood Products in Indiana. You an find them on the web. They have a big selection of green and kiln dried blanks.
    Jerry

    "It is better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation" - Herman Melville

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    I wrote a long response, but it vanished. I guess I forgot to push the send button.
    Can't count the time's I've done that! I've always wondered - a little yellow "Auto-Saved" comes up on occasion in the lower right corner of the message box. What does that do for me?

    Drying thick wood takes forever and then it is hard to turn. ...
    Takes forever to dry is right. Depending somewhat on the wood, of course.
    Just last week a friend wanted some black locust to turn and I pulled out a large log, probably 18-20" diameter from some stacked back in the weeds over 10 years ago. I cut a number of blanks from the middle of the log and the moisture content measured over 30%!

    JKJ

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    274
    Try "Johnson wood products" in Strawberry Point Iowa.Good wood and prices.
    Wally

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