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Thread: Processing Green Wood Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Lafayette, CA
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    Processing Green Wood Question

    My sister-in-law called today to say they were taking down a maple tree, and did I want some of the logs! So, I now have 8 logs....approx 8-12 inches in diameter, and averaging about 4 feet long. I've sealed the ends with Anchoseal. For a number of reasons I won't be able to turn them for at least a month...so the question is whether it's best to leave them as logs with the ends sealed (or even re-sealed every couple of weeks)...or to process them into bowl blanks, which I will then seal the end-grain on, and then these will have to wait a month or two before I can rough turn them.
    Thanks for the help-
    Izzy

  2. #2
    I would leave them long as there will be some degrade over a month's time at every cut end even with anchor seal. If you do cut them into blanks prior to rough turning, allow some extra length on each one.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy Charo View Post
    My sister-in-law called today to say they were taking down a maple tree, and did I want some of the logs! So, I now have 8 logs....approx 8-12 inches in diameter, and averaging about 4 feet long. I've sealed the ends with Anchoseal. For a number of reasons I won't be able to turn them for at least a month...so the question is whether it's best to leave them as logs with the ends sealed (or even re-sealed every couple of weeks)...or to process them into bowl blanks, which I will then seal the end-grain on, and then these will have to wait a month or two before I can rough turn them.
    Thanks for the help-
    Izzy
    The other John Jordan (the famous one) turns green wood, lots of hollow forms. He said the best solution is to acquire the entire log and leave it in log form, off the ground, and out of the sun. He doesn't bother to seal the end grain. When he is ready to turn something it cuts 6" off the end of the log then cuts a chunk his piece and turns it immediately.

    Log sections will generally crack on the ends with time regardless of sealing. The severity of the cracking depends somewhat on the wood species.

    If you are going to process them in to bowl blanks, best to only cut what you can rough turn right away. Since your logs are only 4' long, you will waste a lot if you just turn one bowl at a time so if possible, it might be better to wait until you can turn all the bowls from a 4' log (3' after you cut off 6" from each end).

    There are a couple of other ways I know to preserve wood for longer. One is called "ponding" and is simply submerging the logs in water. The ends cannot dry this way. However, this requires a pond or creek or a big container. Another is freezing. As a test I wrapped some turning blanks with plastic and kept in a chest freezer for 10 years and they were still good. This would require a big freezer for your wood!

    Since I don't turn many bowls but prefer smaller things from dry wood, I do something entirely different. I process the logs into smaller turning blanks, avoiding the pith, seal the ends (and sometimes the side grain, depending), and put them up to dry. I have many hundreds of these now, some over 15 years old. Nearly all dry without defects if you pay attention to the sealing. I weigh samples periodically to know when they are dry.

    ambrosia_maple_IMG_20171202_141342_010.jpg bandsaw_blank_IMG_20180312_161447_777.jpg ambrosia_maple_IMG_20171202_175649_933.jpg auction_wood_2018.jpg


    JKJ

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    The other John Jordan (the famous one) turns green wood, lots of hollow forms. He said the best solution is to acquire the entire log and leave it in log form, off the ground, and out of the sun. He doesn't bother to seal the end grain. When he is ready to turn something it cuts 6" off the end of the log then cuts a chunk his piece and turns it immediately.

    Log sections will generally crack on the ends with time regardless of sealing. The severity of the cracking depends somewhat on the wood species.

    If you are going to process them in to bowl blanks, best to only cut what you can rough turn right away. Since your logs are only 4' long, you will waste a lot if you just turn one bowl at a time so if possible, it might be better to wait until you can turn all the bowls from a 4' log (3' after you cut off 6" from each end).

    There are a couple of other ways I know to preserve wood for longer. One is called "ponding" and is simply submerging the logs in water. The ends cannot dry this way. However, this requires a pond or creek or a big container. Another is freezing. As a test I wrapped some turning blanks with plastic and kept in a chest freezer for 10 years and they were still good. This would require a big freezer for your wood!

    Since I don't turn many bowls but prefer smaller things from dry wood, I do something entirely different. I process the logs into smaller turning blanks, avoiding the pith, seal the ends (and sometimes the side grain, depending), and put them up to dry. I have many hundreds of these now, some over 15 years old. Nearly all dry without defects if you pay attention to the sealing. I weigh samples periodically to know when they are dry.

    ambrosia_maple_IMG_20171202_141342_010.jpg bandsaw_blank_IMG_20180312_161447_777.jpg ambrosia_maple_IMG_20171202_175649_933.jpg auction_wood_2018.jpg


    JKJ
    The caveat here is the diameter of the chunks. Hard for me to call an 8" diameter piece a log. Pretty sure the famous John Jordan wouldn't even start on an 8-12" branch or stem. At least he didn't when I took a class from him in his shop. Small diameter stock is going to have much higher stresses than a 24" log after sitting for a month (and also when you turn it). I'd slip a plastic garbage bag over the ends and leave it whole. Maybe spray the ends of water every couple of weeks. I had to look up where you live, luckily it's not souther Ca.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    The caveat here is the diameter of the chunks. Hard for me to call an 8" diameter piece a log. Pretty sure the famous John Jordan wouldn't even start on an 8-12" branch or stem. At least he didn't when I took a class from him in his shop. Small diameter stock is going to have much higher stresses than a 24" log after sitting for a month (and also when you turn it). I'd slip a plastic garbage bag over the ends and leave it whole. Maybe spray the ends of water every couple of weeks. I had to look up where you live, luckily it's not souther Ca.
    I have successfully process green wood into useful dry blanks from logs sized from 4 to 4 in diameter. There are a lot of factors to consider besides the size, many ive learned over the years from experience.

    JJ does like big wood but he also does use smaller logs, sometimes for end grain hollow forms or vases with the pith included. And even an 8 log can make a useful, but small face grain bowl. The process of storing and processing is the same. Limb wood is terrible for sawing into boards but can be great for turning. Some of Johns articles may be useful. Here are a couple, there are many others. Some of the information is duplicated, er, reinforced. Questions, call him and ask.

    https://www.johnjordanwoodturning.co...wood_total.pdf
    https://www.johnjordanwoodturning.co...pact_total.pdf

    Anyone near who can use some wood bring your mask an come visit. I currently have piles of green wood from 4 to 18 in a variety of species, many 8-12 in diameter. (black locust, osage, walnut, box elder, cherry, hackberry, apple, asian pear, dogwood, and more. Local turners have been hauling it of off for weeks. Any that remains is going into the burn pit. Ive processed a lot of it into turning blanks to dry but its way more than I have time for.

    JKJ

  6. #6
    8 inch diameter logs are perfect for making 7 inch bowls. That is a size I would consider to be a small personal salad bowl, I like big salads. Perfect size for cereal bowl, chip bowl, and what ever other snacks you have to put in them. Great for practice.

    robo hippy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Lafayette, CA
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    Thanks for all of the advice! Much appreciated! I've sealed the ends (X2) with Anchorseal and covered them with tarp. Looking forward to making lots of salad bowls and practicing techniques....just as soon as my shop renovation is done and I have access to my tools...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy Charo View Post
    Thanks for all of the advice! Much appreciated! I've sealed the ends (X2) with Anchorseal and covered them with tarp. Looking forward to making lots of salad bowls and practicing techniques....just as soon as my shop renovation is done and I have access to my tools...
    Great! Just to be clear, the tarp should not reach to the ground to allow plenty of air circulation. Not as important in cold seasons. Some people cover with plywood or sections of metal roofing.

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