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Thread: Green or dried wood which do turner prefer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Quorn United Kingdom
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    639

    Green or dried wood which do turner prefer

    I would be interested to know

    (1) What is the ratio of green wood to purchased kiln dried wood members turn

    (2) How often do members purchase Kiln dried wood

    (3) Where do turners obtain there wood

    (4) Which wood do you prefer green of kiln dried

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    11,349
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Deakin View Post
    I would be interested to know

    (1) What is the ratio of green wood to purchased kiln dried wood members turn

    (2) How often do members purchase Kiln dried wood

    (3) Where do turners obtain there wood

    (4) Which wood do you prefer green of kiln dried
    Statistics like that might be hard to come by! So many turners, so many preferences...

    My own observations from clubs and such:

    Most woodturners turn bowls and most use green wood.
    Some reasons:
    - Dry wood in bowl sizes is almost impossible to get.
    - In this part of the country green wood is free in any size.
    - Turners I know around here get wood from tree services, wood dumps, neighbors, places they drive by and see trees cut.
    - Turning green wood is easy - easy to learn and easy to turn

    I am no stranger to turning green wood and big bowls but I don't enjoy it much - partly because the lack of challenge.

    I have purchased kiln dried wood once, and that was only to supply wood for a class and someone else was paying for it.
    I have acquired (by trade or purchase) thick planks of dry wood suitable for shallow bowls or platters. Much of that is not local wood.
    I have a sawmill behind the barn and have cut large slabs and blanks and have air dried them.
    I process local green logs into turning blanks and dry them. I've made many 100s of blanks this way.
    Good sources for dry local woods are sometimes hard to find.
    Sources for good exotic wood are everywhere, online, within driving distances for many. I often purchase exotics from Big Monk Lumber - just call him up and see what he has.

    I far prefer to turn dry wood, usually for smaller things like boxes, spindles, small platters and bowls, ornaments, and such. Some pictures in an album here (three pages): https://sawmillcreek.org/album.php?albumid=862

    I've posted these before but just a few examples (of many) of some dry and drying wood in my shop:
    Dec_2020_003.jpg Dec_2020_006.jpg Dec_2020_007.jpg
    This is either wood I processed and dried myself or bought or traded. Almost all wood I've purchased is exotic species, ebony, rosewoods, etc. At last count I had something like 140 species of wood in the shop, many exotics.

    I know other turners who, like me, prefer to turn dry wood. Nearly all of them are highly skilled and highly creative turners!

    JKJ

  3. #3
    All of my bowls are once turned from green wood. Zero cost, and I think a warped bowl is more honest to the nature of wood than a twice turned bowl. I have a couple hundred dry roughed blanks for turned lidded boxes. But likely all my spindles (egg, stair, hat stand, spurtles, JKJ's magic wands, etc) are using kiln dried wood.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Lummi Island, WA
    Posts
    594
    I turn primarily bowls - so, wet wood is what I turn most often - getting blanks roughed for drying. I love the roughing process - it allows a means of practicing finish cuts and endless possibilities for exploring design options. Its the best way of learning proper tool presentation I've found.
    I just came in from roughing an 18" blank - got a 17" bowl roughed, sliced a lid/platter from the top, cored three bowls out of the center.
    These will all dry together on the shelf. The smallest cored bowl will be used to test dryness and remind me how this wood likes to be cut - its sacrificial
    So turning wet wood is my favorite thing to do - helps me learn better tool control and fills the shelves with blanks to finish turn.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    2,576
    1) 99.9% green, until I slowed up my turning. Now all my stock has been sitting around for maybe 10 years, so air dried now
    2) I've been turning for 36 years, I don't remember the last time I bought turning blanks. It would have been some odd sale at Woodcraft if I did.
    3) City recycling dump or people calling me about a log.
    4) Obviously I prefer green. I prefer it to be throwing water when I spin it up. Turning green wood is like peeling a potato. It also allows me to get 8" thick blanks up to 20" diameter. Hard to find that in kiln dried!

  6. #6
    First preference is for green wood, specifically that which has the spring sap running. For some reason, I get less cracking from that wood than from mid to late summer wood. Turn to final thickness and let it warp. The more it warps, but more I like it. Pacific Madrone is my most favorite. Love the red color, and it warps with no predictability.

    Second choice is air dried lumber, with solar kiln or vacuum kiln being very close. If you take one of these boards and rip or cross cut it on your table saw, you get shavings. With standard kiln dried boards you get dust.

    About the only standard kiln dried wood I get is for furniture, but again, I prefer air dried, solar or vacuum kiln wood.

    robo hippy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Montfort, Wi.
    Posts
    476
    Interesting response Reed, I've always heard winter wood is better because the sap is in the roots, not the tree. You're work is a testimony that it works for you. You're a keen observer.

  8. #8
    I don't turn anything so green it sprays droplets like a sprinkler. I turn mostly half dry to dry and don't buy wood, except for rare very special projects. I have over 30 acres of woods, with black cherry, black walnut, hackberry, red maple, sassafrass, river birch, yellow poplar and hickory. Don't know of any reason to buy wood. I keep a supply in a 12 x 12 stall in the pole barn, stacked and drying to dry. I buy kiln dried Bass that has been cut to uniform size for some small projects. That happens about once a year. And I often cut my own spindle turning stock from the dry wood from the barn. I get free 3.5 x 3.5 cut offs from the local saw mill, and have about at least a half ton of that stacked in the barn drying.

  9. #9
    All woods will dry differently. In my years of working with madrone, which is far more prone to splitting than most woods, the spring wood seems to dry with less cracking than the later woods. No clue as to why. I seem to get more warping too, but that may just be because the water content is higher. Not so sure if other less crack prone woods will dry better if I get spring wood or not. I have gotten a couple of trees that were dead standing. Bowl blanks would shatter over night if left whole. I didn't seal them though. I do now use stretch film around my blanks if I am not going to get to them for a day or two. Had one madrone blank last 6 months which really surprised me. Maple will mold under the stretch film.

    robo hippy

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
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    2,576
    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    I don't turn anything so green it sprays droplets like a sprinkler. I turn mostly half dry to dry and don't buy wood, except for rare very special projects. I have over 30 acres of woods, with black cherry, black walnut, hackberry, red maple, sassafrass, river birch, yellow poplar and hickory. Don't know of any reason to buy wood. I keep a supply in a 12 x 12 stall in the pole barn, stacked and drying to dry. I buy kiln dried Bass that has been cut to uniform size for some small projects. That happens about once a year. And I often cut my own spindle turning stock from the dry wood from the barn. I get free 3.5 x 3.5 cut offs from the local saw mill, and have about at least a half ton of that stacked in the barn drying.
    Watch your barn drying wood Perry. Notorious storage for powder post beetles. I'd suggest a good coating of Timbor as a preventative pesticide.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    11,349
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    Watch your barn drying wood Perry. Notorious storage for powder post beetles. I'd suggest a good coating of Timbor as a preventative pesticide.
    Yes, before learning this I had a some wood air-drying in the barn loft turn to powder from the beetles.

    The timbor needs to be applied immediately. Once while cutting fresh sugar maple chunks out in front of my garage I noticed a "swarm" of tiny insects flying towards me, apparently drawn by the smell of the maple. I watched as some landed on the wood and immediately started chewing into the surface, presumably to lay eggs. I didn't have Timbor but I immediately sprayed the wood down with insecticide.

    Once PPBs are in the wood, you might not see evidence until years later. A friend gave me a number of 2x2x24" dry walnut squares he had stored outside for years. I stacked them in my shop on a shelf. At one point I heard a very faint "scritch, scritch, scritch" sound and watched as a PPB emerged from the end grain of one. All those blanks went outside!

    JKJ

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