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preparing blanks

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Michael Shields23/04/2011 10:20:39
51 forum posts
21 photos

hi folks ive just spent the last month trying to prepare blanks for my woodturning. i aquired a an old record lathe for nothing and have now spent about £300 getting going. i put the word out amongfriends and family for wood and low and behold forests where offered. anyway after a bit of studying and trial and error i,m puzzeld with the preping of my blanks. i reduced the logs of oak , laburnum, silverbirch, sycamore to sizes i could get on my lathe and turned some to round after a few days i noticed checks and other craks appearing on the end grain and in some cases along the side, i put these to one side to see what was happening and these faults have now gone to centre. ok bought parrafin wax and prepared more blanks and i was amazed at how quick the cracks where appearing, ie overnight. i then got my process down to size from log, turn round, date and wax seal the sides leaving the end grain to vent out the moisture. my concern is how much will i lose of my stock and how can stablieze the moisture loss. some of the stock is fresh cut ie march, and some upto 2years ago. its over to you now i,m all ears.

Steve J W23/04/2011 11:02:14
137 forum posts
9 photos
this is a previouse post with a few answers -
i have a pile of wood in the field that i put for logs for my burner - the lengths are from 3 - 6 ft all the ends have split but yesterday i gut a few of the ends off and the splits dont go in to far, i have then put pva glue on the ends of my cut bitts, i have been told to store lengths of wood its best keep them at 3 ft + then remove the ends before they go to the lathe,
dennis wake23/04/2011 17:51:47
2044 forum posts
1451 photos
1 articles
hi Micheal and Steven
Micheal firstly you have sealed the logs wrong you should of put the seal on to the end grain and not down the sides of the stump.
also if you are wanting them for bowl blanks then you need to plank the log first then cut to a blank and then seal the end of the blank that is wen you role the blank in the sealer. it looks from your photos that you have prepared the logs for turning vases. but as i have just say you need to seal the end grain to slow down the moisture loss. with bowl blanks round the rim and vases on the end i hope this is of help but have a Read of the other post for more help.
BillW23/04/2011 19:26:07
711 forum posts
21 photos
Many years ago there was chemical called PEG, that was very popular, does anyone remember it, has anyone used it and is it still available.
Derek Lane23/04/2011 23:10:11
3219 forum posts
1004 photos
As said before leave the logs as long as possible seal the ends do this the same day as you get them. Also try to cut down the centre if they are large logs as the cracking startes from the centre. If you want to cut them down and rough turn them then seal put them into a plastic bag surrounded with the shavings straight away
Doug24/04/2011 08:34:02
3415 forum posts
35 photos
I remember PEG, Craft supplies used to sell it when they were in Millers Dale, i don`t know if they sill do.
It wasn`t that cheap, if i remember correctly & though i never used it myself, i did read reports of items splitting long after they had been turned & finished, which from what was said, was put down to the use of PEG.
Personally i`d rather let the wood dry naturally in it`s solid state or if i`m in a hurry, turn it over sized wet, force dry it in paper bags in the house & then re-mount & finish.

Edited By baz on 24/04/2011 08:35:12

BillW24/04/2011 09:08:26
711 forum posts
21 photos
Thanks Baz,
I had wondered what had happened to it, that explains it.
Other than your "forced drying" I think the key is the slower the better.
Julian24/04/2011 11:56:50
556 forum posts
28 photos
You know I don't think I have seen anything about preparing blanks on this site or in the mags recently - Perhaps the powers that be could pressurize someone into writing one for the Mag - Julian
Derek Lane24/04/2011 17:35:07
3219 forum posts
1004 photos
Another way to dry very quick is to use the microwave(NOT when the missus is at home). I have one I got off freecycle just for this purpose. Can't remember where but if I can find it there is an article on the web on how to do it.
Can't you tell I have not had to do it this way for sometime the old grey cells ain't working that well
George Arnold24/04/2011 20:39:43
1834 forum posts
191 photos
Peg. or to give it it's full name Polyethylene Glycol, I have a quantity in store , I purchased it, must be 17 years ago and never used it, I also have a book by Patric Spielman that explains the way it works and how it is used. it seems it had a use for rifle buts as it stabalised the wood , also for slabs for table tops, there was a lot of research done in America,
Micheal O'Donnell mentions in his book Turning Green Wood saying it was used for stabilizing the timbers from underwater archaeological wrecks when they are taken out of water for display,but he was not impressed with it's use for wood turning , saying the process takes as long as normal drying the part turned bowl.

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