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 Post subject: green birch turning
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, MS
Started turning these from a green birch log Gene and I salvaged. Turned with the grain (ie. grain going top to bottom with heart wood of the tree in the middle of each turning). Left a tenon on top and bottom to finish later. Wood is green with a lot of sap. Can't sand it because it just clogs up the paper. I know it is going to probably warp and split as it dries.
Anyone know what to do with these to salvage something out of them. I have a piece of this log left and two more pieces. One is a huge piece of crouch wood. Any ideas, suggestions, warnings, or whatever appreciated. [img]
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 8:49 pm 
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Dang, George. That stuff is prettier than I thought it would be! You know I'm not a turner, but I recall someone mentioning a few years ago that soaking in denatured alcohol will remove the moisture while preventing cracking, etc. Not sure of the details, so maybe someone else will chime in.

But you gave me the itch to start cutting some of that tree up. :-D Sure you don't want to go back after the stump? It's still there.

PS: Found this about DNA drying. http://www.woodcentral.com/articles/tur ... _473.shtml

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 9:36 pm 
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Yea, it will be very nice if I can get it done without warping and cracking. Looks nice rough so it sure should turn out great sanded to a smooth finish.
Guess we could get some more of that tree if you want. Sure hate to waste good free wood. Call me!


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 8:52 am 
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Do a google search on alcohol drying and Dave Smith. He has an extensive article on it. The basics are: soak in denatured alcohol over night, put in brown paper bag, weigh each day until it/they stop loosing weight, return. I have done this a couple of times, and it does work


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 8:52 am 
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Do a google search on alcohol drying and Dave Smith. He has an extensive article on it. The basics are: soak in denatured alcohol over night, put in brown paper bag, weigh each day until it/they stop loosing weight, return to turning. I have done this a couple of times, and it does work.

Double post, sorta.


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 Post subject: Re: green birch turning
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 11:42 am 
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MightyMite wrote:
... I know it is going to probably warp and split as it dries. ...


If the wood was as green as you describe I fear your pieces are indeed going to crack quite severely. In fact the one in the third photo appears to be cracked already.

I've tried the DNA soaking thing with limited success. Could be I didn't have enough patience. For me the biggest drawback is the cost of the DNA to provide total immersion of big pieces. Plus it 1)evaporates over time and 2) after working on a few pieces the alky absorbs the moisture in the wood and becomes less and less effective.

Some time ago I read an article where the guy tried soaking his green wood in liquid dishwasher soap concentrate. I had as much success with that as I did alcohol plus it's cheaper. The soap provides some lubrication for the tools as well making turning that much easier.

The log(s) look like they're big enough diameter to produce a fair size bowl when turned in faceplate orientation. I'd give that a try. You'll have much better results if you eliminate the pith entirely and I think you'll be pleased with the grain pattern that results.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 2:05 pm 
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I am a Dave Smith Alky process user.
I have great success using it.
If price is an issue you can get a bunch of guys together and buy the Denatured Alcohol by the 55 gallon drum. Almost any Chemical supplier will be able to help you.
Here is one
http://www.brackinwholesale.com/node/5151

I don't do that, but I do buy mine at a local hardware store in 5 gallon quantities. Costs me $35 for 5 gallons. I use about 10 gallons a year.
I get mine at Aubuchon Hardware
http://paint-and-supplies.hardwarestore ... googlebase

As for the Two turnings pictured....I fear they are doomed to checking as is. Radial cracking will result as they dry further. It appears the wall thickness is not even and they are kinda thick for short time drying. All of that will probably result in adverse reactions. Of course not all wood reacts the same and you could get lucky (not probable) but technically possible.

One way you might be able to slow the drying rate down is to place the turnings in a plastic grocery bag. Every day pull the turned item out of the bag and turn bag inside out. Place the item back in bag and repeat every day until it stops losing weight. By flipping the bag you should stop any mold and slow the rate of drying.

In the future
Best bet is to section the log blank like this (|) along the grain of the log. Then turn the two sections. the result will be more stable.
Here is Bill Grumbine's article on harvesting turning wood.
http://www.wonderfulwood.com/articles/logcutting.html

Good Luck, Keep turning.
---Nailer---

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 2:23 pm 
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Since I was the closest to the tree, I'll chime in for George. It was cut down 2 days before I called George and we went to salvage it the next day. It's about as wet and green as anything I've ever laid hands on. I have most of it in my lean-to in log form, and probably won't do anything with it till fall at the earliest.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 5:11 am 
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Endgrain turnings are best done thin and allowed free flow of air and warp. It's difference in moisture content that destroys a turning, and going thin doesn't allow differential contraction, because moisture loss is rapid and equal. Flat is the worst way to go, because there's a lot of wood in one direction to contract as a unit, even if there's little in the others. Bowl shapes, and that means curved shapes, are much more survivable.

You've chosen a wood which has good survival potential. Birch has grain reversals to randomize shrinkage - like elm, but smells better! Woods like poplars and willows are also good choices. If you make shallow bowls, continuously curved and a half inch or less in thickness, you'll have a better shot. The heart checks showing in your photos will come under compression as the outside dries, and will close. The heart is the driest part of the wood right now.

Water vapor is diluted into air at a much higher rate than into liquid. Chemistry of liquid mixtures (not solutions) also shows us that the components act independently when it comes to evaporation. Save your money and avoid the fire danger alcohol poses. Won't hurt the wood, but won't help, either.


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 Post subject: Re: green birch turning
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 3:44 pm 
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I ┬┤ll agree with Dennis:
[i]"You'll have much better results if you eliminate the pith entirely and I think you'll be pleased with the grain pattern that results."[/i

Ive tried to dry projexts like that in plastic bags, but then they mold, get stinky and discolored. Remove the core, turn the bowls almost ready. Let them dry slowly over weeks. They will warp, yes but not crack if pith isnt there and they dry reasonable slowly. Then you put them back on the lathe again to turn the last things.
It s the way I ve succeded with project like that. My father taught me it and he read about it in some pre historic English book, he said. (Probably printed in the sixties...)
/Anders


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