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    I was given $100 from the people I work with when I retired last week. Since I'm kinda known as a woodworker, I thought I'd use the money to buy some exotic woods - stuff I wouldn't ordinarily buy, maybe some woods to use in intarsia. So I walk into Rockler, wondering how I'm gonna do this and what I'm gonna find.

    First thing I see is a whole pallet full of 5 x 5 turning blanks for $6.50 apiece, and I visualized them ripped or resawn into 1/2 or 3/4 inch for intarsia or 1/8 to 1/4 inch for small fret ornaments or even bookmatched into all kinds of things. And they also had tables and shelves full of other kinds of turning blanks: 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 or 2 x 2, a foot long. Smaller pieces, bigger pieces. Wow!

    I walked out of there with Cocobolo, Orange Osage, Balsamo, Pan Ferro, Pink Ivory, Black Palm, Kingwood, and Granadillo. Most of it is green (for turning, covered with wax). I told the Rockler guy what I wanted it for. He said to rip or resaw it, then dry it - nuke it in the microwave, even - then scroll it. So can you dry wood by microwave and have it turn out okay? Or should I just air dry it for .. what? .. months or a year?

    This was fun -- all these wonderful rich colors and grain!

    (Oh, then I went to Woodcraft and got a Zebrawood and a Bloodwood board.)
    Kevin

    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. -- Dr. Seuss

    NEW DeWalt 788 and that old, Jimmy- Jerry- and Kevin-rigged Delta 40-560

  • #2
    Hi Kevin,

    Yes, you can nuke wood to dry it, but be careful. It is real easy to set it on fire in the microwave too. Heat for about a minute (or less) and then take out and let it cool down. Lay it on some paper towels to help soak up any moisture while it is cooling. Also check for bugs after heating it....the last time I tried this I had a microwave full of bugs that were escaping the wood. Why they didn't get nuked I have no idea. Disgusting though and the main reason I am not a big fan of nuking wood.

    I've heard you can also use your oven on low to dry out wood quickly. I have not tried that though. Probably the same possibility of bugs.

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    • #3
      Oh, that strikes me as bizarre. Of course, I'm not used to dealing with green wood, either. Seems like wood in general would have insect holes all through it that you could see, like swiss cheese, but it doesn't. I do like the idea of the oven, though, to also get rid of the wax.

      Thanks for the confirmation!
      Kevin

      Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. -- Dr. Seuss

      NEW DeWalt 788 and that old, Jimmy- Jerry- and Kevin-rigged Delta 40-560

      Comment


      • #4
        I've used resawn turning blanks also, but ALWAYS kiln dried blocks as I do not have the patience to wait for them to dry....
        ‎"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They're easier to ignore before you see their faces. It's easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes."

        D. Platt

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        • #5
          Is all wood sold for turning green wood? I purchased a piece of Maple on Fri. 6 x 6 x 1 3/4 thick, the sign said it was for bowl turnings, but I thought what the heck I can use that on the scroll saw. I was looking for something to make Diana Thompson's Swan Keepsake box out of. So I purchased the piece of wood, and it was so difficult to cut I almost gave up. I thought it was the hardest piece of wood I have used, I was baffled, because I have cut 1 1/2" maple, without any problems, but this piece ended up so badly burned, I had to paint it. Maybe it was because it was green wood and should've been dryed before I used it.
          Marsha
          LIFE'S SHORT, USE IT WELL

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          • #6
            Don't nuke it, don't cut it, don't touch it. Put a sticky note on it and walk away for at least 5 yrs on anything between 2 and 5 inches thick. If it's thicker than 5 inches, rip it in half only and then rewax it and shelve it. But this info pertains to it actually being green. It is not likely that you have green wood though, but without a moisture meter, we won't know. Usually the turning blocks are burls and exotics that don't take well to a kiln, so they are waxed and air dried and then after so much time, they go to market to be sold. Never microwave or put wood in an oven, you will damage the cell structure. All wood has a specific drying schedule, assuming it is a wood that can be kiln dried. To dry wood to fast causes the inside of the wood to shrink too fast, the cells collaps and you end up with internal cracking. You'll cut out something and yea, it'll look great for a few weeks then distortion and warping and splitting will occur. The wood is waxed to allow moisture to escape at the slowest possible rate. The slower it dries the more stable and usefull the wood is. Forget everything you will ever see or read about people with microwave. Weigh them blocks and write the weights on them, then reweigh them in 6 months, then 6 more months...keep doing that untill they can't way less. Get a dehumidifier at that point, wrap the wood and the dehumidifier in plastic and put it on a timer for 6 hrs per 24 hr period, and do that for 30 days.
            Jeff Powell

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            • #7
              I'm with you Jeff on letting it air dry and not nuking it or oven dried, even though I've read quiet a few articles about those processes.

              I have used a lot of turning blanks, all have the wax on end grains but the wood when purchased was dry. I've turned a lot of pieces over the years and haven't found any to be green yet, not to say that they aren't sold that away at some sources.

              I'm sure the wax was put on when it was green for the slow process of drying, especially on the burls & spastics, which is mostly what I've used. But it could be the source, I get my from "Georgia Hardwoods of Alabama" and "Woodcrafters", both close enough that I can go & hand pick them.

              Not sure that this even helps answer any questions but there it is, my .02 worth.
              Troy

              Scrollin' with DeWalt DW788

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanx Troy...I'm betting on the same thing you are...already dried, the wax was for slowing down the process. Wood dries fastest from the endgrain, so the endgrain needs to be covered up. The wood needs to dry evenly from all sides. Burls are the worst..they don't really have endgrain and yet they are all endgrain at the same time!
                Jeff Powell

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                • #9
                  Okay. I'm not surprised I got different opinions on this one. It seems to me that the basic question is, just how dry is the wood I bought? A moisture meter was on my long wish list. Maybe I'll move it way up to the top. I think I've seen tables of what moisture content is acceptable for cutting, by species.
                  Kevin

                  Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. -- Dr. Seuss

                  NEW DeWalt 788 and that old, Jimmy- Jerry- and Kevin-rigged Delta 40-560

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you buy a half decent moisture meter, it will have a book with it that tells you how to calculate the moisture from a chart. the meter may say 15, so you check your chart under that species and measure the thickness of the wood and compare that to the chart too, and it will give you the actual number. 8% would be an ideal number, or less is good. 10 or more, not good. Get a piece of pine, a shelving or furniture grade piece from a big box store...or just bring your meter with you to the store. You won't believe how wet that stuff is. There are no rules for the dryness of softwoods sold on the market, but hardwoods are not supposed to be sold from 10% and up. The pine is likely going to read 15-20% !
                    Jeff Powell

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                    • #11
                      Thanks, Jeff et al. I've looked for reviews and haven't found many. I'm thinking $40 is cheap (i.e., junk) but $200-$250 is probably over-kill. Are the pin-less ones worth it? They're supposed to "reach" into the wood farther, but is that really a benefit for our purposes?

                      Thanks again!
                      Kevin

                      Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. -- Dr. Seuss

                      NEW DeWalt 788 and that old, Jimmy- Jerry- and Kevin-rigged Delta 40-560

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think a magnetic on is better. It's proven quite acurate and doesn't poke holes in your wood. Be sure and read the instructions...do not leave the batterie in it, do not have metal underneath the wood while in use. I put the wood on the bench so that it overhangs about a foot and then put the moisture meter on the overhanged part. You don't want to measure a board on a bench because you will be measuring the bench too! For a block...just hold the block and put the meter on it...your hand should not be under the block where the meter is of course.
                        Jeff Powell

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