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Apple turning blank - drying

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I've been experimenting with various wood sources, including 2x2x12"  turning blanks.  These are relatively easy to resaw with a miniature table saw.  One problem is the moisture level of the blanks can vary.  I recently received an apple blank that is sealed in wax on all sides, and is rather wet (about 34% moisture content.)  I've not had many problems with wet wood in this format before, so I was wondering about the best method for drying it.  I plan on removing the wax on all sides, and resealing the ends, and then air drying it for a half year.  Are there quicker alternatives that anyone knows about?  

 

Robert

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Robert,

Your wax covered - hope that the moisture level when hermetically sealed was below what a fungus requires.  Unlike Holly, the fungus that eats Apple really turns it into poop.

I am guessing that pen blanks are about as costly per board foot for a source of wood as can be had.  Turning blanks could be just behind.

 

2" of a relatively hard wood like Apple would be a chore for a 10" table saw.  A Byrnes saw can come close to 1" - depending on the blade.

Cutting thick stock would likely require several passes even before you flip it.  The blade - low number of teeth and carbide tips with enough

offset to produce a cost inefficient kerf. 

( Your location is a fairly populous one, no?  You should be able to find someone with a 14" or larger bandsaw - with a resaw blade [carbide or bimetal] - the kerf will be as narrow as can be had and the speed with a 12" long billet will make you cry after the experience with a small table saw.)

 

Apple - for me - is right at the top of desirable species for POF.  Be mindful that there are many varieties,  so there will be variations.  I think the grandfather root stock and heirloom varieties are good ones. 

It is not as difficult to source as the unicorn Buxus sempervirens, but it is difficult.  Apple trees transport a lot of sugars and while drying,  a fungus can rot the wood,  if you unlucky and the stock being dried is too thick.   I apologize for not remembering the attribution, but one of us provided a link to a significant source for Apple - Hearne Hardwoods https://www.hearnehardwoods.com/apple-american-lumber/  I thank him for this.  Found him -  Gregory - thanks again.

 

 

Now about rapid drying -  a commercial kiln - controlled by someone who knows the necessary time and temp is best.   If you like to gamble - you can build an inexpensive drying box.

 

Six sides - length width depth your choice - material  pink or blue Styrofoam house sheathing insulation  (I used 1" with foil on one surface.) - comes 4 x 8 but Home Depot sells smaller craft size pieces -  push fit - air leaks wanted.

Heat source - 200W -300W incandescent light bulbs  -  Al foil and  air gape between the bulb and the easily charred foam.  A thermometer and a dimmer switch gives some control.   I kept the temp under 120 degrees F.

Ventilation -  in a hole a one end - a surplus muffin computer cooling fan - most are low cost - the trick is the power source.

 

I used it to dry Holly and beat the Blue Mold to the wood without significant twisting or checking.

 

Edited by Jaager

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Thanks Jaager for your reply!   Perhaps given your comments on apple wood fungus, I should consider fungus'd  apple for the poop deck planking.  I've removed the "waxed apple", and painted the ends with an acrylic paint to seal the end grain.  I understand apple to be a slow-drying wood, so I will leave the blank, keeping an eye on it, and trying to weight it from time to time to see how it is doing.  There is no rush at the moment, as I'm finishing up an old model project at the moment. The 2" blanks are really an experiment, and a way to evaluate woods that I've not tried before.  I'm glad to read about your high recommendation for apple.

 

As I'm in a new town, and recently retired, the overlap of "people I know" and "people with 14" bandsaws" is currently zero, but I can ask around.   I unfortunately don't have room for a reasonably sized bandsaw right now, but perhaps in future a 10" saw like the Rikon 10" Deluxe with a good quality 1/2" blade might do OK on smaller stock:  I don't know.  Anyway, that would be for the future, and I will look out for a community woodshop with a bandsaw for now.

 

It is amazing the degree that I don't know much of anything, so I'm learning that wood-turners often use green wood to pre-carve larger sized works. They then dry the thinner intermediary carving before finishing it off.  These pieces naturally dry quicker.  I think one problem of using blanks is that the level of moisture in the wood is likely to be variable from one order to the next.  Kiln drying is mentioned in some of the catalogs, but mainly for stock under 2"  -- a general observation which might be overridden by more experience.

 

Thanks again for your comments.  They are appreciated.

 

Robert

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gyber
Typo

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Robert,

It is my experience that a bandsaw is more useful and safer than a table saw. Your 4" table saw should suffice for anything specific to that type of tool.

A 10" table saw is ready to eat your fingers given the least chance.  My 10" Ryobi table saw has a larger foot print than my 14" Rikon band saw, so no

advantage there.  You do want 220V for a band saw and $60 bimetal or $200 Resawking for the blade necessary for resawing - ouch!

 

Rather than weighing,  Amazon has inexpensive moisture meters.  Unless you open a saw mill, close enough should do for accuracy.

 

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I agree with everything said about the quality and working abilities of Apple.  Fortunately, I live in the middle of Apple orchard country and find it easy to obtain when the are pruning their trees.  Then some wax and a few years of drying and you will have some nice apple at no charge.  A little off subject, but also have had some good luck with dogwood which is fairly prevalent in my area.  

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Bill,

Dogwood  trunks are sort of small,  so getting sizable billets is difficult.  It is among the hardest domestic wood.

The color is good, grain excellent.  It would work for everything, if it could be had in large enough pieces. 

It is in the elite group for carving,  knees, breast hooks,  posts, cat heads,  other fragile parts.  I have  some from a

relative in Caroline Co. .  If I had easy access, I would gather as much as I could.  It is probably not well known, because 

it is so difficult to obtain.

Two others you may run across, that are worth the effort =  Honey Locust  and ornamental Pear (street plantings)  (Bradford here).

But for me, Apple is king. 

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