Preferred Bowl Drying Methods

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Preferred Bowl Drying Methods

Postby David Sims » Sat Mar 14, 2015 10:44 pm

I am curious what your preferred method for drying green turned bowls is? I just finished 4 bowls, three of birch and one of maple. They have been drying in a paper bag with the shavings for about a week and I am not sure how much longer to dry them. I have seen anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Should I dry them in the paper bag without shavings? Should I boil successive bowls first as I have read and then place in a paper bag. Alcohol soak? Microwave?

Seems to be a lot of methods for drying green bowls. I would like to start using some of these bowls, but I don't want to ruin them either. Plus I plan to keep turning so want to know what my best option is in the future.

What do you guys recommend?

Thanks a lot,
David Sims
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Re: Preferred Bowl Drying Methods

Postby Ian G » Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:17 pm

Hi Dave, I turned about 14 green bowls over the festive season(see "show us your bowls" postings page 4). None of them were much more than a week old from the tree being felled, one bowl of poplar wood was the same day. All of the bowls were left in a very cold shed for 4 weeks and then moved into the house into a coolish room for another 4 weeks. I knew I would get a bit of distortion but none of the bowls cracked and they all turn out fine. The posting gives a better breakdown of each type of wood used, the birch bowls moved very little. I did turn them all as thin as I could, about 5mm walls. I'm still turning some green bowls, beech at the moment but with the weather warming up now the bowls are drying out faster and now dry out fully in the shed. I would say about 4-6 week in the shed stacked up on each other should see them dry enough to seal. I now turn a higher % of my bowls green now, so much faster to turn and the finish is just as good as long as your hooks are razor sharp. There are a few exception so far that I've found in the selection of woods I'm turning at the moment, I will be leaving the logs of the cherry larual, wild cherry and poplar to dry for a couple of months before turning. But over the years I've always just stacked then on top of each other in the shed on a shelf...keep it simple
Hope this helps.

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Re: Preferred Bowl Drying Methods

Postby SeanHellman » Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:26 pm

I just leave them on a shelf. Cool but dry, in a workshop, the only time I take any precautions is in the height of summer, with direct sunlight or warm hot places. Lots of air circulation can cause rapid drying leading to splitting. Turning in the summer outside all day at a show can be a pain, leave a half finished bowl on the lathe in direct sun for half an hour is not a good idea. All wood whether blanks or finished bowls are kept in the shade on the ground with a sack over them. Bringing bowls straight into a heated house has caused issues at times and I would advise against that. Occasionally a bowl does split, better sooner than later. A first it can be difficult to tell if the wood split from drying or from the wood having stresses or faults in, so however you dried the wood it would split.
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