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Thread: Bloodwood and Redheart spindle work

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Belleville, IL
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    6

    Default Bloodwood and Redheart spindle work

    OK, I know that exotics are usually sold pretty wet, but with other woods, I haven't had any real problem. These pretty red-devil woods are making me crazy. I turned several small boxes, goblet bottoms (for glass tops), and a couple of bottle stoppers. Almost every one of them has cracked.

    I was careful not to build up friction during sanding and finishing. The blanks were wax sealed at the ends, and when cut, they looked fine. I applied the finishes as soon as the pieces were complete.

    So far, I've tried:
    Walnut oil/wax
    Lacquer
    Mylands friction finish

    Out of 4 sets of goblet bottoms, only one made it. The boxes/stoppers all cracked.

    So, any thoughts/tips?

    Thanks!

    -Jon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Plano Texas
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    2,352

    Default

    For what you are doing, the wood needs to be dry, at least dry as far as your environment is concerned. Assume that if it is waxed, it's wet. Wet is 1"/year to dry. After that, I generally will remove all the wax and leave it in the shop for a week or so.

    Redheart, in my personal experience, I would skip it. A little UV and it is dull brown. Bloodwood, better results, but harder to work with.
    Steve Worcester
    www.turningwood.com for your turning tools and sanding needs!
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    Turn a bowl- feed the hungry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    When I buy waxed wood I just assume it is very wet. I have checked it with a moisture meter every once in a while and it is fairly high moisture content. I scrape the wax off the sided and leave it on the ends. Then I stack the wood on the shelf. I do this each time I go to a symposium so I'm starting to get a pretty good stack. The right end is the latest stuff, the left end is the older stuff. What's on the left is several years old and is dry. As I move across to the right it's not.
    Unfortunately I haven't been dating the wood. I thought I was smart enough to remember when I bought it. NOT. So now I've stared writing the date on each piece and if I feel good that day I weight the piece and write that down.
    If you really need to turn one and don't know how green it is, rough it out and then dry it in the microwave. It will warp so leave enough to turn it round later. Take your time. short bursts or low heat are good. Heat it too fast and it will crack. For small boxes I start with 30 seconds and see how it's doing. I let it cool a lot between cycles.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
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    437

    Wink

    What's on the left is several years old
    Man, I'm at the age where I don't even buy green bananas! I can't imagine letting wood dry for years.
    Happiness is sawdust on the floor.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Cookeville TN USA
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    John It actually sneaks up on you. I buy a few pieces(usually from Big Monk Lumber) at each symposium I go to. I turn a lot of stuff so any pieces that get put on the shelf, especially if I think they are green, get ignored. I tend to grab what I know is dry to turn my latest box, etc from dry wood. Next thing you know I have a pretty good pile of these things building up. Most are only about 2 to 3 " square and short so they dry probably in a year. The years go by so fast now I could probably buy a tree and it would be dry before I know it.

  6. #6

    Default

    My solution was a solar kiln. A small one can be built with scrap lumber and speeds the drying process without costing anything for power. Or I just throw it on the shelf like John does.

  7. #7

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    Jon -- there's no quick solution or any magic. You have to let the wood dry. On softer woods I use a refrigerator kiln, but on the harder woods like bloodwood there's really only one solution -- let it dry over time.

    I've tried using a vacuum kiln with limited success. (See Josh Salesin's book for details on making one).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Plano Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Torchick View Post
    Man, I'm at the age where I don't even buy green bananas! I can't imagine letting wood dry for years.
    I have parts of two bedrooms, a closet for the exotics and a big shed out back for the local wood. Probably don't need any for 10 years, but ya' gotta' collect when the pickins are good. A lot of woods aren't as plentiful anymore, mostly the African species, Pink Ivory, Ebonies and Blackwood. I could sell it though and buy some new tools. Have a big Teak burl too. Sits around the shop, looks like a 2' dinosaur egg.
    Steve Worcester
    www.turningwood.com for your turning tools and sanding needs!
    Become a Turningwood fan on Facebook!

    Turn a bowl- feed the hungry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Cookeville TN USA
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    Steve That's funny. I was talking about needing more wood storage and a friend reminded me that my son had move out. I told him I could fill 2 bedrooms with wood. I mean after all the only people who visit me are woodturners and they wouldn't mind sleeping with wood.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belleville, IL
    Posts
    6

    Default Thanks!

    Thanks for all the tips. I need to start writing the dates on the blanks as they arrive.

    I did have one bloodwood set survive, but I suspect it has something to do with the 6 coats of lacquer that I applied as soon as I finished turning/sanding it.

    I may try making a simple, small kiln - either solar or 'fridge/lightbulb.

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