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Turning Birch crotch wood advice needed

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by George Pagliarulo, Apr 2, 2020.

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  1. George Pagliarulo

    George Pagliarulo

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2020
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    Location (City & State):
    Hudson, NH
    Hi,
    A very dear friend of my wife died recently. This friend loved Birch trees. I want to turn memorial Birch bowls for my wife, two other close friends and the woman’s son. The photo shows three pieces that I want to use. Three of them are pretty straight forward to trim and get ready for turning. I have never turned anything with a crotch like the front blank. Are there any special considerations to be aware of when I turn this?
    Thanks,
    George

    [​IMG]
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Location (City & State):
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    The visible “stiching” on the bark is indicative of a bark inclusion. Like other indicators this can give a false positive sometimes.
    Bark inclusions usually make the crotch worthless for me because bark won’t hold the wood together.

    take a quick look at the slides in the beginning of this thread below. You will see how to cut the crotch to get the feather grain and some examples of bark inclusions.

    http://www.aawforum.org/community/index.php?threads/naural-edge-bowl-from-a-crotch.11058/
     
    Mike Crescenzo likes this.
  3. Leo Van Der Loo

    Leo Van Der Loo

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    Location (City & State):
    Rainy River District Ontario Canada
    Not to take away from what you are planning to do, but the pieces of wood in the picture certainly look rotten to me, the other thing about Birch is that the wood will shrink and the bark will not, making for a loose wound paper like shell, it will be a real problem, even with un-rotten Birch wood.
     
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Your planned tribute is something special.
    You should be able to find a fresh cut log.
    Or a tree being taken down for construction.

    as you know Birch is quite soft and will require sharp tools and light cuts.
    You want to somehow show the bark. NE bowls.... endgrain vases with a NE.
     
  5. Joe Kaufman

    Joe Kaufman

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2009
    Messages:
    48
    There were a lot of Birch Trees planted in front yards in our neighborhood. About 5 years ago they started to die maybe a result of the CA drought. Homeowners were reluctant to remove them hoping they would come back the next year or two in spite of what arborists would tell them. I helped 3 neighbors remove theirs and they were generally rotten in the centers and termite infested. Very little was useable for turning. From what I can see, your pictures look similar as far as decay. One tree, for some reason, the only useable part was the crotch.
     
  6. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    Location (City & State):
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    Birch is a cold climate tree so for the people that mentioned Yard trees in CA not only is it to dry but it is also probably to warm.
    As others mentioned that wood you have is beyond usable so you should find some live tree to get your turning wood from and if you have any thought of bark edge it must be cut in the dormant state.
    B111b.JPG This is an example of what you can find in a birch crotch, but it may be a little beyond your abilities since it contains all three pith's and needs to be turned once to about 1/4"wall or less.
    The best bet would be to get some experience on shallow pieces that don't include the pith
     
    Mike Crescenzo and hockenbery like this.

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