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Is this salvageable?

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I rough turned this 9” white oak bowl this morning. Tree has been dead for a couple of years, and was taken down two days ago. This crack/bark inclusion is a neat feature that I’d love to preserve and possibly fill with epoxy or CA and turquoise or some other filler when it would be ready to re-turn. I’m also reluctant to put Anchorseal anywhere near the crack as I don’t want to compromise the potential for filler to adhere when it’s dry. The bark is much diminished, but shows on the inside of the rough turning. Is this hopeless? I’d love to hear suggestions.4B129E3C-A17A-452B-9818-1C94A40C8DFF.jpeg
 
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Nope probably salvageable. I would drip some thin ca into the inclusion now, out to the end of the cracks. I dont seal wet projects, I put them in heavy kraft paper to slow drying, and wrap with plastic if I want even slower drying. The wrapped projects are stored at constant temp and humidity in the house on a wire rack with good air flow so that they are in a constant environment and I have tuned the process to the conditions. This one I would want a slow dry. Sure there is a chance it cracks up but havent put much more into it.
 

Randy Anderson

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Since turning something like this does present a safety risk I'm not going to say you should or shouldn't. That said, if it were on my bench I would as Doug says, put some thin CA into the crack, multiple applications and make sure it's got a good dose anywhere you can get it in. Maybe follow up right away with some med CA that should chase the thin deep into the crack. I would turn with caution, slow as I can get decent cuts with, stand to the side with good protection on. I wouldn't go for a thin wall and since you plan to fill with colored epoxy the color could go up and over the thicker than normal rim to give it a nice look. If you put thin strips of blue painter tape over the crack areas you could still apply sealer I think.
 
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If your gut feeling gives you second thoughts then remember this stuff grows on trees so don’t hesitate to scrap it. If the wood is special then you might consider drilling through the cracks and then glue in some oak dowels pieces to help stabilize the crack. I have seen some turners use a lot of stretch wrap and/or strapping tape around the outside when cutting on the inside for added safety.

I find so much free wood that I would normally scrap something with a crack this big. A turner in my club died from a chunk of wood coming off her lathe so think twice before turning a cracked bowl like this one.
 

john lucas

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I don't think CA is all the structural as it does not handle shock well. I would probably put some thin CA in just to penetrate the small areas but I would use epoxy that I heat to make it as thin as possible before putting it in the crack. You will have to do it in sections and make a dam out of hot glue to control where it goes.
 
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I have had similar bark inclusions in white oak. The wood on either side of the inclusion may shrink and distort differently but it looks like you have enough thickness to account for it. The paper bag drying method is a good way verses anchor seal that may contaminate the bark. I would say to let it dry for about a year then reevaluate.
 

hockenbery

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does the inclusion end in the photo or continue further sound the bowl?

I would usually finish turn something like this green. When it dries you may cut away much of the bark inclusion you want.

1. If I wanted to dry it. I would use paper bags.as Don suggested.

2. As to safely returning it when dry.
Really need to evaluate how much wood will be there holding the end on.
When dry the end facing the camera will be proud so you won’t be cutting much off the inside.

3. it’s a small piece so there won’t be a lot of movement.

4. When dry verify there is connecting wood to hold it together. ( if no do 5)
The turn the outside true on a jamb Chuck then tape the outside with the nylon strapping tape ant turn out the inside. i would not fill it. I would clean out the loose bark and go with the natural organic elements.

5. if you’re uncertain it will hold together, clean out the bark and fill the space with epoxy add some leather dye to make it black. Once dry turn it. The epoxy putty from Jb weld can work well for this. pack it in. It has to be bonding to wood and not bonding to bark.
 
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Joined
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Thank you for these thoughtful responses. No, the inclusion doesn’t extend further than you see it in the picture, so I think the wood is fairly secure going around the rim. After reading everyone’s advice, (and being sobered by Karl’s story of someone in his club who died at the lathe!), I’m inclined to go the paper bag route, and give it time. I think the suggestion of cleaning out loose bark and inserting epoxy makes sense, as I don’t think the CA will make a very secure bond with the bark.
 
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You’ve got to really want to turn *that* piece of wood to go through the time, trouble, and risk everyone here has told you about. When all is said and done you’ll have invested a fair amount of effort for a non-certainty. I’ve spent lots of time trying to ‘save’ a few items because I’m frugal, or stubborn, or whatever. Sometimes you learn from them, sometimes you get a nice artistic piece, and sometimes you throw pieces around the shop or just toss it in the trash after a lot of time. As I get older I’m getting better at cutting losses sooner...
 
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Once dry, I would use painters tape to seal the inside crack and add thin CA to the outside, just enough to soak into the wood a bit. Then you can layer with fine wood dust, turquoise, or whatever and CA (toothpicks help to cram the stuff in). Marine epoxy is less brittle than CA, but I've sealed some pretty big cracks without the wood exploding.
 
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The thin CA glue does not fill cracks. For me, if I was going to turn that piece, I would liberally apply thin CA glue, then chase that with medium or thick CA glue. They will fill, and the thin will wick the thick all the way through. If the thin penetrates all the way through to the other side, I would have some saw dust handy to plug up the hole. You may need to apply thin CA glue from both sides, and you may need a couple of applications depending on how much open space there is to fill. When you finish turn it, again, you may need to fill holes.

robo hippy
 
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The thin CA glue does not fill cracks. For me, if I was going to turn that piece, I would liberally apply thin CA glue, then chase that with medium or thick CA glue. They will fill, and the thin will wick the thick all the way through. If the thin penetrates all the way through to the other side, I would have some saw dust handy to plug up the hole. You may need to apply thin CA glue from both sides, and you may need a couple of applications depending on how much open space there is to fill. When you finish turn it, again, you may need to fill holes.

robo hippy
If it is a deep crack I'd cram in some wood dust and add some thin CA for penetration, followed by medium CA and dust or whatever. I'm a sucker for damaged wood (gives me an excuse if there are turning errors). I'm working on a box elder platter now that would rival the San Andreas fault, without the earthquake movement.
 
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I just went back to this bowl I posted back in November. It’s been in a paper bag for the past five months. It hadn’t deformed too much so I decided to take a chance and re-turn it. I tried to stay well out of the line of fire in case the piece let go, but from the inside it looked like it was holding on pretty well. I am very happy with how it turned out. It looks to me like a bolt of lightning across the circumference.
 

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You can salvage just about any work piece with flaws depending on how much work you want to put into the piece. If it is common available wood most turners will toss it to the side and rough turn another bowl and maybe do something with the other piece if they find the time if the piece has potential. Some tuners will use epoxy and various colors of material to accent the flaw and turn the piece into a colorful art piece that looks like a river table.
 
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