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What Is This Wood Good For?

Joined
May 30, 2017
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Santa Rosa, CA
Dumb question for experienced turners.. which I am not. I have a bunch of green limbs which I have cut to lengths of about 12" and left some longer (~16") for my Nova Comet II. The limb cuts I have are Silver Maple and Sycamore. I also have some similar pieces of fruitless mulberry and chinese elm.

What can I turn with these..? The pieces range from about 4" to 6"+ in diameter. Obviously, the pith remains in these pieces at the moment.. they didn't seem large enough to do anything with if I remove the pith.

Yesterday, I turned a small 5" diameter bowl from the silver maple.. I watched a video about boiling the rough turning to help shorten the time it would take to dry. I boiled it for an hour and when I pulled it from the pot to dry in the wet turnings.. guess what..? It had a split thru the bottom right thru the pith.

So, that brings me back to my original question. What can I turn from these beautiful mini logs? Currently, I have quite a few of the above blanks (not roughed bowls) waiting to find something to do besides turning practice. I did get some good practice spindle turning the bowl and hollowing the inside
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:)

If these seem good to use for small projects.. what do you suggest and how do I prevent splitting? Thanks for any help.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
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Pueblo West, CO
If it were me I would seal the ends and set it aside to dry. Stuff that size makes a lot of things. A few are-- Christmas trees. mushrooms, snowmen, bottle stoppers, candle holders, weed pots. If you want the practice turning now just start turning and if they crack toss them or keep depending on how bad the cracks are. Green wood is fun to turn. They will certainly be more fun than practicing on 2x4. In the future if you get more cut them as long as you can handle, let them dry and you will probably toss the first 6in+ on each end. Allyn
 
Joined
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Also good for winged bowl. I have been turning flowers such as tulips and daisy's lately and green wood works great for thin turning. As suggested seal it and let it dry but some woods will split badly even tho sealed because of the pith. Turning green is the best way to save the wood and if it splits it was good practice . You can still do something with a split turning such as carving to emphasize the crack, fill the crack or CA it, lace it together with wire or leather, put a butterfly patch across it. The options are endless. And then there is always the burn pile.
 

hockenbery

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Lots of good options in the previous post.

6" diameter cut 8" long then ripped in half gives two natural edge Bowl blanks?

All those sizes are suitable for natural edge goblets or vases. For these look fo off center pith.
Don't want the pith in the stem because it makes it weak. The

the goblets you can challenge yourself on making the cups thin walled and the stems thin.
A 1/16" stem is impressive.
 

john lucas

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limb stock will almost always warp more than the main part of the tree. This is because of the internal stresses from hanging horizontally or at an angle. Natural edge bowls are the best choice. I usually rip these into squares on the bandsaw, wax the ends and put them up to dry so I can make tool handles, pepper mills, ornament finials and other long skinny things. In fact the larger diameters up to 3" I save and cut up into ornament ball blanks. takes a while to dry but if you do this frequently by the end of a year you have lots of stuff dry.
 

Bill Boehme

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I've never had great luck with limb wood for the reasons that John Lucas cited. But, it's free and green. The main purpose of boiling is to help relieve internal stresses in cross grain rough outs and thus reduce the amount of cracked bowls. It shouldn't be considered as a way to speed up drying as the main purpose because speeding up drying is risky business. Also, boiling probably isn't all that great for spindles or whole log pieces.
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2006
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Tallahassee FL
Vases. Use a test tube or cigar tube for a liner. Drill all the way through to eliminate the pith.
(Drill oversize to allow for drying shrinkage, except undersize at the base).
Dollar Tree has six-packs of plastic shot tubes with flared tops ~ 17 cents each.
 
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