Suggestions to dry leg tenons?

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Suggestions to dry leg tenons?

Postby gavin » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:56 am

Suggestions please to dry one end of whittled legs approx 50 cm long and 30 mm diameter.

At shows next year we'll likely need 40 legs per day for rustic benches.

So I want some portable device or heater to dry the legs on site. Of course I could prepare the legs in advance and let time do the drying, but I don't want to take lots of legs with me. And after all, Jill Public wants to see her stool's legs emerge from roundwood by her handiwork, and not from my store of Tesco crates.

I could:
    1. poke the ends into a sand tray with a heat source beneath - I have yet to try that, but have seen it in some book
    2. make a steamer and use steam to drive out the bound water - but don't know how long the condensed steam stays in the wood
    3. create some portable oven or insulated box and apply heat somehow to that ( either enclosing the full 50 cm leg,or just the tenon i.e. top 4 inches or so)
    4. Building on item 3. above : drill 30 mm diameter holes in a microwave oven, connect that to a pedal powered generator, and get pedalling. This will dry just the last 3 or 4 inches.
    5. tap into the collective consciousness of my fellow greenwood workers , by asking you who read this :D

Just possibly some of this could run on solar energy, but I am way beyond my technical competence here. Because I see there will be a real return on the rustic benches, I am willing to spend several hundred pounds on this solution.

Whatever the solution is, it must be portable, so mud ovens are not suitable.
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Re: Suggestions to dry leg tenons?

Postby Paul Thornton 2sheds » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:12 pm

good question - i too think there is a future in involving the public in stool/bench making, not sure i have the several hundred to invest tho'
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Re: Suggestions to dry leg tenons?

Postby robin wood » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:24 pm

I think drying in a couple of hours is a tall order. Mike Gudrun etc dry overnight in a rack over a gentle oven and Lawrence Neal does the dry sand over the stove as the final finish on pre dried parts.

The only way I know of getting stuff properly dry in under 3 hours is microwave but it may limit your stool leg length.
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Re: Suggestions to dry leg tenons?

Postby Cracker » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:03 pm

I've tried doing this without much luck. I used a metal bucket with coarse sand in the bottom and stood it up over a fire with the tenons on the sand. The ends dry in a few hours but the moisture wicks back into the tenon in no time.
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Re: Suggestions to dry leg tenons?

Postby nic » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:15 pm

Can you not wet the top so the legs are comparatively drier?
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Re: Suggestions to dry leg tenons?

Postby SeanHellman » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:24 pm

Use dry wood. Problem solved

If you are using a tenon cutter then it should be fine. When I have made stools with groups and in workshops this is what I have done. I used hazel or ash legs 2 inch dia downwards.

You are not going to dry green wood out at a show in time
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Re: Suggestions to dry leg tenons?

Postby jrccaim » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:32 am

Personally I use a gas oven on pilot. You must beware and take out the legs before you bake the bread, however. Jennie (John) Alexander has a rather elaborate setup: a large box with heat lamps built in, the kind of heat lamps they use in tanning parlors, but any high-wattage bulbs would work. Mr Alexander''s technique is very simple: weigh the stuff green. Weigh periodically. When it stops losing weight, it's dry.
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