What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

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What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby JonnyP » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:01 pm

Hi guys
I am wanting to make me a big tea mug out of wood, but all attempts at hot liquid holders so far have resulted in splits and now I am too scared to put anything hot in anything I make..
Now I know there will always be a risk, but what woods would be more suitable than others.
Also, would it be better to have thicker sides to the mug..?
Thanks in advance :)
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby gavin » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:21 pm

I think you'd be better with thin as possible walls. Not that I have tried this myself !
Are you making these by removing endgrain and with pith included?
If the time to make one is acceptably short to you, you may care to make say 4 near-identical ones at once from 4 different species and see which one fares best.

You could also search for data on tangential and radial shrinkage rates in different species. By choosing species where those 2 rates are closer, the less likely you will have a crack. If you have a digital calliper you could prepare your own tables from the species around you. Cut roundwood of 20 to 50 mm diameter into samples of say 3 or 6 inches long. Turn say these on any lathe so you know they are round - you need not turn the whole length. Measure shrinkage rates with digital calliper. If you don't turn the whole length, be sure to remove the bark from the rest of the length else the sample will dry at different rates. Creating your own tables gives you confidence in the behaviour of what you have locally, rather than generic data for any particular species.
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby robin wood » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:55 pm

Pot is the simple answer. Woodware is far superior to pot for plates and bowls, pot is far superior to wood for hot liquids.
If you must then I would go for sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus for US readers)
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby JonnyP » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:41 pm

gavin wrote:I think you'd be better with thin as possible walls. Not that I have tried this myself !
Are you making these by removing endgrain and with pith included?
If the time to make one is acceptably short to you, you may care to make say 4 near-identical ones at once from 4 different species and see which one fares best.

You could also search for data on tangential and radial shrinkage rates in different species. By choosing species where those 2 rates are closer, the less likely you will have a crack. If you have a digital calliper you could prepare your own tables from the species around you. Cut roundwood of 20 to 50 mm diameter into samples of say 3 or 6 inches long. Turn say these on any lathe so you know they are round - you need not turn the whole length. Measure shrinkage rates with digital calliper. If you don't turn the whole length, be sure to remove the bark from the rest of the length else the sample will dry at different rates. Creating your own tables gives you confidence in the behaviour of what you have locally, rather than generic data for any particular species.

Hi Gavin.. I usually make them (only done a few though) by splitting a round, and chopping out a mug shape and then hollowing it (the awkward bit of the job).
They take a lot of time, so I am only going to do one at a time.
Thats a good idea with me finding out the shrinkage rate of my local timber..

robin wood wrote:Pot is the simple answer. Woodware is far superior to pot for plates and bowls, pot is far superior to wood for hot liquids.
If you must then I would go for sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus for US readers)

Hi Robin.. Do I have to smoke pot to achieve the best results.. :wink: I have never heard of it.. Will look it up.
Sycamore however is good though.. I have just finished some piping hot leek n potato soup, eaten out of a sycamore bowl, and we have a huge sycamore in the garden that is rotting in the middle and may be coming down some when soonish.
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby gavin » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:42 pm

JonnyP wrote:I usually make them (only done a few though) by splitting a round, and chopping out a mug shape and then hollowing it (the awkward bit of the job)..

Do I understand when you are hollowing you are removing the side of the wood fibres? This is called sidegrain or working at right-angles to the way the tree grew. Because you write 'splitting a round' I think you are not hollowing the endgrain. But endgrain hollowing can be used for small drinking cups - refer Robin Wood's The Wooden Bowl which illustrates small cups turned endgrain pp 47,63, 65. Common sense would indicate these all would crack - but they don't , and their widespread ocurrence in the archeological record indicates end grain turning definitely works. You don't mention a lathe - are you carving the hollow or turning it?
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby JonnyP » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:09 pm

I do not know all the correct terms, but a picture paints a thousand words.. This is my beer mug.. I make them like this..
Image

Image
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby Paul Thornton 2sheds » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:21 pm

Now that is a nice beer vessel, if pubs sold pints in them I maybe tempted back in.
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby gavin » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:15 am

JonnyP wrote:
Image

You ARE doing end-grain and with pith excluded. As an experiment, you may like to try a small one with pith included. Smaller ones are less likely to split. I suggest pith included, cos Stuart King makes fine goblets with pith included. Mine has worked well for 3 years, admittedly with no hot liquids. If it is hot liquids you wish to hold, have you tried shrink pot mug? I have no idea if that will work but worth the experiment.

NB Robin Wood comments on p65 The Wooden Bowl that end grain vessels can leak and he seals his with beeswax. I imagine such wax would taint your hot liquid. You could track down a wax supplier that offers food-grade, higher melting point wax and seal your vessel with that.
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby JonnyP » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:23 am

Paul Thornton 2sheds wrote:Now that is a nice beer vessel, if pubs sold pints in them I maybe tempted back in.

Thank you Paul :)

gavin wrote:You ARE doing end-grain and with pith excluded. As an experiment, you may like to try a small one with pith included. Smaller ones are less likely to split. I suggest pith included, cos Stuart King makes fine goblets with pith included. Mine has worked well for 3 years, admittedly with no hot liquids. If it is hot liquids you wish to hold, have you tried shrink pot mug? I have no idea if that will work but worth the experiment.

NB Robin Wood comments on p65 The Wooden Bowl that end grain vessels can leak and he seals his with beeswax. I imagine such wax would taint your hot liquid. You could track down a wax supplier that offers food-grade, higher melting point wax and seal your vessel with that.

This mug came from a big round of chestnut.. I didn't see any pith in the middle. I thought you were supposed to not use the center of the wood as that is where the splits start..?
This mug has been bees waxed and is totally water tight, but bees wax will melt as soon as I pour boiling water into the mug I am going to make, so I cannot use that. I was thinking of using tung oil to seal, but if there are food grade waxes that will withstand boiling water, then that has to be a winner. Anyone know or heard of any..?
I have not made a shrink pot yet, but if someone else drinks their tea out of one, then I will give it a go..
At the end of the day, I just want to enjoy my tea out of something I have made.
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby SeanHellman » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:50 pm

Hi JonnyP, I have been facing the same problem, and yet not had time to fully experiment.
As you say wax is out, I do not want to go down the oil avenue, but I know that you can easily drink hot liquids from wooden cups, they will seal in time especially if you use milk in your tea. I would suggest making tea in a teapot and then into your wooden cup. I have split wood by pouring boiling water into wood. Very hot liquid on the inside and cold on the outside, thats a lot of stress going on in the wood.
I would not have used chestnut, you are asking for trouble. The best way is to use a nice bit of burr/burl birch, hazel/ sycamore etc. The grain going in every direction, it is far less likely to split.
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby JonnyP » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:52 am

SeanHellman wrote:Hi JonnyP, I have been facing the same problem, and yet not had time to fully experiment.
As you say wax is out, I do not want to go down the oil avenue, but I know that you can easily drink hot liquids from wooden cups, they will seal in time especially if you use milk in your tea. I would suggest making tea in a teapot and then into your wooden cup. I have split wood by pouring boiling water into wood. Very hot liquid on the inside and cold on the outside, thats a lot of stress going on in the wood.
I would not have used chestnut, you are asking for trouble. The best way is to use a nice bit of burr/burl birch, hazel/ sycamore etc. The grain going in every direction, it is far less likely to split.

Hi Sean I have seen people drinking hot drinks out of kuksa's before, so I have been looking up about them. They were soaked in hot salted water to prepare them, and Like you said made from burl wood.
The shape of the kuksa may lend itself better to holding hot liquid ?, but I want me a proper mug full of tea (if pos)..
What is the problem with chestnut..? I have me a lovely chestnut burl..
Thanks for you're thoughts.
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby gavin » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:56 am

SeanHellman wrote:As you say wax is out, I do not want to go down the oil avenue...

Try this supplier: http://www.britishwax.com/home.htm - they may have a higher melting point food-grade wax to suit.
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby gavin » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:01 am

JonnyP wrote: I thought you were supposed to not use the center of the wood as that is where the splits start..?

Generally, yes you are right. But small diameter material will not split so often, esp if you have a thicker bottom and thin walls. Refer my comments above where I cite Robin Wood and the experience of our bowl-turning predecessors in the archeological record.
JonnyP wrote: but if there are food grade waxes that will withstand boiling water, then that has to be a winner. Anyone know or heard of any..?


Try http://www.britishwax.com/home.htm
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby JonnyP » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:11 pm

gavin wrote:
JonnyP wrote: I thought you were supposed to not use the center of the wood as that is where the splits start..?

Generally, yes you are right. But small diameter material will not split so often, esp if you have a thicker bottom and thin walls. Refer my comments above where I cite Robin Wood and the experience of our bowl-turning predecessors in the archeological record.
JonnyP wrote: but if there are food grade waxes that will withstand boiling water, then that has to be a winner. Anyone know or heard of any..?


Try http://www.britishwax.com/home.htm


Thanks Gavin, I have sent them an e-mail..
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Re: What wood is best used for hot liquids..?

Postby JonnyP » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:22 pm

JonnyP wrote:
Thanks Gavin, I have sent them an e-mail..


Had a reply..

"The kinds of waxes you will need are polyethylene waxes as they tend to have high melting points. They are derived from crude oil. My guess is that this isn’t going to be easy to do as you have to heat the polyethylene wax to quite a high temperature in order to get it thin enough to apply. You might be able to put it into solvent first, but I don’t have any experience of how it would perform like that.

Our minimum order quantity is 5kg, which would be £100.80 including carriage and VAT. "

Anyone got any thoughts about getting the mug stabilized.. I do not know what goes into the stabilizing solution, but I should imagine it would waterproof the wood. Wether it would still be able to handle hot liquids I don't know.. Would it look too plastic y..?
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