Basic drying

When you are starting out there are a lot of questions. Ask them here!

Moderators: jrccaim, Bob_Fleet, gavin, Robin Fawcett, HughSpencer

Basic drying

Postby westHillWood » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:01 pm

Hello all,

This is my first post. I'm very green when it comes to green woodwork, having only made a spoon or two, and have so far just been enjoying getting a feel for tools. I carved some rough legs with round tenons out of a newly felled piece the other day (beech I think) and would like to dry them before fitting them into a seat to make a very simple stool (for use while bodging). Any advice for drying them would be much appreciated; the tree was still standing two days ago and they're currently wrapped in a plastic bag in my unheated spare room.

Cheers,

Stu
westHillWood
new member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: Basic drying

Postby gavin » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:49 pm

Unwrap them.
If you can, weigh them.
When the weight does not change from one day to the next, they are at Equilibrium Moisture Content or EMC.
But they'll get to EMC inside several weeks anyway assuming length of less than 22" and diameter less than 3 cm even in unheated spare room.

The tenons will have become oval. How will you make them round? For the rounder they are, the better they'll fit your holes.
Have you
    tenon cutter?
    lathe?

You can taper-ream your holes - google John Alexander and taper reamer.

Don't fret about getting the first set right. Just do it! Spend less time online and more time ontools is the way to progress. You can always fettle more later.
Gavin Phillips


- teacher, demonstrator & supporter of greenwoodworking & human-powered turning
- Supplier of Fun & Confidence

info@shed-therapy.com
http://www.shed-therapy.com
User avatar
gavin
Regular
 
Posts: 1595
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 4:17 pm
Location: Dalbeattie, near Dumfries, Scotland

Re: Basic drying

Postby westHillWood » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:32 am

Thanks Gavin! I'll certainly get back to the tools and carry on having a go.

Cheers,

Stu
westHillWood
new member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: Basic drying

Postby ToneWood » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:00 pm

I recently dried the ash legs for my shave-horse by my wood-burner, which is much quicker - but it was for my shave horse, so I wasn't too concerned if they bent a bit or not. And I knew I had some spare ash if things went wrong. They didn't split (a possible danger of drying too quickly); I slow dried them in the utility room for a few days to start with.

I didn't dry the legs on my bowlmate and they are still in place - checked it last weekend. However, when I made it, the lime top was very wet and green and the beech legs had probably been laying around outside for a while - so the top was wetter/greener than the legs, which may be a key factor in getting a tightening fit, over time.
Last edited by ToneWood on Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Basic drying

Postby robgorrell » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:40 pm

"Spend less time online and more time ontools is the way to progress."

Another great line from Gavin. I am starting to collect these. I think it was a line by Gavin along the lines of, quit using power tools to make time for hand tools and just start using hand tools, that finally got me to take the plunge and remove most power tools from my shop.

Rob
robgorrell
Regular
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:50 pm
Location: West Virginia, USA

Re: Basic drying

Postby westHillWood » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:11 pm

Hi All,

Many thanks for all the advice: after quite some time the piece is finished, having become a coffee table rather than a stool along the way. I wonder if anyone would like to offer suggestions about what the wood is? The top and legs are from different pieces, though they look like the same wood. Looking forward to starting something new.

Cheers,

Stu

table1.jpg
table1.jpg (22.99 KiB) Viewed 9172 times

table2.jpg
table2.jpg (19.77 KiB) Viewed 9172 times

table3.jpg
table3.jpg (24.92 KiB) Viewed 9172 times
westHillWood
new member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: Basic drying

Postby Robin Fawcett » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:30 pm

Looks like Sycamore to me Stu. You were lucky the slice of log top didn't develop radial cracks and a good idea to use as a table. Wood for stool and chair seats is always slabbed out...
http://www.facebook.com/GreenWoodwork?ref=tn_tnmn[url=http://www.treewright.co.uk/]
Green woodwork courses, treen, demonstrations & talks http://www.treewright.co.uk[/url]
User avatar
Robin Fawcett
Site Admin
 
Posts: 974
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:47 pm
Location: Essex/Herts/London

Re: Basic drying

Postby westHillWood » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:00 pm

Thanks Robin; I wondered if it might be sycamore. The top did suffer one small crack but it was easily patched up and has settled now.

Cheers,

Stu
westHillWood
new member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: Basic drying

Postby jrccaim » Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:31 am

When it comes to drying you can do it two ways. One is the natural way. Just put it out there and let it dry. In the UK this may take a year or more. (where I am it takes longer!) When you do this, if you have a biggish piece, you may get checks in the end grain. The checks may be anything from 6 to 3mm approx. So you always, or usually, cut plenty oversize to start. Due to the vagaries of wood, it always dries ends first. That's 'cause that is what is exposed to air. When this happens it may crack. This is called "checking." If you split it it will speed the drying process. More area. Drying is directly proportional to surface area exposed. But you may not want to split it. Depends on final use. If you are making blanks to turn on a lathe you might want to split it. If you are turning a bowl you most certainly wouldn't .

The second way to speed up drying is to put it under heat. One way to do this is a gas oven on pilot. This will give you maybe 65-75C. You will probably still get end checks. I know, the industrial guys use 100C+ and end checks be d***d. They saw them off . I think this is abusive for aficionados such as us. Be sure to consult the "superintendent of the kitchen" to quote T.D. Walshaw before you chuck a log into the oven. It is still not a bad idea to allow 6mm each side for checks. I run my stove pilot every day. If I don't, the gas runs out anyway.

The idea of weighing a piece to see if it is dry is a very good one. But weighing from day to day -- I must respectfully disagree. Water is a minuscule amount of the weight of wood. Maybe .001%. (Vulgar guess).It would have to be a great big piece of wood to make a difference day by day. I would suggest maybe every 10 days. Drying wood properly does require some patience. So a one kilo log will lose about a gram in... ah, how long? Depends on the outside humidity. If it were the Sahara might be a few days. In the UK? Who knows? I don't. My experience is that wood dries out by itself in one summer. Firewood I split. Still takes one summer to dry.

One final note. I have stolen this from Jennie Alexander, full kudos. How do you know when wood is dry? You hit it with another piece of really dry wood. As Mr Alexander says, it will sound like "claves." A claves is a musical instrument. It goes "ting!" if your piece of wood is dry enough. If it goes "thud" (or "bonk") it is still green. Very good test. My eyes have never been good, but my ears are very good indeed. Listen, and you will know. If you buy Mr Alexander's video you will actually hear the proper tone.
User avatar
jrccaim
Regular
 
Posts: 1082
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:53 am
Location: Willow, Alaska USA


Return to Beginner's corner

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests