2 Bradford Pear logs courtesy of Irene...need some suggestions please!

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Blog entry by jfk4032 posted 09-07-2011 03:33 PM 5122 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey LJers,

I’ve been reading up on Bradford Pear trees after a neighbor gave me two large sections of one of his trees recently knocked down by Hurricane Irene. The larger piece is 13-16’ diameter, 26” high and weighs 138 lbs wet. The smaller one is 13-14” diameter, 22” high and weighs 125 lbs wet. Seems this happens frequently with this species getting knocked down in high winds. I’ve also read that it is a favorite of wood turners.

They are extremely wet, having just been cut and it’s been raining like crazy here for days just soaking up all that water as well. I did seal the ends with Anchorseal after I took the pictures below. Will logs these decrease in weight some just by drying out?

I was thinking of saving the larger one for turning blanks and the smaller one slicing boards to use for intarsia. I just bought a Carter log mill jig for my 14” bandsaw upgraded with a 12” riser kit. I’ll probably have to chainsaw off some of the smaller piece to fit it into the jig and decrease the weight a bit so I can lift it and control it through the bandsaw I think there is a 20” long capacity….I’ve never done this before so any tips would appreciated. Is this too big of a piece to use that jig and try to resaw on that bandsaw? I did install a Highland wood turner blade into the bandsaw knowing I would need that to work on all of the Hurricane Irene wood I’ve accumulated. All of the other pieces I have are much smaller than these pieces.

How should I prep the larger piece to use for turning in the future? Cut into simple rounds or take off the bark too? Any tips on how to cut it into manageable pieces, do I cut now or let it dry out more, do I seal all sides of it once it is into wood turning blanks or only seal the end grains to promote drying? I’m pretty much a newbie just getting into the hobby so I need lots of help.



-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!

4 comments so far

View lew's profile


13216 posts in 4670 days

#1 posted 09-07-2011 06:06 PM

Never turned Bradford Pear but there are always plenty of them falling down around here.

Your preservation procedure is what I would have done. In this state, the logs will dry very slowly. For bowl/platter turning, you will want to initially cut the logs lengthwise (as cutting into boards) thicker than the deepest bowl or platter. Then cut the “rounds ” from this “board”. I usually rough turn the bowl/platter from this green round leaving the overall wall/bottom thickness at least 1” thick. Then store the rough blank in a paper bag packed with the shaving from the rough turning. Store it away for about a year and it will dry slowly- hopefully without cracks/checks.

Check LJ Trifern. He does fantastic stuff and has some outstanding tutorials.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4151 days

#2 posted 09-07-2011 06:24 PM

Lew’s got some great advice. The only thing I do different, is I don’t have the patience to wait a year. After I rough out a bowl, or whatever, I put it in the microwave on defrost or 1/2 power and alternate heating and cooling off in the freezer for a couple of minutes. I set the timer using the same schedule for defrosting meat of the same weight. I weigh the bowl before I start drying and after each heat/cooling cycle. When it stops losing weight, it’s ready to final turn it and finish it. Yep, I was an A.D.D. child and can not wait a year to finish a bowl.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View JamesVavra's profile


304 posts in 4230 days

#3 posted 09-08-2011 11:10 PM

I’ve turned a bit of Bradford pear and it is going to move and crack quite a bit. My suggestion would be to turn natural edged pieces out of it – that way, when it warps, it looks more like that was the plan all along.


View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3932 days

#4 posted 09-09-2011 03:57 AM

Go ahead and turn them while they are wet and if you get them thin enough they won’t warp so much on you. if you are going to store them for a while, definitely seal the ends and get the bark off , this is where the bugs start their infestations.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

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