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My neighbor cut down a small ash tree today. I got two limbs that I would like to slice up for coasters sets. I want to avoid checks and cracks. Do I cut it green or give it time to dry? If I cut it green, how should I dry the wood? Any thoughts on this question would be appreciated. Jim
 

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A couple of ways that have worked for me when using green wood for turning:

1. Leave the limbs the way they are, coat both ends with anchorseal, and let them sit for a few months, (3-4). Then cut them to size, put them in a sealed (by sealed I mean put them in the bag then roll up the upper part of the bag to seal them in) paper grocery bag for a month or two, then they should be ready to go.

2. Cut to size, then soak in a bath of denatured alcohol. Completely submerge them. Let them soak overnight. The alcohol will displace most but not all of the water in the wood. Then put in the grocery bag and let sit for a month.

3. Cut to size, coat the entire coaster with anchorseal, let sit for 4 months or so.

Hope this works for you!

Happy New Year.
 

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If the piece is small enough I'd put it in the microwave oven, but it really depends on if the wood is prone to checking and cracking. When I dry Japanese persimmon(Kurogaki) which is a hard and heavy wood, I usually will put it in for 1 minute of high power and then 30 minutes cooling on a shelf.
I can usually dry a 6"diameter x 1'foot long piece of wood in a day.
Try it with a sample piece first. If the wood comes out of the microwave steaming, then try 30 seconds on high or 1 minute on low power. Try it little by little at first…..too long and or too high a power will cook your wood, Be Careful!

Good luck
 

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Jeff I agree with all of the above methods I have tried just about all of them. I just received some Yew limbs and I cut them to length (8" - 14"). I put them on the lathe and turned them round and anchor sealed the ends. The reason for putting them on the lathe is to get an even surface all of the way around. This helps prevent cracking because the wood is even all of the way around. I also tried to center the limb on the pith whenever possible. I did this 6 weeks ago and I looked this morning at them and there is no evident checking on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all of the suggestions. One more question about the microwave technique. Will it create an odor? I can remember my father roasting raw peanuts in the oven. Our house smelled like a barn for days. I have a nice shop, but I don't want to be sleeping there.
 

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You MIGHT try a small piece in a zip lock bag to reduce the odor. Watch it, though. If it looks like it's about to explode….STOP!

A dedicated unit would be better…. to keep the peace.

See the thread on using kitchen utensils in the shop….:))
 

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Jim when I have microwaved my wood (that didnt come out right) I place a small cup of water in the microwave to introduce moisture into the microwave. It helps to equalize the moisture around the wood.
 
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