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Woodturning Question - preserving fresh cut wood

6145 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  fredj
I was lucky enough to have been given 4 large chunks of ash from a local tree trimmer, I understand that you should coat them in paraffin wax. Does any one know the process, do I coat the bark also?, what about having the correct moisture in the wood when you turn it. How much is proper moisture content, do you remove the wax and dry the wood some before turning it, I know nothing on this subject so any help would be appreciated,

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You wax the materials end grain to slow the drying process. It doesn't prevent it. The faster the log dries the more likely it will crack. You could turn it green, making it close to the shape you want it leaving it bigger in size. Then allow it to dry and complete the turning once it's dry enough. Depending on the mosture content if you turn it green, you may or may not want to apply wax to slow the drying process.
Some folks use left over latex house paint and apply a heavy coat to each end of the log. It may not be as efficient but it is a lot cheaper.

You can turn the wood now- while it's wet. If you were going to make a bowl, for example, you could create the general shape/size now leaving the sides/bottom extra thick. Then store the turned blank and allow it to dry before finishing it. I wrap my blanks in several layers of newspaper with the blanks' shavings packed in the cavity. then place them in a large bag with more of the shavings. Let them dry for about a year and then finish turning them.

Trifern (Joe) (a Lumberjock) turns his blanks while still wet but turns the walls so thin that they don't warp or crack when drying. He also has a couple of other techniques to remove moisture. Check his blog/projects for more information.
Thanks for the good info gentlemen, I really appreciate it, I will be sure to check Trifern's blog. Have a great day.
if you turn green wood and don't seal it, it WILL CRACK. always seal the wood even if it is dry and you're going to work on it the next day. there is enough moisture left in it to crack. learned the hard way :)
I use Anchor Seal. Paints on White and dries clear. I have about 30 bowl blanks that I covered in Anchor Seal three years ago and they are in the exact same condition today that they were when I sealed them. Highly recommend Anchor Seal
What has worked for me is to rough a bowl out green, wax it and keep it in a dry place, weigh it from time to time and when it stops getting lighter it's dry enough to finish turning. Allow about a year per inch of thickness.
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