Anyone turning Redwood?

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Forum topic by xeddog posted 04-18-2017 07:19 PM 1256 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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271 posts in 3617 days

04-18-2017 07:19 PM

I just had a redwood tree taken down because it was dying and I asked the tree dude to save me some of the pieces so I could try turning some. I have turned a little bit, but I am by no means an expert at it. I have turned a couple of small bowls, handles and knobs, etc. As a matter of fact, the very first piece of wood I put on a lathe was a piece of redwood, but it was not quite the same. It was a piece of a 8”-ish diameter log that had been laying on the ground for years so was rather punky to say the least, not to mention worm eaten.

So now I have some fresh, not worm eaten redwood, and larger pieces to boot. I’m not sure exactly what I want to turn yet, but it won’t be anything too elaborate. Perhaps some simple bowls, or a small platter or ???

I am assuming that since this wood is so soft I will need SHARP! tools and proper technique to get any kind of surface to work with. Anything special about turning this stuff???



3 replies so far

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3978 days

#1 posted 04-18-2017 07:25 PM

You said it Wayne, SHARP tools. Very grainy wood that splinters easy. Rough it out then speed it way up. The faster and sharper the better. I haven’t had any redwood in a while like that but done right it is great looking. I do have a redwood burl veneer core but haven’t decided what to do with it yet.

View LDO2802's profile


167 posts in 1040 days

#2 posted 04-18-2017 07:47 PM

Small cuts, don’t try to use your roughing gouge too heavy on it. If I had me some nice redwood, I would definitely turn a nice flat bowl or a vase. The color is just so beautiful.

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1089 posts in 3674 days

#3 posted 04-21-2017 10:18 AM

I turned one redwood burl bowl for a friend. The blank was soaking wet. I was nervous because my friend paid a lot for the blank and I had very little turning experience when I turned it. To this day it was one of the easiest bowls that I’ve turned, although the blank had some cracks so I didn’t go very thin (1/2” walls). It was a fun piece to turn because the material just peeled off of it so easily. Because of how soft it is I’m sure it would be much trickier when it is drier, but when it was green it was an absolute treat to turn.

Because this was my only redwood turning project, and one of the only times I’ve ever worked with redwood in any fashion, I don’t know if my experience was representative of redwood in general or an anomaly. But I look forward to the day when I’m chucking up my next redwood blank.

-- Paul Mayer,

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