***EVERYONE*** The BEST way to dry or speed up the drying process of GREEN WOOD bowls/projects?!?!?

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Forum topic by TinyBoWLs posted 01-02-2015 08:41 PM 9975 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 2394 days

01-02-2015 08:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood turning wood turning woodturning turn bowl spoon plate kuksa timber tree burl birch maple cherry walnut spalted hickory cedar mesquite lathe sander chisel oil boil water dry drying process cup zip bag brown wax paint brush finish crack cracks split cut axe knife scale carve carving bowl gauge spoon gauge chip hollow alder coco oak purpleheart ash basswood pine teak willow zebrawood bandsaw tool drill planer scroll saw blade clamp plane sand router gun carving tool carving knife roughing milling shaping sharpening burning refurbish art craft rustic green green wood modern traditional survivor bush bushcraft survive greene texas question tip resource help trick bend rip bark everything

Hello Fellow Wood Jocks!!

So here is what I need everyone’s help with…...

I’d like for everyone that comes across this to please post ways you like to dry green wood pieces that are turned or carved! I seem to always get a few cracks on the bowls I turn, with the couple ways I dry the wood! I have been wood turning and wood carving for a few years now and this seems to be something of a huge topic of discussion, which is how to dry or speed up the drying process when turning or carving green wood! I mainly make small to mid-size bowls, spoons, plates, cups, and kuksas!!

I haven’t tried all the methods out there, but I have tried drying a partially finished wood turned bowl in a brown bag with wood shavings around the bowl, but this doesn’t always work! The only other process I have tried is putting the wood piece in a ziplock bag that is slightly open to collect all the moisture. Then I turn the plastic ziplock bag inside out every time water collects in the bag like condensation! This process does work but doesn’t seem to dry the wood completely, which ultimately results in cracks!

Cracks are my arch nemesis!!!! Hah and I’d like to hear and try whatever y’all think the best process is to dry my wood pieces! So if you know something that works great then please share! I know there are lots of fellow lumber jocks that need this answer too!

Thanks everyone!

-- "Off The Grid Living, You Can Call It Survival, But I Call It My Life!"

15 replies so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3788 days

#1 posted 01-02-2015 09:37 PM

Sorry, can’t help….
I’m one of the “fellow lumber jocks that need this answer too”!!!
Sooo, I’ll be a watchun’.....

BTW: Welcome to LJs.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Mark's profile


1071 posts in 3087 days

#2 posted 01-02-2015 09:50 PM

Well I’ll tell ya guys. I’ve turned and dried maybe a doz green cherry bowls of various sizes from 4” to 11” dia. I think Ive lost a couple to cracking, but for the most part warping is the problem. I let the wood sit in my shed for a couple a months with wood preserver on each end. Cut off 3/4” when I’m ready to turn. I’ve turned them to 1/2”+ and 1/4” wall thickness. Into the paper bag NO shavings an leave them in the garage till I think they’re done. Most of the time I’ll get some kind of warp on the edge or body. A couple of times it was enough that I couldn’t salvage the bowl. I’ve heard that the warping is what makes it art work…I’m trying for functionality. Hope this helps .

-- Mark

View jdh122's profile (online now)


1240 posts in 3930 days

#3 posted 01-02-2015 10:07 PM

You probably already know this. But if you leave the pith in or wood too close to it, the bowl will inevitably crack. Before Christmas I finished a carved bowl in birch and was happy with it. Coated it in boiled potato (this is my method for slowing down drying and it generally works as long as I don’t get impatient and put it over the heat register) like I usually do but it cracked anyway. I decided it was cause I left too close to the pith (this bowl was carved bark side up to get that nice sweep).

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Rob's profile


320 posts in 4099 days

#4 posted 01-02-2015 10:35 PM

After rough turning a green bowl down to about 10% of its diameter (10” diameter=1” thick walls) I use the denatured alcohol method found here and I’ve had really good results.

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 5006 days

#5 posted 01-03-2015 12:50 AM

like a fine wine and a good spirit served with good food

some parts of the journey cant be rushed

others can : )

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 5006 days

#6 posted 01-03-2015 01:01 AM

seen too many good burls burn under the hands I own : (

I treat them by first soaking them in a polymer that kills bunky wood, and stops checking
and sealing them in a bag
then wax them
then wait
and wait
and wait
Like a wine, some are ready to sample : )

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 2982 days

#7 posted 01-03-2015 01:03 AM

The fastest way is by using lots and lots of….

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 2982 days

#8 posted 01-03-2015 01:04 AM

... Patience.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 5006 days

#9 posted 01-03-2015 04:41 AM


is but another word : )

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 5006 days

#10 posted 01-03-2015 04:51 AM

one can have so little

and be happy : ))

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 5006 days

#11 posted 01-03-2015 05:15 AM

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3120 days

#12 posted 01-03-2015 02:23 PM

And for those of us who HAVE no patience, you wind up with this…

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View moke's profile


1768 posts in 3889 days

#13 posted 01-03-2015 06:02 PM

The quickest and best way to dry bowls???? Work on another project and come back to it in 3 to 6 months….
I have tried many things….DNA bath…microwave…..homemade drying cabinet ( unless you do it very right, that is the most worthless of all). There is a guy I know with a very nice cabinet…actually too big to be considered a cabinet …he lets them sit a month and gets a nice result. I really don’t know the particulars about the cabinet…it sits outside and he has a LOT of cash in it.

-- Mike

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3399 days

#14 posted 01-03-2015 09:05 PM

Physics work despite wishful thinking. When I started turning wood, I turned all kinds. Rainbow poplar, maple, camphor….you name it. There is only one piece of useful advise I can give…use kiln dried wood.

I know turning wet is safer and easier, but lets face it, as the wood dries the grain is going to pull in.

However if you must turn wet, boil the bowl for about 20 minutes in a large pot, then let it cool slowly. This won’t completely dry it out, but it will get you 70% there.

You can also microwave it for a couple minutes and let it dry in the microwave oven, this takes about 2-6 tries before it’s completely dry and rarely comes out perfect.

Wet wood cannot hold it’s shape as it dries, there will be some minor distortion so I recommend using kiln dried wood and carbide lathe tools. If you use M2 metal on your chisels they will need to be sharpened every 10 minutes or so. Go slow and finish off with a good carbide chisel.

This is my favorite bowl, turned from spalted maple which was very dry to begin with.
Came out better than any piece I’ve turned wet.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View bondogaposis's profile


5999 posts in 3464 days

#15 posted 01-03-2015 09:33 PM

When drying wood slower is always better and in the end faster than cracked and split bowls that wastes time and wood.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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