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Thread: looking for a quick method for bowl finishing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
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    112

    looking for a quick method for bowl finishing

    Since the holidays have crept up on me and I haven't done nearly as much in the shop as I had hoped. I was looking for some ways to take green wood, not real wet but definitely green, and get to a finished bowl, good enough to gift, in time for Christmas. I've never tried microwaving to dry, or shellac finishes, but willing to try something new. Any other tricks out there?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    DSM, IA
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    Ken, a member here, Mitch C. I think, has stated that he just seals wet wood with a spar varnish, I think again, and he has had good success with no cracking...Hopefully he will chime in.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Posts
    336
    The alcohol drying method only takes a couple of weeks...just in time for Christmas if you get cracking.

    Here's how I do it...

    Rough turn the bowls to a wall thickness that is roughly 10% of the diameter...ie, a 10" bowl would be turned to 1" thick. Leave a tenon on the bowl bottom.
    NB: Whether you start with the blank on a faceplate or woodworm screw, always use the tail stock center to make an indentation in the tenon while turning it. That way, it's easier to find the center of the tenon after the bowl dries.

    Soak the bowl overnight (or at least a few hours) in a container of denatured alcohol. You can buy it at the box stores. Remove the bowl and let it drip dry over the container.

    Lay the bowl open side down on a sheet of brown paper (a grocery bag opened up works great). Fold the paper up tightly over the bowl bottom and tape in place with masking tape. Cut away any excess paper.

    Turn the bowl over and cut out the paper from the bowl opening. Write the date on the paper...just in case.

    Store open-side down on a rack to allow air flow for two weeks. The theory is that the inside of the bowl will dry first, promoting a cupping action that enhances the shape and inhibits cracking.

    Place the dry bowl over a jam chuck and bring up the tail stock against the tenon center. Re-turn the tenon round (it will have warped).

    Reverse chuck the bowl and inish fturn the outside round, then finish turn the inside.

    Re-mount the bowl on a jam chuck or with a doughnut chuck or vacuum chuck, turn off the tenon and shape the bottom.

    Apply finish and voila!
    Cody


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Hardinsburg, KY
    Posts
    277
    I've had pretty good results finish turning green wood and then boiling the piece for about an hour. After a couple of days the piece is dry and ready for hand sanding. I usually start at 220 and work up as far as I think the piece needs. Then you can sand with what ever finish you prefer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
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    112
    Cody, thanks, I will be trying this soon but probably not before this Holiday. Too much to do before I'll actually get in the shop to turn and I won't have the drying time. Doug, I may try boiling. I've read about it before with people using lobster pots on special propane burners. What do you use? (Lobster pots kind of hard to find in the desert.) Anybody actually tried micro waving to dry? I've heard about it but don't know anyone with first hand experience.

    Ken

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    DSM, IA
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    Ken I haven't tried it, but I had these sites saved to try it sometime....

    >>>Link<<<

    >>>Link<<<

    If you try it please report back how it works.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website


  7. #7
    The Alcohol method is my favorite method. Works well with few failures, Cody is dead on my method, and it works.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Ogden, Utah
    Posts
    348
    You've gotten a lot of good suggestions already. But you can also turn it thin, 3/8" or less, and just let it warp to its own shape. I kind of like a bowl with a good natural warp to it, adds character.

    BTW, I've played around with a little microwave drying with varied results. You want to be careful not to burn it, they go from hot to really smokin' hot in a hurry. Also keep in mind that it will stink up the kitchen pretty bad depending on the wood variety.
    Last edited by Curt Fuller; 12-06-2008 at 06:23 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Hardinsburg, KY
    Posts
    277
    Ken, I've used various stock pots. We bought a set of cheap stock pots a few years ago. I usually grab the first one I see and to to it. Most of the time I've done it on the kitchen stove, but the last time I used my Coleman stove out in the garage. Worked well. It was a little slower to come up to a boil, but worked non-the-less. Basically any pot you find that is large enough for the piece you are wanting to boil. The only thing that is critical is that the pot be an inch or two larger than the piece that is to be boiled. You don't want an accidental steam cap.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    112
    Thanks for all the ideas. I may start experimenting with microwave drying - thanks for the links - and I may boil a piece or two also in one of those turkey fryer kits. (I'm actually wondering about boiling and then microwaving???) Hoping early next year to get my alcohol set up going or just get far enough ahead to have a couple of blanks ready to go anytime I want to turn to a finished piece. Anyway, thanks again.

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