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Thread: Summer heat V. Wood drying - im losing the battle

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Summer heat V. Wood drying - im losing the battle

    With temps pushing up past the 110-115 range and humidity outside, the inside my garage is worse - its like a sauna. The wood i have been turning is mesquite and some pine and these temps takes it toll fast.

    I have soaked some in liquid detergent like Ron Kent does and then bag them up right after soaking for several days (rough turned) so far so good. I am on day two of the bagging out of soak.

    Some I have rough turned and put in bags right away and they are still cracking.

    Some I finished turned and put into soak with linseed/mineral/varnish mix and this usually has worked well for me. I let them soak in the mix for a min of 4 days and sometimes longer and take out and let sit to dry for a couple weeks. I took some out today and by the end of the day - 2 of the 4 bowls had cracks in them. I put the others into paper bags, dated and set them aside in the house to hopefully slow down the drying. It has to be the extreme temps because with the oil soak on my finish bowls this has always worked and never lost a bowl.

    I am aware of the alcohol soak method and ive tried it and it works - I just perfer not using it....


    Anybody have any other things they do to dry in these temps ?

    I think i have lost 6 bowls in total in the past week or so - but i have a nice pile of designer firewood for the winter.......if i like the bowl ill enhance the cracks and fill them or play around and give them away otherwise i simply scrap them.........thanks Dan

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I have a large bowl that I started made from walnut that I whas given. The wood apear to be dry. I roungh turned the outside then started on the inside and got some of the holllowing done and left it in the lathe over night, I came out the next day and it had developed cracks. I was discusted and set it aside. Keep in mind this is Arizona so the temp can vary from freezing to 120 degrees humidity from near zero to 70-80%. That was a year ago. I set the bowl aside. I looked at it today and for some reason the cracks have healed up and I'll finish the bowl soon just to see what happens. Maybe time heals all wounds..
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Mosley View Post
    ...Anybody have any other things they do to dry in these temps ?...
    Move to Seattle?

    Seriously, I don't know what to suggest. Mesquite is supposed to be one of the least crack-prone woods. If it's cracking on you, you might just be fighting a losing battle. Any way you can dry them in your house?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
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    Vaughn -Don - Yep southern California heat - similar to Arz i suppose because the temps and humidity you mention are about the same.
    I am going to bring inside the rest of bowls i mentioned - going to try to finish turn and bag - soak and bag etc and label and place them all inside to see if my loss ratio will decrease or vanish.....

  5. #5
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    I am surprised that mesquite would crack like that especially as stable as it is. I do use the alcohol soak and have lost one bowl in 2 yrs. I soak and wrap them like a Christmas present. I store mine in a fairly cool area on the floor and not more than 3' above it. Mike Mahoney told me this a couple of years ago and since doing it haven't lost any. He said he stores most of his in his basement on the floor. The room I have mine in rarely goes above 78 deg at floor level.
    Bernie W.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    I may be off base, wouldn't be the first time, but I don't think mesquite should be water or detergent soaked unless you dry it very very slowly. I wouldn't think the oil or alky would hurt, but desert trees live by soaking up as much water as they can when it's available in the dry climates. I think it's possible you are adding to the stresses rather than easing them. That being said, I have filled large gaps in mesquite burl with black or very dark brown epoxy and in the finished piece it just looks like part of the wood.

  7. #7
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    Ken - I have had good luck not putting any spray on then and simply bagging them up post roughing or finish turning until summer with the extreme heat and humidity then the problems started - I just thought spraying lightly and bagging good would cause a slower drying but i could be wrong. Just the other day i put a trash can inside where the temp is much cooler and hoping this will fix the issue until the wheather changes. Ill know more in the near future when i check them.
    i have not tried colored epoxy yet but im going to give it a try - I have filled with stone powders, coffee grounds and other things with varying degrees of good finish. Thanks for the epoxy suggestion and ill sure try it in the near future.......

  8. #8
    I really haven't had a problem, and I've been rough turning a wide variety of wood lately. I just throw them in a bag or box with some woodchips and leave them in the garage (which is like an oven these days) and they are ready to finish turn mighty fast. I don't recall loosing any blanks to the drying process, just the turning process.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    sydney australia
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    Hmm, bit of a worry, but as it has been suggested store at floor level.
    I store my rough outs in card board boxes at the back of the garage on the floor. This is a very cool spot as the house is two storey.
    The cardboard box really controls the the climate very well and has insulating properties so it prevents any rapid temp change or humidity.

    Add to that of water soaking blanks and rough outs most likely to have severe movement. Change the water as it discolors until it remains clear then rough turn and dry in a card board box for a few weeks 6-8 generally.

    As to temps I get pretty well the same range as you do at the height of summer, a few years ago it ran to 120-122 and I never lost anything.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2006
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    I have a bunch of stacked and stickered maple and walnut slabs in my garage. For the previous two years during the summer I left my big door open and had a fan blowing on the wood. I worked some of the wood and it was fine. I figured it was now dry (it had been laying outside first for about a year, poorly stickered). But recently I took out some of the maple and found most of the boards about 50% spalted. The walnut looks OK. To address yer problem, I guess only constant ventilation will prevent these problems.

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