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Thread: Is oak good for turning?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Lafayette, Indiana
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    Is oak good for turning?

    So yesterday my brother tells me that an oak tree fell down for some reason out on his property. This is Indiana so I assume that it isn't anything exotic, just plain oak. I have read that the cells in oak are too big and it doesn't turn very well. Does anyone have any experience turning plain oak? I can't get out to it until this winter when all the poison ivy is dead, but he said it is a good size tree.

    Tom

  2. #2
    I really like turning Oak -- Red oak is my favorite - white oak next-- I turn most species found in Missouri which are many with many hybridized species also.

    It does have an open grain but takes a beautiful finish.

    -----
    Oak, Hickory are plentiful in the Ozarks so I am glad that I like to turn them.

    ~~~~~~~ NOTE ~~~~~~~~~~~
    leafless poison ivy may not be dead - the oil is found in all stages and very potent still.
    Oak splits and when oak dries it splits and becomes very hard..
    Go get it cut up now and anchorseal it.. Take a long shower with plenty of soap -- helps with the removal of the poison ivy.
    Last edited by Paul Gallian; 08-30-2009 at 04:00 PM.
    Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it
    still sings!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    11,830
    Dissenting voice here.
    I don't like turning oak, too stringy and grainy for my tastes.
    Rounded stuff hard to sand and finish smoothly. Love it for flat stuff.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Remlik, Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Dissenting voice here.
    I don't like turning oak, too stringy and grainy for my tastes.
    Rounded stuff hard to sand and finish smoothly. Love it for flat stuff.
    Here too. Oak makes great floors. I have heard that Red Oak burl is very pretty. I got some layered White Oak burl once. I fought my way through one bowl and gave the rest away.
    Barbara

  5. #5
    PuShaw... Oak is an excellant turning wood. (Unless you are a greenwood turner) Look at all the Victorian furniture turned when duplicators were invented. Round Tables, Spindled chairs etc. all Oak and beautifully turned. A skew is reccommended then slicing open pores of the wood. Green wood turners are turned off by the fuzzy effect snd the splintering of the open grain but for us Dry wood turners, Oak is a pleasent wood to turn...

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    DSM, IA
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    I love to turn burr oak, even wet it is fresh cut. As long as you get the thickness uniform it will end up moving/warping all over without much cracking. Makes beautiful stuff. Makes a mess of things in the shop though because of all the tanin in it...
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
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  7. #7
    Join Date
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    I just finish turned my first oak bowl, and although the green wood was a bit stringy, the dried wood was pretty easy to handle. No tearout, and although is was a bit more resistant to sandpaper, it finished out nicely.

    I'd say if it's available, get some and try it. At the very worst you'll have some good firewood.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  8. #8
    Join Date
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    I have turned oak and have found it gets a little fuzzy when green but after it has dried it turns quite nice with sharp tools. Finishes really nice.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Lufkin Texas
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    It looks like some love turning oak and some hate it. I find that its not the easiest wood to turn but can be beautiful. My favorite oak to turn is live-oak, very hard but resists cracking. Post oak is my least favorite, but even that can look really good if you use crotch sections or burls. There are many varieties of red oak, I would not turn down any of them if freshly felled.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Ford View Post
    It looks like some love turning oak and some hate it. I find that its not the easiest wood to turn but can be beautiful. My favorite oak to turn is live-oak, very hard but resists cracking. Post oak is my least favorite, but even that can look really good if you use crotch sections or burls. There are many varieties of red oak, I would not turn down any of them if freshly felled.


    Well, for me, oak is a tossup. Spalted white oak can be gorgeous, and I'll take what I can get. Red oak, ehh, maybe if I don't have a lot of other turning wood around. I've only turned a couple logs of live oak, and would take any more I could get. All oak is a PITA as far as hand staining and inducing rust on any metal surface, but live oak is so dense that it cuts incredibly smooth with a well executed shear cut. I found it to actually crack pretty easily even when turned less than 1/4" thickness, DNA soaked, then bagged, but to be fair, the piece of wood I got was a little checked on the ends, but I did cut off a few inches off each end and meticulously check it and soak any micro cracks I found with CA glue. I filled the cracks with black CA glue and it looked great.

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