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Thread: Size of Pieces for Turning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
    Posts
    3,220

    Size of Pieces for Turning

    First, I am not a turner and know nothing about it.

    My question is, as I'm cutting back and cutting down some stuff in the jungle, better known as my yard, how big (diameter? length) does a piece have to be for it to be useable for a turner?

    Also, since I read a lot about turners working on green wood, what if something is standing and dead? Thoroughly completely dead....will turners turn something that's dead?

    Also, what if it's something that's a wood I've never seen/heard talked about like a burl on a Magnolia or some such oddity.

    And BTW, no, I'm not cutting down everything, just a few things to, say, see out the window.

    Just want to know if I should save any interesting bits for Secret Santa....
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    bethel springs TN, but was born and raised in north east PA
    Posts
    3,132
    Cynithia Simple answer yes we turn all most anything. I've known people that turn pieces so small that they can't be seen hardly. And others that turn monster pieces.I think from what i've seen that on average Folks like blanks 12 to14". As far as any burl there just junk, so go ahead and send them down here and i'll get rid of them for ya. My adress is.........
    Steve

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,020
    Steve's pretty much summed things up. If it's wood, most turners will give it a try. Wet, dry, live, dead, whatever...if it's wood (or at least similar) it's worth a shot.

    However, with all due respect, I'd hate to see you spend the extra money shipping those useless burls all the way to Tennessee. California is so much closer to your side of Canada.
    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
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Reno, Nv
    Posts
    3,632
    And since I'm closer to the border than Vaughn...it will save you more money to ship it to me!. My lathe is a mini, so a max size for me is 9.5". Guessing my average is about 6-8" for a bowl and 3" for a box.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Posts
    5,022
    Cynthia,
    We will turn any piece of wood ...and when we run out of wood....

    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Salt Spring Island, BC Canada
    Posts
    2,070
    It depends on the bed of the lathe size Cynthia. There are lathes out there that can handle 5 ft bowl. My lathe can handle 16 inch inboard and 29 inch out board. Green wood turns the best with huge curlies coming off the lathe at a fantastic pace and with woods like Arbutus and it is the only way to turn it as it changes shape afterwards. I have tried to turn dead wood but have found lots of punky pieces and have had bowls blow up in my face. Shrubs can be turned and small branches too. That is the best part of turning. the best wood come from the bush and it is mostly "free" ( my favorite word) you don't waste much of anything. When I got my lathe I was going through my wood pile and all the scrap wood from my shop and such was fair game for turning now I am am turning everything. Lots of fun. Small branches become mushrooms or small goblets. Small blocks of dried wood can be glued up to make wonderful bowls and plates or in chucks case mugs. If you don't like what you have made it can be reduced in size and re turned or it is fire wood. The wood chips are great for the garden ( except some forms of hard wood like walnut). Burls are wonderful growths on the side of trees, Croth wood is wild to turn with the grains going everywhere,
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    5,175
    While all the guys are vying for your burl, remember we girls need to stick together. All burls are very welcome in my shop.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Salt Spring Island, BC Canada
    Posts
    2,070
    One of the guys at work just gave away a truck full of burls ( all shapes and sizes ) for fire wood. Just makes you want to cry.
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
    Posts
    4,834
    Vaughn is right. We will turn it in most any condition. I have cut cottonwood and ash that was still standing that had no bark. Depends on the lathe size as to what you size you want to cut the blanks.
    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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Palm Springs, Ca
    Posts
    1,169
    I just got thru cutting up and discarding (firewood pile) or keeping a bunch of dried wood another turner gave me. Speaking on the dry out woods I got......... I looked over each one and alot of them had deep cracks and some bad spots that I knew would not hold during turning. I used my chain saw and cut them down to either firewood size or into turning blanks. The wood that I keep is crack free - voids and inclusions can add interest to a pc though if not to bad....
    Its hard to say what someone will want to turn - some turn pens in which case you can come by my house and stock up.............LOL . Others will turn bowls, vessels, spindles etc -
    Then one thing I did is to create a pile of small sealed blanks for pens or very small turnings and ship them off to a friend or someone that does small objects - they will love to get them - flat shipping is cheap.

    Personally, I do mostly just vessels now a days so my scrap pile is large and growing.
    First you have to learn the rules - Beginner
    Then you have to learn advanced rules - Professional
    Then you disregard the rules - This takes you to the master level................

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