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Thread: Wood cracking ?

  1. #1

    Wood cracking ?

    I am having trouble with the wood splitting while it is still on the lathe. I have turned several pieces of green wood from this tree and they all seem to split quickly. They are all from a Cherry tree. Yesterday I made a ball and left it on the lathe while I put brakes on my friends van. I came back to the lathe less then an hour later and the wood had split. Do I need to seal it every time that I walk away from It? The tree was fell a while back but I cut it and put green wood sealent on the ends. Is there something that I am doing wrong? Thanks for any help.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    There are a lot of folks here better qualified to answer this than I am. But my tuppence is that turning green wood is an invitation for the wood to crack. Most turners of green wood will turn a bit, then wrap the piece in something to slow the drying process, let the piece rest a while then come back and finish. The wrap will vary with the turner from plastic bags to brown paper to old towels. The period of rest will vary from hours to weeks. Some will finish, some will only rough turn, wrap and store the item for a period of time. Again, that varies with the turner, wood, climate, etc. from days to years. I suggest you get a book and/or join a turning club to get a proper tutorial on green wood turning and develop your own forumla for insanity. Good luck.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  3. #3
    The norm (I believe) is to do green turning in a simple session of bulk turning to approximate size and then (as Frank said) Prepare the piece for slow drying such as packing it in sawdust in a brown bag or soaking in alcohol or even that slme liquid soap or anchorseal or something but never just walk away from it. Even for an hour or so, the piece can go crazy on you (or drive you crazy)

    The spinning process has the moisture already moving about in the piece and the friction from the turning as well has the drying started. In turning you opened up the cells and pores that allow the water to exit easily so you started the chain of events to roll and when you walk away, it goes wild. Warm Dry Shop conditions contribute to the rapid drying.

    Just remember to continue through with the process and not spend downtime between the steps. Which ever drying process you try, spend makeready time before you start and be prepared to followthrough.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway

    I just went through this one on a big hunk of cherry. Who knew? I started turning a bowl, about 12 inches in diameter. That was friday morning. Got the outside done. Then I had to leave town. When I went out last night to finish it, it was FULL of cracks and splits. Dang!

    First, I found my bottle of CA glue, and slathered the cracks and let it dry. Then I re-turned the outside, and did a good sanding. I'll be using shellac for the final finish, so I glopped a bunch of shellac on the outside. Then I started hollowing the inside. Got most of the way done, but had to go to work. So I *really* shellaced the inside, and for good measure stuffed the insides with fresh damp shavings. Here's a pic of what the bowl looks like *right now*

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'll know this evening if it helped or not...



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