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Thread: A wood question

  1. #1

    A wood question

    O.K. since I just got started working with wood I need your knowledge and adivce. My friends' birch tree just came down in the last snow storm. Here's my questions: 1. Is birch a good wood to turn? 2. If so, what do I need to do to it to start to turn it? 3. If it is a wood to turn are there certain projects that are better to turn with this wood then others? I think thats it for now. Let me know what you think. Thanks!
    spinning into a new adventure

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    lutefisk capitol, USA
    Posts
    485
    yes birch is desirable for turning especially if it has any spalting. i'll let someone else take over now.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    1,487
    Hey Joan. Any free wood is good to turn. You don't even need a specific project. If something comes from it, Great! If not, you got some practice, learned about some wood, and it didn't cost you anything! I say chuck it up and get it spinning!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,002
    1. Is birch a good wood to turn?

    Yes, it can be. As Dale said, the spalted stuff looks nice, but if it gets too spalted (rotten) it can become so soft that it's difficult to get a clean cut.

    2. If so, what do I need to do to it to start to turn it?

    A) Cut the pith part out of the middle of any log sections you can get your hands on, then seal what remaining wood with green wood sealer (like Anchor Seal or Rockler's equivalent). If that's not available, latex paint works in a pinch, too. (It's a great way to use up that leftover mauve paint from the 1980's redecorating binge.)

    B) Put a piece of it on your lathe.

    C) Hit the switch and have fun.

    3. If it is a wood to turn are there certain projects that are better to turn with this wood then others?

    Typically, the round projects work best. Squares are so danged hard to do on a lathe. Seriously, I don't know that birch is better or worse suited for any specific projects.

    Even if all you do is mount a piece of log on your lathe and turn it until all you have is a toothpick, you'll have fun, and get some good tool practice.
    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

  5. #5
    Can't add much to what Vaughn said - get a hunk on the lathe and have at it!

    Here are a few of my projects from birch to give you some idears

    UFO bowl

    Square bowl

    Two more bowls

    Another view

    It's a real pleasure to work, and the shop smells like birch beer when the wood is still green.

    -Joe

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,002
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Fisher View Post
    ...
    It's a real pleasure to work, and the shop smells like birch beer when the wood is still green.

    -Joe
    When I work with birch plywood, I'm always reminded of the smell of brand-new Tinkertoys.
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
    Posts
    4,351
    Joe,
    Is the bottle for before or after the turning is done.. just a drab for medicinal purposes?
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Ellis View Post
    Joe,
    Is the bottle for before or after the turning is done.. just a drab for medicinal purposes?
    A wee dram from time to time keeps me on an even keel Really helps with tool control...

    -Joe <- kidding! friends don't let friends turn drunk

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