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Thread: Smaller tree limbs for blanks?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Gretna, LA
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    Smaller tree limbs for blanks?

    I'm just getting into woodturning and been doing my reading. I'll start by saying everyone's so helpful and I've been able to find a lot of answers and tips. In advance - sorry if this has already been asked and answered

    I've read about processing larger trunks and gotten a better handle on that (of course I'm sure there'll be future questions to come!). Now I'm wondering if smaller limbs (3"-6") can be used to produce blanks for projects such as pens, bottle stops, etc? I'm guessing the pith is still an issue and would need to be removed? And if these are usable, any and all suggestions/tips/links on processing would really be appreciated.

    Again, this is a great set of forums!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Sudbury, MA
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    You know I can't speak to processing the limbs, but I have walked over to the wood pile and taken out a piece or two and made handles.
    Last edited by Nick Clayton; 05-16-2008 at 01:50 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Jim, first Welcome to the Family.

    I know others have processed wood for pens and bottle stops from smaller blanks before, but I haven't. I seem to remember Stu doing this with a recent score of wood. Good luck and please post some pics of your work. We love pictures here.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website


  4. #4
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    Oct 2006
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    Welcome to the Family Jim!

    For smaller stuff, you certainly can use limbs, I've made a lot of pens and or things like Mushrooms from the limbs, but you have to understand, that it is common for limbs to have cracks in them, this is especially true if the limb was growing more horizontal than upright. Also depends how the tree was taken down, it it was just dropped, and lot of damage can be done to the limbs as the tree hits the ground, if the larger limbs were taken off, by a crane, for example, the damage is usually much less.

    What the heck if it is free wood, at the very least, you can call it practice

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Central (upstate) NY
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    These handles that I am making are from a piece of wood past the first bifurcation of a storm felled tree. Part of the reason there is so much "wastage" at the ends is to get rid of checking. While I'm sure that much of the checking was due to my not properly painting the endgrain quickly enough before it started drying, part of it might be stress too.

    Like Stu said, if it's free just wear a face mask in case it blows apart on you.

    I'm very new too, so I have no idea if my handles will stand the test of time.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kosmowski View Post
    [URL="http://familywoodworking.org/forums/showthread.php?p=101875#post101875"]
    I'm very new too, so I have no idea if my handles will stand the test of time.
    Hey Mark, then you get to make a new one if they fail, darn, an 'excuse' for more turning.
    -Ned

  7. #7
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    Gretna, LA
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    I have to say I was amazed how fast the responses came in - and thanks all for the warm welcome

    Most of what I've picked up so far appears to be in good condition (trees cut down or trimmed and I picked through
    the piles). Would the damage be internal where I couldn't see until turning? The positive is I'd still be getting practice
    even if the wood was damaged internally.

    One additional question - being new at this I don't have any high tech drying set up. I'm thinking I have three options:
    1) seal the ends and let air dry - but citrus and other woods tend to split
    2) cut to various sizes, process with DNA, stabilizer, or ?, and store away
    3) do #2 but leave as large as possible for future blanks

    Ok - two additional questions ...what do you all do to prevent/stop insects such as powder post beetles, termites, etc?

    Hmmm, think I'm hitting on areas that have been asked and answered before...and again, all is very much appreciated

  8. #8
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    Well, the sooner you rough things out, the sooner you will get past the problems of cracks and splits, but I really do understand that sometimes you cannot rough it all out, so get some green wood sealer and seal up the endgrain. To stop the bugs, lose any loose bark, the bugs live between the bark and the wood.

    Good luck!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Jim you have gotten a lot of good advice. Welcome to the Family.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thatís when you return from work one day
    and say, ďHi, Honey, Iím home Ė forever.Ē

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Cornwall, England
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    Small limbs are also useful for miniatures, light pulls, keyrings and jewellery. Depending on the size you can also make end grain goblets, boxes and small pin bowls. Once you have blanked the wood any of the above can be made almost straight away apart from boxes which need to be made of pretty dry wood to avoid distortion.

    Have a look here for some ideas

    Hope this helps

    Pete

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