Our maple, oak, and madrone wood materials come from fresh, green wood that is ideal for woodturning projects. For example, just this past week, Jan.22, 2008 to be exact, I put on the lathe and completed a bowl which I had rough-turned and sealed some 3-1/2 years earlier-on August 4, 2004. Most of the green wood I buy goes aside for a long time before I can turn it unless I’m trying to turn green wood. Mount the blank on the lathe, typically with a screw center chuck or faceplate fastened to the top of the bowl blank.
Talked to a man at Statesville, NC woodturning conference many years ago, he used an old refrigerator, have since seen examples of gas stove, and dish washer Also some plywood built kilns. I have no idea if the bowl blanks exiting my kiln are at 20% moisture content, 12% or 8%. For all I know they are at zero. I put some on some wood the other day when it was warmer, but I put some of it on some wood today, and it is still not dry. Air dried timber on the other hand, usually has an MC in the region of 18% to 20% and, for the kind of purposes being considered here, may well have to be dried further – this further drying is known as conditioning.
The sap wood is very light and contrasts markedly with the deep redish brown heartwood, which makes yew very decorative. The wood wants to shrink about twice as much tangentially (parallel to the growth rings) than radially (from the center of the disc outward). Once the pieces in your kiln stop losing weight (moisture), they are dry enough to finish turn.
Having said that when you work with hand tools you learn even more because you have more feel for the tool cutting the wood and it makes more difference if the wood is just right since you can’t just turn up the power and speed to mash your way through it. The kiln gradually heats up to about 60 degrees and takes between ten days and two weeks to bring the moisture content from 25% to 12% – just right for the final stage of turning. But due to me closing it up tighter on these days I can keep the moisture in so the take up rate from the middle of the wood to the surface is basically slowed right down or even stopped if I want to.
Wood turners have been getting by with simply a box with shelves, light bulb for heat, vents holes, and a fan to dry rough outs and small boards. They also do not include delivery, and, as you can imagine, shipping green wood can get expensive, therefore we recommend you give us a call and we arrange a date when you can have a look at all that is available. Normally we certainly wouldn’t resin cast this wood as it is extremely hard, certainly one of the hardest available in Australia. How you season a rough-turned bowl is the subject of thousands of conversations and web posts. That’s why most turners turn green wood from blanks they chainsaw from freshly fallen logs.
While they kiln is running rough out a fresh pile of logs or finish turn the pieces you took out last time and never got around to. If you are so fast in your turning and your work sells quick enough that this system is not up to your speed, add a second kiln. JMHO, building a kiln to dry spindle, bowl, and hollow form blanks, not worth the time and money for average woodturner. Blanks should be stored in a cool dry place that has a good air flow around it but not be in direct sunlight or near any source of heat.