Wood identification and turning - Router Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Default Wood identification and turning

Hello,
I picked up some cut logs that were on the side road marked free, I picked about 12 of them up and thought this would be something good to start learning wood turning. To be honest I do not know what species wood this is... I tried turning some of it but always end up looking very rough even after sanding. I attached some pics. I have also picked up a 4 x 4 block of cherry at my local wood supply and it turned like a dream is this stuff I found on the side of the road fire wood or.....?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 04:09 PM
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I'm going to pick up a 1/2 + cord of Cherry this afternoon. It's been out in the rain all year so it remains to be seen whether I'm picking up hardwood or firewood(?). Either way I'm good; it's free.
If it doesn't turn well, how about resawing and using it for lumber...end grain cutting boards perhaps?
Try belt sanding the endgrain of the log to see how it'll look.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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I'm going to pick up a 1/2 + cord of Cherry this afternoon. It's been out in the rain all year so it remains to be seen whether I'm picking up hardwood or firewood(?). Either way I'm good; it's free.
If it doesn't turn well, how about resawing and using it for lumber...end grain cutting boards perhaps?
Try belt sanding the endgrain of the log to see how it'll look.
Ya.... the price was right as for resawing I'll have to wait for the day I get a real band saw....
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 05:38 PM
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One reason it may not be turning or sanding well is because it may be too green or too wet from sitting in the rain. You might be able to identify the wood with a site like this one: The Wood Database Sometimes you need to be able to see the flat or face grain to do that. I break pieces like that down all the time but I also have a jointer which it seems you don't. But it's still possible. First you need to split the piece in half with an axe and then run it wide side down through your planer until you have a face wide enough to flip it over. You may have to put a piece of plywood on your planer bed to keep it level while you do this and if it rocks put a shim under one or two corners. Once you have two sides flat you can run it over your table saw and cut the edges square. As long as it's under 6" thick you can cut from both sides to remove strips off it. It's slow going but you can get some interesting wood that way. I had a good sized limb break off one of my Siberian elms 2 winters ago and the wood in it is gorgeous.
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Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 07:30 AM
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Mark I think it may be Red Elm. I use to live in Iowa (not far from you) and made several pieces out of Red Elm.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherryville Chuck View Post
One reason it may not be turning or sanding well is because it may be too green or too wet from sitting in the rain. You might be able to identify the wood with a site like this one: The Wood Database Sometimes you need to be able to see the flat or face grain to do that. I break pieces like that down all the time but I also have a jointer which it seems you don't. But it's still possible. First you need to split the piece in half with an axe and then run it wide side down through your planer until you have a face wide enough to flip it over. You may have to put a piece of plywood on your planer bed to keep it level while you do this and if it rocks put a shim under one or two corners. Once you have two sides flat you can run it over your table saw and cut the edges square. As long as it's under 6" thick you can cut from both sides to remove strips off it. It's slow going but you can get some interesting wood that way. I had a good sized limb break off one of my Siberian elms 2 winters ago and the wood in it is gorgeous.

Chuck, I am not a turner but I have read to make bowls you start by turning the wood wet. You just turn it part way then set it up on the shelf in your shop for about a year then turn it the rset of the way.

Don in Murfreesboro,Tn.

Measure once cut twice and it's still to short.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 12:57 PM
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I've heard that too Don. I've also heard that you can speed the drying process up by putting it in a microwave. I've never tried either one yet. I know Bernie has and I remember one post he made where he says you have to get it to a certain stage before you stop and let it dry. I remember him saying that he was turning one when he got company and had to leave it and by the time he got back to it that it was ruined. I'm guessing that internal stresses had warped it too badly or split it. It sounded like there are some tricks to doing it and I don't know what they are but if someone wanted to know maybe we could pm Bernie and get him to explain it.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 06:13 PM
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After you turn wet wood you put the piece in a paper bag with the wet sawdust. This slows down the drying process
and your piece is less likely to crack.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-28-2018, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all, I've tried everything with this wood. After even sanding a lot it is bad. I purchased a block of cherry from my local wood supply and even with the HF tools it came out pretty good. This wood is also very hard! Time to go out a look for some more free wood that I can practice on. Thanks again. Mark
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