Warning: we may have wander off the map – literally.
I have a family member who is a wood turner and he has recently moved to Connecticut from Ulster County in NY. From a career as a production turner he has retired to just hand turning. He favors bowls but enjoys turning practically anything by hand. I have seen some of the many beautiful bowls he turned before he moved. Usually he would scour the landscape for green or partially dried logs which he would cut up and into sections and acclimate in his shop. Mostly, the wood he recovered in area around Woodstock, NY turned with no problems.
BUT, since moving to Ansonia, CT he has had a host of problem with cracking. Not checking, I am talking about cracks and splits that are over 1/4-inch wide opening up towards the end of the operation or shortly after. All (? well surely most) of the wood he has found in CT has split. The first batch was from a neighbor who had a downed tree. Then he selected some cut-offs of Cherry logs that had been sitting in a pile in my yard for about 3 years. I wondered why he did not come back for more cut-offs and then saw the reason why: three trials at turning my cherry all resulted in wide-open splits. Most recently he just started turning some spalted maple that my son had helped him harvest a month or so ago – the result: wide splits.
Now, I know that green wood is prone to checking if not dried properly, but this guy is experienced. He paints the end grain with Anchorseal right after he gets it home then acclimates it in his shop for several weeks. He is an experienced and proficient hand turner that quickly and uniformly shapes a bowl so he would not have a half finished project sitting on the lathe for days. It is not his shop, because wood he has on the shelf that was harvested in NY still turns reliably.
Question: have other CT turners seen this problem? Could there be something about wood harvested in CT vs material from across the border in NY? Are we really off the map here?
On the other coast, but I would look at temperature fluctuations in the shop and check humidity levels. You can also try placing the half turned bowl in a paper bag and anchor sealing the end grain. This slows the air movement around the bowl. Good luck.
This forum post is now archived. Commenting has been disabled