|Wood turning lathes seem to eat wood supply. One of the first difficulties encountered by a new turner is where to get the wood to turn. Most grab a 2x4, cut it to a 2x2 and turn it round. This gets tired fast. Firewood is available in most communities. It is fairly cheap, hardwood instead of softwood, certainly a lot cheaper than finished, kiln dried boards, and in more suitable shapes for turners. That said the question is what to do with it to prepare it for turning.|
Consider that fire wood is generally sold by the cord. Say you get a cord of firewood and want to turn bowls, vases, candle sticks, spurtles and stuff. A cord of wood is a lot of wood. Certainly enough for 100 bowls and vases each with lots left over for spindle turning and allowing for a third waste, much of which can be turned. This needs to be transformed from log length of 8 feet or stove length of 16 inches to usable wood.
The reason I mention all the things you can do with a cord of wood and the obvious cost savings, is simply that you need a chain saw and part of the savings go for it. For shop purposes an electric will do and unless you have lots of disposable income, Electrolux makes most of the electrics on the market, usually under the Poulan label but also lots of others. Get a 16" saw with about a 12 amp motor. Wear appropriate safety gear. I make no claims and take no responsibility for safe chain saw use. This is one of the most dangerous tools known to man. I have used one since I was a young lad, and it still scares me silly. It is also a virtual necessity for turners unless you plan on buying some very expensive, pre cut blanks for the rest of your turning career.
|Step one is to coat all ends with log sealer such as anchorseal or the like. I buy Anchorseal in a five gallon bucket and pour it into a convenient pitcher for easy carrying and use. In the pitcher lives a brush for application. I cut the handle a bit so the cover fits on. Just paint the ends of the logs.|
|Out here in the yard are a few piles of wood similar to those found at most wood turners. The first is a motley collection of squares, slabs, half logs and quarter logs. The woods are maple, cherry, ash, and birch. All ends are coated with Anchorseal and the pith has been cut from the wood. A lot of those slabs started as pith cuts from the center of the log and then the full center removed.|
|On the left of this grouping is a pile of half logs waiting to be bowls, mostly ash and maple. There is a pile of logs of hybrid maple that came from a person's front yard. She called and said the town was cutting them down and I could have them if I so desired. There is also some ash obtained the same way as well as a bit of wild cherry from a friend. The ends are Anchorsealed.|
|Here is a pile of log sections mostly 16" long. A lot of it arrived that length, either from a firewood dealer or because I do not like to heave more than eighty of so pounds of wet wood at one time. There is a mixture of black cherry, red oak, ash, red maple, rock maple, elm, silver birch, white birch and yellow birch. With the exception of a few pieces which came off a pile that had been cut for some time before it came to me, all ends are Anchorsealed. If I wished to keep it even in better condition, I would have it under some kind of cover. However, I find the pieces on the ground spalt faster than those on top, the top layers sun protect the lower, there is shade from the fence and trees and besides it is too much bother.|
|On the other hand, this load of saplings will mostly become mushrooms. They come to me from a silverculturist who clears around Christmas trees and future lumber. I just leave the ends alone and cut back past the cracks when it is time to use the wood.|
I hope this helps so let me know how it turned out.
© 2006 copyright Darrell Feltmate, Around the Woods, Wood Turning Techniques