Caring for green applewood


A friend phoned me up this morning to tell me he's got some apple logs I can have for turning. He said he's been keeping them in the shade and they haven't checked too badly. Some are even an inch larger than my lathe can accept (13"). So he'll chainsaw some blanks for me. He suggested painting the ends with any oil based paint.
I hope to pick them up tomorrow afternoon. What do you think? Will painting the ends with oil based paint do the job? It's not likely I'll be able to turn them right away; how long do I have to get them painted? How long do I have if I don't paint them? I'm picturing making some bowls, so I'll get him to cut them maybe six or eight inches long, no more, and maybe keep one long one to make a lamp or something.
I never had the chance to turn green wood before, so have many mistakes yet to make. I could use some advice on finishing, and keeping the finished bowl from cracking, too.
Thanks for any seasoned advice you can give me.
- Owen -
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Wood starts checking immediately after cutting so the sooner you coat the ends the better. If you can't for some reason then keep the wood out of the sun and in a cool place Put it in a plastic bag with a damp cloth or paper or moss around the wood. If you can't work it within a few days then submerge it in water, they will keep fine for a long time. Apple wood rots fairly quickly if damp and exposed to air but totally submerged is best.
Owen Lawrence wrote:

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Sealing the end grain should be done to a fresh cut. If the log is 13 inches in diameter, the log sections should be cut 15 inches or more in length. The ends always check some, so when you go to turn the bowls, trim off the ends, and then make the bowl blank. Also, cut the logs down the pith (center) There is always some checking off the pith. Store it covered, out of the wind, and out of the sun. If storing it on the ground, I always place one end on the ground, and cover the other end with damp shavings. Check out rec. woodturning. robo hippy
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I brought home three chunks of wood. Two sections about eight or ten inches long, and one more at least 16 inches long. We were thinking this one might turn into a lamp.
Seems like all I had to seal the ends was paraffin, so I dripped some on the biggest piece using a blowtorch and heated it until the wood looked wet. The whole "log" is wrapped inside a heavy duty garbage bag and standing on end. I hope it helps because I'm out of time this weekend.
We committed what I hope is a common newbie mistake: We cut one blank across the middle of the log, as though I were about to turn a really short, fat spindle. I don't have a chainsaw myself, so I was making on the spot decisions. Now I know better. This particular piece isn't turning so nicely. But I did manage to make a small mountain of shavings in very little time and almost no heating of the tool. Very fun, and I had to stop myself from turning down the whole piece to nothing. The workshop smells nice now.
When I first put it on my little Sears lathe it hopped and walked all over the place. The lowest speed is 875 RPM, so I had to pulse it using the foot switch. Eventually I got it round enough that I could turn a foot and chuck it in the scroll chuck. That's as far as I got tonight. I took it and the other chunk of wood and immersed them in water, as someone here suggested. I'm hoping that wasn't a bad idea, because I saw quite a few bubbles coming out. They float pretty well now, but once they're water logged (no pun intended) things could get messy.
Still looking for advice; I feel kind of idiotic right now, even if I am having a lot of fun.
SWMBO has already heard that my lathe is too small.
- Owen -
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snippage with interspersed commentary
Owen Lawrence wrote:

the net. I haven't found wax melting or latex painting to work as well. YMMV

blanks. Better yet, buy Bill Gumbine's video at http://www.wonderfulwood.com/ and see how to make logs into bowls. Standard disclaimer, no monetary, happy customer, etc.

and you'll be able to shower off just about everthing w/o any problems. Get a BS to help make the peices closer to the right shape before you start spinning them up.

the American Association of Woodturners, and your local chapter. You'll find lots of local people to help you. someone next to you trumps all the books and movies you can afford. See my sig line.

Dave in Fairfax
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Thanks, Dave (and others), for all the suggestions. I might just stop by Laura Secord on the way to Lee Valley Tools this week. :)
- Owen -

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