how well dose willow turn? I'm new to turning, my father-in-law asked me to
prune his weeping willows, then in the mail today I got the new issue of
WOOD, and it had an article on making cheep woods look like expensive ones,
one being willow to walnut, looking at it as soft as willow is it should be
easy to turn right? also it's cheep (FREE for the work) so if I screw it up
lessoned learned, with out the tears.
Also is there anything I should do when harvesting it, after I've sawn it
to width? for other wood working I would paint the end with latex paint and
sticker-stack it in the shed for 6-10 mouths with the thicker blanks do I
need to wait longer, also someone told me that some woods can be turned
green, or non-dried can I do this with willow? or any wood, or were the
On Fri, 14 Jan 2005 17:02:13 -0700, Richard Clements
There's more than one willow, and they vary. There's also a
rec.woodturning group, where you might get better answers.
IMHE though, willow turns badly. It's "easy" to shape it, but it's so
soft that you just can;t get a good surface on it, no matter what you
Split it roughly to size, drawknife the protruding bits off to balance
it and reduce the amount of rough turning, then get it into the lathe
and use it. If you're learning to turn, then the important thing is
to _turn_ some timber. You'll be limited by the amount of free green
timber you can find, more than you will by anything else - if you've
got it, get it turned.
It doesn't even matter if you're just making firewood, just get some
hands-on time there. One trick is that if you're turning something
narrower, don't just go at it with the roughing gouge, turn a few
roundels and beads into it on the way, then turn them off and do it
Some species are obviously more desirable than others. I'll pick up a
piece of box or yew and carry it home, and I'll get the car to collect
some hornbeam or spalted beech. I'm nt likely to make much effort for
willow though, other than to drag it indoors off the firewood pile.
Everything can be turned green. Green wood is easy to turn. Streams of
shavings go flying off the lathe like silly string if you're doing it
right. The problem is in the drying afterwards.
There are all kinds of magic voodoo techniques to drying green turnings.
Some people put them in a bucket of dish soap and water (google up LDD,
liquid dish detergent, in the context of turning). Other people impregnate
the wood with PEG. Some stuff the work in paper bags. Some put the pieces
in the microwave.
I've found none of the voodoo works reliably, and the better the piece came
out, the more likely it is to wind up as firewood. Sometimes the piece
doesn't crack, but usually it does. If it doesn't crack, usually it still
warps something awful.
Anyway, you'll get nothing but negative sour grapes stuff from me, so you'd
better go listen to a second opinion over on rec.woodturning.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
Willow and its cousins cottonwood and true poplar are about as close to
bulletproof in drying as elm.
You can discard the voodoo and stick with science if you like, you know.
Movement during drying is predictable in both direction and dimension. You
just rough to ensure that after movement you have enough to turn true again,
and keep the rate of loss from the outside surface within range of
replacement from the interior.
Not for branchwood, or the sort of irregular small log that's commonly
used for green woodturning. You can predict shrinkage in a flat
board, but it's impossible to predict warping when you don't even know
the internal structure of an uneven billet.
Within reason, yes it is. There's always "fudge factor" thickness when
doubt crops up.
Of course 25 years of splitting firewood has taught me a lot about
visualizing what's inside a piece of wood, even under the bark.
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