• Harold Bowern

Rough turning my first wet wood blank

Well now that I have some nice wood blanks from the Butternut, I figured I would try rough turning one of the blanks into a platter. I could dry the blank and then final turn it once it was dry enough, but what fun is that 😁. Due to not having the lathe properly lit and lack of good camera mounting I did not film the process.

The blank was about 14” in diameter and about 2 ¼” thick at its outer edge. It had lots of bark inclusions and some nasty rotting going on.

The shavings were really nice and came off the sharpened 5/8” bowl gouge nicely. Big difference of turning from dry wood blanks for sure. Of course the water within the blank itself was spraying out as I went along. Something refreshing, but it will mean cleaning both the lathe bed surfaces and tools after this is done. I don't need a coat of rust forming!

The rough turned platter ended up approximately 13” in diameter and 1 ½ on the outside to 2” thick at the center. I put a tenon in back and front for future remounting when this bowl is dry.

I had asked a friend of mine, Dave, how thick the rim should be on a rough turned bowl or platter. He advised me to turn the rim to a minimum of 1” thick for 10” diameter bowl/platter and then the add 1% thickness of the rim for each additional inch in diameter of the bowl/platter. I also asked him what I needed to treat the blank with once rough turned. He suggested that a coat of Anchor seal be put on the rough turned bowl end grain area as soon as I had finished turning.

I weighed the platter before doing anything else to get a bench mark for determining when the bowl would be dry, It weighed 1406 grams. I then coated the end grains of the platter with Anchor Seal as per Dave's advice.

Just a note on why I weighed the bowl instead of using a moisture meter. Moisture meters sometimes do not give an accurate reading , especially with wood freshly harvested. So the most accurate way is to weigh the rough turned blank you have turned and repeat the weighing process as time goes on until you get a weight that does not change. This may be weeks or months down the road. It would depend on the method of drying to control heat and humidity during the drying process. Ideally you are looking between 8 -10 % moisture content when you do your final turning on your blank.

So I swept up the shavings from the turning. I put some shavings in the bottom of the box, put in the platter and then packed the remaining shavings around the platter blank.

Now to wait a week or two and reweigh the platter, note the date and weight and repeat the packing process. I will keep doing the weighing and packing process until the platter has reached a weight that does not fluctuate.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this

See you back in the Workshop!


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