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Mesquite Wood (Read 552 times)
 
Derik Mittag
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Mesquite Wood
Jul 31st, 2017 at 12:57pm
 
Hey everyone, I'm new to this forum and to woodturning which I've started a few weeks ago. I have a question concerning mesquite wood, is there anyway to keep the borers out of the wood? I recently just cut a bit of fresh wood and stored the pieces in black plastic tubs. I figured it will keep the bugs/worms/ants out for awhile, but I'm sure eventually they'll find it. Also, is it a good idea to work the wood while it's still green and then soak it in a finish? Or should I wait awhile before working with it?
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Steve Doerr
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #1 - Jul 31st, 2017 at 1:50pm
 
Derik, welcome to WR and to the vortex. My first advise is to make sure your keep your wallet, checkbook and credit card in a safe location when you start looking at tools, wood and all sort of other woodturning paraphernalia:-D


As far as keeping the bugs out of wood.  If you can find the answer you will be on your way to becoming a millionaire.  Eggs get laid all over the trees and you don't always know the bugs are there until they go splat on your face shield.

I turn most of my wood green to finish.  Some people will turn it to a thickness that is about 1/10 of the diameter of the turning.  Either way works, it is just personal choice.  Neither will guarantee that the process will eliminate cracking.  When I turn green to finish, I will soak the turning in denatured alcohol (DNA) for 24 to 48 hours, after I have sanded and removed the tenon.  Once I take it out of the DNA I let the surface evaporate dry and then place it in a brown paper bag and staple it shut.  I weigh it and when it stops losing weight I know it is dry.  You want to keep the stapled paper bag in a location that is cool and does not have direct sunlight on it.  What you are doing is trying to control the evaporation process so that it dries in an even slow manner.  Once dried, I take it out of the bag and finish it in the manner I choose.

If you rough turn the bowl/turning the standard practice is to turn it so the thickness is 1/10 the diameter of the turning.  Once you do this, then you cover both the inside and outside of the bowl (some cover just the end grain others the entire surface) with anchor seal.  Again store it in a dark cool space until it is dry (usually months).  You will need to keep the tenon on this so that once it dries, you re-chuck it and then turn it to finish.

As far as storing logs, you need to seal the ends of the log with either paraffin or anchor seal.  If the log is still round (like a cut part of the tree), make you you cut the pith out of the log.  Most of us will cut a slice the length of the log that is about an inch or two wide that contains the pith.

Hope that helps and good luck.
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Derik Mittag
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #2 - Jul 31st, 2017 at 2:52pm
 
Thank you much. Yeah I've found out how expensive this hobby can be. Luckily the last I bought came with chiseled and a scraper.

I  have a friend that is very familiar with mesquite wood, he tells me to soak it in either Butcher's Block Oil or Food Group Mineral Oil. He also says to just chunk the wood in a lake, but the wood will get harder than hell. I've found out that I need carbide tools in order to be proficient with it. Something I'm keeping my eyes out for.

Right now I'm working with red cedar, completely dried out. I've turned my first lidded box. It has its flaws and mistakes but not bad considering. I've used Danish Oil as a finish, is there any other finishes to would work well? I've read about Tung and Linseed Oil but neither one is immediately available. I live in the part of Texas where I'll most likely have to order everything online for there's not a decent wood working shop/store around for a few hours.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #3 - Aug 1st, 2017 at 7:26am
 
Derik

Like Steve, I make once turned bowls.  After turning, I start the drying process by putting the bowl in a paper bag on the concrete floor (which is on grade).  Then the weekly weight loss is less than 2% I continue drying in the bag on a table (off the floor).  When the weekly weight loss is again less than 2% I remove the bag and continue weighing weekly.  When the weekly weight loss is again less than 2% I treat the bowl as dry enough to sand and apply finish.  I've not the courage to keep large quantities of denatured alcohol (DNA) on hand, and haven't found it necessary.

There is another current discussion about carbide tools and whether they will leave as smooth a finish as a traditional HSS bowl gouge.

It is often said that ask 10 wood turners a question and you will get 11 different answers.  Do a lot of reading here, and watch the videos here, then make your own informed decisions.  And practice practice practice.  My suggestion is to buy a couple know free 2x6 x8' boards, cut into 5 1/2" squares, and make a lot of practice (i.e. throw-away) bowls.

Of all the types of gouge, only a bowl gouge should be used on the inside of a bowl, never a spindle roughing gouge, a spindle gouge, a detail gouge, or a spindle detail gouge.

The search function here will find A LOT of discussion about mesquite.

A local woodturning group can be an invaluable asset - mentoring, opportunity to discuss tools and other equipment, et cetera.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #4 - Aug 1st, 2017 at 7:30am
 
Derik

There are literally hundreds of different products and mixes one can use on the outside of a bowl.  Personally I don't like to experiment with finishes because there needs to be a research and then practice steps for each.  Boiled linseed oil (BLO) and tung oil are very easy to use finishes but they don't offer as much protection against moisture as some drying finishes.  BLO generally is easy to find, and is so to thicken in the can.  Pure tung oil is  regularly reported to offer more moisture protection, but is hard to find.  (There are several products with tung in the product name but are not pure tung oil.)
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Derik Mittag
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #5 - Aug 1st, 2017 at 10:06am
 
Drying mesquite is quite a drawn out process. What do yall think of the PSI HSS tool set? I should upgrade because the tools I have don't hold an edge very well and are just cheap.

Where do yall get blanks? I have a Lowe's store relatively close so I can get wood of different sizes.

I'll mess around with different finishes and see what happens.

Thank yall much
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Glenn Jacobs
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #6 - Aug 1st, 2017 at 2:29pm
 
Derik, If up-grading tools, I suggest going to Thompsons. buy the in-handled and turn your own handle.

Glenn J.
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Steve Kniffen
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #7 - Aug 1st, 2017 at 8:51pm
 
Derik,

I have a mesquite bowl I turned last week on my finishing table.  Unlike most here, I turn dry wood rather than green.  Mesquite gets harder when it's dry, but that must means you have to sharpen more often.  I dried my blanks in a metal shed for 5 years.  Summer temps were over 120 some days.  I have not found any live insects in what I've turned so far, just lots of tunnels filled with waste where they have been.  I use them as design features and tell my customers not to eat cereal out of a mesquite bowl.

I am using satin poly on this bowl, mainly to seal the tunnels.  I've used Tung Oil on other bowls as well as Woodturner's Finish and buffing.  I make a monthly trip to DFW to shop for woodturning materials and tools.
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robert baccus
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #8 - Aug 1st, 2017 at 10:13pm
 
I must disagree on the mesquite.  It is easily the most stable wood in the US and hardly moves from green to oven dry making it an easily turned wood.                      Old Forester
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Ed Weber
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #9 - Aug 2nd, 2017 at 8:42am
 
Steve Kniffen wrote on Aug 1st, 2017 at 8:51pm:
Unlike most here, I turn dry wood rather than green


+1

I won't go over everything that's been said but I'll just add a few things.
First of all, there are several different kinds of mesquite, if you know which one you have it can be helpful. How tough it is on your tools is really going to be different every time. Mesquite can dull even high quality tools quickly at times, so it may have more to due with the wood than the quality of your tools.
Mesquite is "hard" for a domestic wood but there are other species (some exotics and those that contain silica) you will encounter that can dull your tool just by being in the same room.
If you want to upgrade the quality of your tools there are plenty of good options, you might want to start off by telling what you have and what you are looking for.

Good luck, have fun
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Derik Mittag
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #10 - Aug 2nd, 2017 at 8:47am
 
What about lathes? I'll be looking to upgrade in the next year, and was curious on which ones are better than others. I figured I'd need a midi lathe, I don't plan on doing anything more than just bowls, boxes, candlestick holdersn etc.  I've read about Jet, Delta, Grizzly.
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Derik Mittag
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #11 - Aug 2nd, 2017 at 8:51am
 
The tools I have are craftsman, i assune they came with the lathe (bought the lathe in a garage sale ). I'd like something that's better, but not crazy expensive. There's the PSI HSS set for around 80 bucks I believe on Amazon, i read good reviews, thought that would be a good start.

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David Hill
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #12 - Aug 2nd, 2017 at 8:59am
 
Mesquite is my favorite.  Turn it whenever you feel like it.  When green, you get shavings; dry gets you lots of dust.  It doesn't move when turned green, & I don't wait for it to dry before finishing.
As for borers, they're ubiquitous.  They show whenever I'm cutting outside, as do the honeybees.. The borer tunnels just make for inlay opps or decoration..
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Everyday liberating nice things from ordinary chunks of wood---and I like gnarly wood, the outcome is nearly always better than the start.
 
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Ed Weber
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #13 - Aug 2nd, 2017 at 10:50am
 
Derik Mittag wrote on Aug 2nd, 2017 at 8:51am:
There's the PSI HSS set for around 80 bucks I believe on Amazon, i read good reviews, thought that would be a good start.


The PSI sets or Benjamin's Best are good starter tools IMO and some others. Good for learning to turn and sharpen.
The one thing I will caution you is that many times when we buy "set" of tools there is usually one or two that get little or no use.
PSI has many different configurations of sets or you can get individual
I will say that I bought this kit years ago and still use some of them today.
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Derik Mittag
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Re: Mesquite Wood
Reply #14 - Aug 2nd, 2017 at 5:37pm
 
Here's the lidded box I turned, I turned another one but messed up the lid.
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