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Cracked blank (Read 466 times)
 
Tom Walker
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Cracked blank
Jul 11th, 2018 at 5:41pm
 
The newest of the newbies first question.  I bought some 6 inch bowl blanks an they arrived fully waxed.  Scraped the wax off one, mounted the blank and started rounding it out.  Just got the outside roughed and got called away and left the blank in the chuck.  Did not get back to it for about 40 hours.  I found a cracked hunk of wood, one clear through the center and several others.  Did not turn the lathe on, just set the wood aside.  Live in the desert but the lathe is in a A/C shop.  Humidity here is LOW.   Need advice please .
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #1 - Jul 11th, 2018 at 6:30pm
 
When you get blanks fully waxed, they are still wet/green.

That piece probably should have gone onto a shelf for a few (many) months.

Next time you go online for blanks, try to find ones that have been kiln  dried.

I'm pretty sure we all have done this when we first started out! Smiley

Another trick... whenever you go away from the lathe, take a plasticbag and cover the piece with it. I wrap the hndles around the back side of the chuck. You don't need to tie it off, just isolate the wood from the dry air. It will still lose moisture but waaaay slower.

40 hours might be pushing this trick tho.

Seriously, what's more important than turning???!!! Shocked Shocked
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John Cepko
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #2 - Jul 14th, 2018 at 7:05pm
 
A few wraps of Saran, cling type of plastic wrap works well too.
Or, just go ahead and coat the outside with some Anchorseal, or cheap paint if you know you are going to be away from the turning for a while(days).
Anything to slow, and even out the water loss.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #3 - Jul 15th, 2018 at 2:22pm
 
Wonder how many people buying and turning waxed blanks use a reliable moisture meter on them to track moisture loss.

Wonder also how many people make once turned bowls from purchased wax blanks and how many make twice turned bowls from them.
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #4 - Jul 15th, 2018 at 4:02pm
 
Wonder how many people even know how long it takes a 3" thick blank that is wax coated and green to be dry enough to turn without cracking.  I have no idea myself.

I'm thinking about 2 or 3 years but anyone else have a guess? Shocked
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Ed Weber
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #5 - Jul 16th, 2018 at 9:15am
 
Ralph Fahringer wrote on Jul 15th, 2018 at 4:02pm:
Wonder how many people even know how long it takes a 3" thick blank that is wax coated and green to be dry enough to turn without cracking.  I have no idea myself.


We had a guy a while back doing a science paper/project on drying times and methods, maybe he could help.
Honestly, there is no real answer.
All wood is different, I have some wax sealed blanks that are several years old and they still take care when turning. Don't remove too much material too quickly.
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #6 - Jul 16th, 2018 at 9:33am
 
I think it is why I love burls so much!

The grain swirls around so much, there is no distinct grain pattern for a crack to start.
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David Hill
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #7 - Jul 17th, 2018 at 10:31pm
 
When I started turning, I did buy a few blanks like tható but then realized that I was able to make my own.  With the sealed blanks, I usually turned , sanded, and finished same day. Warps just added chatacter. Iíve not bought any wood for years.
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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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Wil Russell
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #8 - Aug 7th, 2018 at 7:06am
 
I went to turn one of my shop bought blanks the other day and found it has fine cracks on both sides. Iím wondering if I can run some superglue into the cracks and turn it anyway? I wouldnít mind so much if I had a wood burner but it will end up in the rubbish otherwise.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #9 - Aug 7th, 2018 at 8:26am
 
My first thought is to return the blank and request a refund.  The seller cannot afford a reputation for selling cracked blanks, and I would think there is at least an implied guarantee of suitability for turning (which would imply no significant cracks).  If there are more than two very fine cracks I would consider the blank not safe to turn, but that is my personal opinion.

If the cracks are shallow, you could turn them away.  The problem is how to determine if they are shallow - they may extend further but not yet have opened.  If that is the case, turn them away and a few minutes later as the freshly exposed wood begins to lose bound water and shrinks the cracks will reappear.

Often small cracks can be glued with CA.  If hairline, thin CA can wick into the crack and hopefully glue the edges together.  If slightly open, the gap can be filled with sawdust or other material and then thoroughly wetted with CA.  This has usually but not always worked for me.

Be advised that CA visibly stains many woods, and is hard to sand away.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #10 - Aug 7th, 2018 at 9:20am
 
Wil Russell wrote on Aug 7th, 2018 at 7:06am:
I went to turn one of my shop bought blanks the other day and found it has fine cracks on both sides. Iím wondering if I can run some superglue into the cracks and turn it anyway?


These are typically called  "checks" and are common in many species of wood, most times they will turn away.
Whether or not the checks turn into cracks and in turn become a hazard depends on a few things. The wood species, internal stresses and the differential between the moisture content of the blank and the relative humidity. Any or all of these factors combined can determine if a check becomes a crack.
If the checks don't travel too far, many times it's best (in order to salvage the blank) to rough turn the blank and leave it to dry. 
Once the center (and the internal stresses) are removed, it allows the blank to warp (relax) to where it's more stable. This also allows excess moisture to be released more evenly, which results in the blank drying more quickly.
Twice turned bowls and drying is another discussion
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robo_hippy
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #11 - Aug 7th, 2018 at 10:34am
 
For drying lumber used in furniture making, stickered and covered, rule of thumb is 1 year per inch of thickness, then 6 months more inside the shop. This can be highly variable, but can get the wood down to the 7 or 8% that is desirable. Furniture repair places in Arizona and other desert areas make a lot of money off of moved furniture...

Some times, even 'dried' blanks can crack if left on the lathe. Wood 'adjusts' when you remove bulk, so I am one and done most of the time, and if I am turning dry wood, I still take it off the chuck if I don't finish it the first time.

If you turn kiln dried wood, and then get some air dried wood, the difference is huge. For lumber, if you rip a KD piece on your table saw, you get dust. If you rip air dried lumber, you get shavings. Vacuum kilns and solar kilns cut line air dried wood.

Bowl blanks do grow on trees, but you have to learn to use a chain saw. Most clubs have wood gathering parties, and for a little sweat equity, you can get more wood than you can use...

robo hippy
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Ed Weber
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #12 - Aug 7th, 2018 at 11:02am
 
robo_hippy wrote on Aug 7th, 2018 at 10:34am:
Bowl blanks do grow on trees, but you have to learn to use a chain saw. Most clubs have wood gathering parties, and for a little sweat equity, you can get more wood than you can use...


JMO but you should also learn how to plant trees as well.
I live in a state with 129 million dead trees, everyone should do their part.
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Wil Russell
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #13 - Aug 7th, 2018 at 12:32pm
 
The problem with the blank is I donít know when or where I bought it from (but Iíve got a good guess† Smiley) Part of the problem is itís pretty hot here at the moment and my workshop has been getting up to 34įc (93įF) most days so that wonít have helped. I need to think carefully where I store my blanks, especially as Iím off tomorrow to buy some more.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Cracked blank
Reply #14 - Aug 7th, 2018 at 6:37pm
 
Be sure to discuss the issue with the vendor.  After all, they want satisfied customers and know their products (hopefully).
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