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Drying Wood in the Oven

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  • Drying Wood in the Oven

    Hi All,
    First post. Has anyone ever dried green wood in the oven? Good idea/Bad idea? Any pointers? Thanks.--Ray

  • #2
    Everything I've read in woodworking books indicates this is a bad idea. It usually forces the wood to shrink excessively, and unevenly, resulting in checking, cracking, warping, and will render the wood usable only as fire wood. What is the intended use? Turning, carving, or regular machining? There are various methods depending on the end use of the wood.
    Jim Frye
    The Nut in the Cellar.

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    • #3
      Thanks, Jim. It will be for wood turning. We had a small tree in our front yard die, so I cut it up and was hoping to turn some of the wood. Been letting it dray naturally in my hot tool shed, but was wondering if there's a way to speed up the process.

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      • #4
        I'd have to go back to my woodturning books, but if I recall correctly the best method for things like bowl blanks was to put them in a paper bag full of sawdust and shavings, seal the bag, and let it sit in a cool dry place for a few months. This allows the wood to give up its moisture slowly so it doesn't build up stresses that cause the bad things. Forcing the drying should be left to the professionals who do it for a living and even then they can screw it up.
        Jim Frye
        The Nut in the Cellar.

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        • #5
          Thanks, Jim. Appreciate the advice. I think you're right. Slow drying.

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          • #6
            For pen turning, ovens and microwaves are somewhat common in drying wood. We usually start with 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch square pen blanks and 6 - 7 inches long. This excess size allows for twists and bows and warps as well as shrinkage. When you get to 2" or more, you can expect cracks and checks to become excessive on most green woods in ovens. Best place is in the attic over the summer.
            Hank Lee

            Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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            • #7
              Good info. Thank you, Hank.

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              • #8
                Caveat,,,this is only what I've seen on YouTube and read online...I've seen turners rough shape their blanks, and then seal them with Anchorseal or do the paperbag and wood chips method like Jim Frye described. After several more months when their wood is dry enough, then they do the final shaping.

                I'm not sure how much wood you want to dry, but I had rough sawn lumber dried for me in a dehumidification kiln the sawyer setup in a shipping container. You can find videos of those on YouTube, too, and size it to your needs.

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                • #9
                  Your profile doesn't show where you live, and drying will vary by location. We've had pen blanks from the East coast get warped and bent just from acclimating to AZ weather. We've also had good results with just putting small-medium tree pieces in the sun outdoors. A lot will depend on the wood. In any case, the most I think you can do at home to speed up drying is air flow and a dry space.

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