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Preparing Green Wood for the Lathe


What is a good (reliable) method to prepare green wood for turning? I’ve had limited success with just painting the end grain of logs.—Tony Immorlica


Donna Banfield replies: Use a green end sealer like Anchor Seal marketed by UC Coatings or similar product. This product is a wax-based paint designed to seal end grain on green logs. The purpose is to slow down the loss of moisture from the green logs to minimize cracking and checking. There is nothing you can do to completely stop the loss of moisture. Keep your logs as long as possible cutting them shorter only when you are ready to put the wood on the lathe for turning. After applying the end grain sealer, cover them with a tarp, silver side up to reflect the sun, and better if you can store them out of direct sunlight. I also try to get the entire pith removed from the center of the logs whenever possible.

Claude Dupuis replies: I do not waste time, money and effort with painting log ends. Keep the logs as long as possible so that the checked end can be chopped off. I turn green wood and prep only as many as can be turned in a day. If kept out overnight or longer, keep them from drying out by keeping them wet.

Peter Breu replies: All logs will split to the pith if they are left whole even with painting the end, so the first step is to split the log in two right through the middle. Many turners turn green wood right away while it is still very wet since that is easy turning. Left oversize and painted so as to dry slowly, this is an easy way to work with green wood. This is the method called “twice turning.” Another advantage is the freedom to experiment—green wood is cheap if not free.

Tags: Wood, Woodturning