Preparing Green Wood For Turning: Techniques and Tricks

Preparing Green Wood For Turning: Techniques and Tricks

Many woodturners have tried to turn green wood, only to be met with frustration and disappointment. The lure of turning green wood is strong and the potential rewards are seemingly endless. That being said, it can also be very difficult for a novice or even an experienced turner to succeed when working on a piece of greenwood.

Preparing Green Wood For Turning

In this article, we will discuss how one should go about preparing greenwood for turning in order to increase the success rate and make it fun again!

Can you lathe greenwood?

Woodworking is a fascinating hobby to explore, as there are so many different types of wood and techniques that can be used. When working with greenwood it would behoove you not only to know the best technique for turning but also what tools will work well on green scales! It’s important to think about how your tool might react differently depending on which type of wood they’re being cut into- some woods like oak may dull cutting edges quickly if left untreated while others such as pine or softer hardwoods don’t require much maintenance at all.

If you are looking for a wood lathe that will handle small projects with no problem check out the WEN 3421 Mini Wood Lathe Review.

How do you dry green wood for turning?

There are a few techniques that must be mastered in order to turn green wood successfully, and one of these is drying the piece. In this section, I will discuss how to properly dry your project so it’s ready for turning! The drying process may take up to a year, depending on the type of greenwood.

wood logs

Here are some tips for drying greenwood:

– Place the project in an area that is well ventilated. It should not be in direct sunlight, or near any heating vents where it could overheat and crack prematurely. 

–  We recommend using a kiln, or if you don’t have access to this type of equipment then use an electric dehydrator. 

– If neither of these options is available, the oven will do in a pinch! We just need to stay mindful about not letting it overheat too long.

Air-drying requires more space than kiln drying but is cheaper and less energy-intensive. Kiln drying will last longer than air-drying because there’s no risk of bugs infesting the wood 

If you choose to air dry your green lumber, make sure that it’s stored in an area with good airflow. To store your lumber for long periods of time, stack them vertically so they’re off the ground.

If you are not sure whether the wood is dry enough to turn or not you can use a digital moisture meter.

How do you stop green wood from warping and cracking?

We all know that greenwood warps and cracks, but you can stop it with these tricks:

1) Get a moisture meter to measure the relative humidity of your shop before you start working on any projects. 

2) Make sure your tools are sharp so they don’t leave divots on the surface of the wood, which will allow for more air circulation that causes warping and cracking. 

3) If you’re storing lumber outside, make sure it’s covered up or stored in an area where there is plenty of shade. You might also want to put some kind of plastic barrier between it and the ground like a tarp or even cardboard if necessary.

Can you finish green wood?

Yes, you can finish greenwood. 

But the wood is so much softer than kiln-dried wood that it’s advised to use mineral oil instead of polyurethane or varnish because they tend to peel off and get sticky as the project dries out. 

What you’ll need: linseed oil, mineral spirits or turpentine, fine steel wool.

How to finish green wood for turning: 

– Give the piece a light sanding with 220 grit paper first (optional). This will remove any bumps and swirls from the cut surface of your blank. It also makes it easier to see the grain patterns when you’re looking for knots.

– Mix up your finish of choice: mineral spirits or turpentine, linseed oil, and a little bit of metal wool in an old container with a lid that has been washed thoroughly. 

– Apply the first coat very sparingly and let it dry overnight before applying a second coat.

– You can also mix a little bit of sawdust into your finish to give it some texture if you prefer the look and feel.

Preparing Green Wood for Turning – Conclusion

The turner is a natural extension of the woodworker. Woodworkers are always turning something in their shop, whether it be on a lathe or with hand tools.

Some woodworkers prepare green wood for turning by drying it. Then using a drum sander to true up the surface before they start working. Others will cut off the excess material around the outside edges and use that as firewood. Others may leave some bark intact if they want to experiment with lye treatments later on. 

Regardless of how you choose to prep your lumber, there are lots of great resources out there about this topic from tutorials demonstrating different techniques to safety instructions and videos explaining how-to steps.

Preparing green wood for turning can hard. Hopefully this article gave you all the information you need.