As a wood turner, it becomes more cost effective to produce your own turning wood to your own requirements.
Here is a short description of how I produce two styles of blanks.
First of all this can be done at any stage of the woods drying process. To begin with, I take the log and cut it into three pieces. Two edge pieces and a thin board containing the pith. It is vital to remove the pith as this will help to reduce spitting as the wood shrinks with drying.
I have found the easiest way of cutting a log for this purpose is to cut down through the bark lengthways, as opposed to turning the log onto its flat end and cutting through endgrain. This is because saws prefer to cut with the grain .
From this cut you will end up with 2 bowl blanks and the centre board. With the 2 bowl blanks I then go on to bandsaw the edges off to make a rough hexagon. This makes it easier to balance the piece of wood on the lathe. I also leave the bark on as I never know if I am going to make a bark edged bowl or not. If the wood is not dry I will wax the ends to reduce drying speed and help to prevent cracking as the wood shrinks.
From the centre board, once I have removed the pith line at about an inch thick, I can then go on to make pen blanks from the rest using up as much wood as possible.
With bowl blanks I have cut some cardboard circles at various sizes to use as templates. For vases I tend to leave the wood in whole rounds with the bark still attached, and heavily waxed on both ends. The wax I use is readily available in pellet form, which I melt in an old saucepan and paint on. Other products can be used to seal end grain such as End Seal - a commercial product specially designed to seal end grain, but I find this expensive. PVA glue – works but again is expensive and makes a mess. Emulsion paint – is also used and works relatively well.
I air dry all my blanks placing them somewhere dry, with good air-flow, out of strong sunlight.
Should you have any questions please feel free to contact me at :