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I had a 16-18" Norway maple that had girdling roots and was sick looking. If I were to make some blanks for turning out of these what should I do? Also what type of wood is best out of the pieces?

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There was an interesting 3 way crotch not sure if that is usable.

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I also thinned some tress out of the more heavily wooded area. There were a couple elm that needed to come down just to thin out the area a bit. This turn is about 8" at the bottom and 3" at the top but it's a good 20 feet long. Not sure if there is anything usable there.

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So any advice would be appreciated. I have too much firewood and am looking to use some of these trees for something.

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I'm not a turner so the advice I'll give should be taken with that understanding. 

First seal the ends and select the larger rounds with straight grain, avoiding knots. I would then split in half, down the pith, if you don't split them you will get radial cracking. From there you could store them in a garbage with or without wet sawdust. You could also turn some rough bowls or whatever while wet and then dry them slowly.

As for the 8" elm, that's pretty small, but again you could split the larger pieces down the pith and try to use.

I've taken pieces like this and carved bowls out of the 1/2 rounds while wet, pleasure to carve wet wood. It's a pleasure to turn wet wood (so I hear).

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I have little experience with processing green wood, so hopefully @Gary Beasley and others with more experience will chime in. 

I do think you want to get some sealer on the ends of any canidate pieces as soon as possible.  

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I processed a few pieces of a maple tree into blanks a while back. I did what @Bmac suggested, and also cut a few into “more round” blocks, planning to turn rough bowls to be finished later. I never ended up doing that and they have since split. I sealed some with extra latex paint I had and those didn’t check as much. 

I’d cut out a few chunks of the elm. I know a lot of people like turning huge bowls but the smallest bowl I turned was by far my favorite (in turning process and final result).

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If you have the time, split the large pieces through the pith and rough turn them. Store them in paper bags on a shelf in an area away from major air circulation to slow the drying. You can take the smaller tree pieces and turn end grain greenwood pieces to size with thin walls so they dry without cracking hopefully, even better if they warp gracefully into an interesting shape. The longer you wait before processing the more chance the log will split. If its just a single split use that as a guide for splitting the log down to turn it. Its even possible to drill the pith out of smaller branches and dry them down for peppermills

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Other turners on the AAW site have mentioned wrapping the blank in saran wrap to forestall drying until a more convenient time, combined with wax, paint or Titebond to seal the endgrain.

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I should have mentioned in my previous post that i have a rolling pin that i need to make. If i drilled the pith out would it help stop the smaller elm from splitting? My thought is that there is no harm in trying just to see what happens. My other thought would be to let it split and then epoxy it or something.

When you split the blanks do you do that with a splitting axe or chainsaw? I also am leaving today for the 4th holiday and will be back in a week is that too much time to let the pieces sit before splitting? Should i plastic bag them when i get home today until I get back?

My shed is not climate controlled and is higher in humidity would that be a good place to store them for drying? It gets a lot of shade so on a 95 degree day it stays a comfortable 75.

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Chestnut those crotch pieces have potential for great pieces if you can get it split and roughed out and dried carefully and slowly. Sometimes I will soak a knot area with thin CA to ward off cracks.

I’ve split them with wedges and chainsaw, cutting will give you a smoother surface for mounting a faceplate.

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3 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

I should have mentioned in my previous post that i have a rolling pin that i need to make. If i drilled the pith out would it help stop the smaller elm from splitting? My thought is that there is no harm in trying just to see what happens. My other thought would be to let it split and then epoxy it or something.

When you split the blanks do you do that with a splitting axe or chainsaw? I also am leaving today for the 4th holiday and will be back in a week is that too much time to let the pieces sit before splitting? Should i plastic bag them when i get home today until I get back?

My shed is not climate controlled and is higher in humidity would that be a good place to store them for drying? It gets a lot of shade so on a 95 degree day it stays a comfortable 75.

My thought is the rolling pin needs to be made from straight grained dry wood, no pith in it, otherwise you run the risk of it warping and splitting.
I would definitely wait until after you get back to do any cutting on the logs, as soon as you open one up the drying starts. The bark will keep the moisture in a long time.

The shed sounds like it could work as long as you can keep the wood from drying too fast.

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Something to remember when dealing with crotchwood and rootballs is bark inclusions. Sometimes they can be pretty solid and turn quite well. Sometimes if theres too much of it the piece will come apart. Whack it with a hammer before putting it on the lathe or otherwise torture it to see if it will let go and never trust it unless you can see solid wood holding it together. I have soaked inclusions with CA as I get near final size to keep pieces from coming loose.

 

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Awesome. I'll cut off chunks from the elm that are long enough to make some rolling pins. Looking up dimensions pins are only 1.5"-2" in diameter which i should be able to get a few of. I'll split them and debark them and the set them in my shop to dry.

I sealed the ends of the crotch section with latex paint I'll just tackle this when i get home in a week. Everything is in the shade for now.

2 minutes ago, Gary Beasley said:

Dont forget the root ball if you have to dig the stump up to clean up the area, the grain can get wild looking in it. This one was from a black walnut root.

I have a stump/rootball on my property that is going to make an awesome turning project. The whole thing looks like it's been wrapped by roots or burl wood. It was 3 separate trees that grew together. Rough stump diameter is around 40". It's box elder and defiantly has some read streaking in it.

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Thats going to be a lot of work! Be aware of the inclusions where the tree grew together, sometimes they dont grow solid, just mold tight to each other with a layer of bark between and will come apart at some point in the process if not bonded with CA or epoxy. Good luck with it.

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Hey @Chestnut another tip I've read on the AAW forum is to cut log segments 6 inches or so longer than the blank you're expecting.  That way if there is end checking you have wood you can cut off.

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On 6/30/2020 at 6:28 PM, Mark J said:

Hey @Chestnut another tip I've read on the AAW forum is to cut log segments 6 inches or so longer than the blank you're expecting.  That way if there is end checking you have wood you can cut off.

+1 I did this on a few of mine, and should have done it on all of them. 

On 6/30/2020 at 6:32 PM, wtnhighlander said:

I see a lot of spoons in that elm log....

Good call!

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Good first try. Work on doing more continuous curve to the sides, the straight sides are more prone to cracking though your mileage may vary. You might want to visit the AAW forums to see the discussions on this subject.

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Chestnut heres a video from a premier Irish woodturner I met at a woodturning symposium. He produces his own videos and is darn good at it and runs a woodturning school in Ireland on top of his production turning. I think you’ll like it.

 

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