Turning Archive 2005

Green wood tips?

Dave Thompson - Champaign IL
>I don't have much successful experience working with green wood, and was hoping someone could share some tips. If this is an FAQ, my appologies... I am new to this forum.

My father in-law just gave me a ~2.5" diamter "trunk" of a Lilac bush that best guess is 60 years old. It has some of the smallest growth rings I've ever seen that are occsionally purple/lavender. He also brought some sugar plum and white birch to play with. All are green wood. Anyway, I'd like to turn some of this and avoid having it crack due to drying like I've had in the past.

In my most recent experience, I stripped the bark off a small diameter log just because the bark was infested with bugs. Within a week it had some deep checks along the length of the wood. Another time, I just turned a 1" diameter piece from a 2" diameter branch, and within a week or so had a huge check along the length.

I presume the checks are due to the outside drying much quicker than the inside. How do you deal with this? I picked up some wood sealer (a liquid wax substance). I haven't used it for this because I've been concerned that the sealer would prevent it from drying, when I'd really prefer it to dry slowly without checking.


  1. Is the problem that I am using the full growth ring radius in small diameter wood for my turnings, or is it a matter of how I allow the turned wood to dry afterwards?
  2. How do you deal with green live bug infested wood (like powder post beetles) for usage and/or storage? Do you strip the bark off? Put a large tarp around the area to catch them? Not worry about it? Work in a steel shed with a cement floor? Or find a different piece of wood?

Thanks for your time,

© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.