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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Microwaving English Oak Turning Blanks

A friend Pat contacted me to say he was slicing up some English Oak and would I like some?
Straight away all I could thing about was another spinning wheel being made. I soon put that thought out of mind.
Sue had mentioned she required a medium size Mortise n Pestle, she had spotted one Jamie Oliver uses which appears to be a laminated English Oak, just the size she was after.
A 6" Cube would do nicely thanks Pat!

Thanks to Alan for picking the very wet 400x250 log up at the Sydney wood show it must have weighed close to 10k's wet. Dragging that from the pavilion to the car park poor old fellow.........of course along with his purchases and back pack full.

I sliced and diced it to workable size, getting two 6" dia x 6" high blanks as well as two 400x50mm spindle blanks ideal for a pair of candle sticks or light columns.
A number of spalted pen blanks and a couple of small bowl blanks  4"sq x 2" h.

Of course still all wringing wet, so the old shed microwave got a work out.
The two Mortise blanks of 6 x 6 got a total of 12 mins bring the moisture content down to 25% (I bought an Workzone Digtal moisture metre only one left).

The microwave was set to high, set for 6 min total but I only allowed 3 min period with intervals where I would open the door to allow the steam to condense and check the process of temperature increase.Allowed to rest overnight and a second session done the following day.

The two 400x50 mm pieces got a total of 9 min at 2 min intervals. The pen blanks all together at once got about 8 min at 1 min intervals.

The pith or heart area already had some checking it only became slightly worse after being in the microwave and after a week no further movement has been noticed.

 Above the pen blanks
Right the 400x50mm peices

 Two of the odd size pieces destined for other use.

Below in the left side of the microwave is moisture puddle from the blanks this was wiped up.
Right is the large piece showing the checking.

Below one of the 6" blanks and the checking - splitting this should be turned away easily enough.

 Below the other 6" blank.

 As with food a Microwave cooks from the inside out and caution should be of over length/period/time and temp at which the timber is submitted for.
I have seen the results of a Camphor blank approx 6" x 6" scorched black in the centre emitting smoke but outside still normal in appearance. The fellow burnt his hands when lifting the piece out.

I had considered using paper bags but the size I required i had none large enough. The paper bag reduces the speed at which moisture evaporates. 

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