Big Cedar Rough Green Turning Project

I have written about Eastern Red Cedar in the recent past, and as some readers may recall, it wasn’t my favorite wood to work with.  However, I had some additional blanks in storage that I had to use anyway and the more I thought about it, the more I thought that people might like cedar bowls as gifts, especially if left unsealed, because of the distinctive scent that many find pleasant.  So, toward that end, I bought eight additional blanks in a uniform size so that I could make a set of eight bowls as the traditional Christmas gift that my sister gives to her senior staff and school board members.

Cedar Wood Bowls Stacked

Cedar Wood Bowls Stacked

In order to ensure that the bowls were dry and ready to be safely turned to final size, I needed to do a rough turn now while the blanks were green.  Once rough turned, I then sealed them with Anchor Seal.  Now I will let them dry until about October to November at which point I should be able to safely turn them down to final size and shape.  The main set of bowls will be of an 8″ x 8″ x 3″ dimension, but I had some additional random cedar blanks, one larger and several that were smaller, and I turned them down green and rough since I was already working with cedar anyway.

13 of the blanks were coated with Anchor Seal, but one was was coated with a newer product that is essentially white glue that promises to allow the wood to dry twice as fast as with Anchor Seal but without cracking.  We shall see which product I prefer.  I found the newer stuff to be quite difficult to apply due to being incredibly thick, you know, sort of glue-like!  Besides, given that white Elmer’s glue is all it is, it can be obtained for a great deal less than what Craft Supplies USA is charging for this new stuff.  And I checked the MSDS and it isn’t anything amazing as they would like you to believe other than glue with green dye!  If you want to try this approach, just dilute regular white, school, or wood glue that is water based and paint it on your green rough turned blanks.  Dilute glue is well known to work for this purpose and Craft Supplies USA is just monetizing this without, in my opinion, being clear about exactly what they are up to.  A bit dishonest or just clever marketing?  I guess you have to decide.

Each blank was weighed and that weight noted in each bowl.  As the water evaporates the weight will diminish and once the weight remains stable for two to three months, water loss is likely over and the blank is dry enough to be final turned.

Once the project is completed, presumably later this year, I will post the results!

Oh, and if anyone is wondering what those rough turned bowls are stacked on, that would be a piece of Pink Ivory (Berchemia zeyheri) log!  More about that in some future post!

As always, I wish all my readers a great experience in whatever their wood working interests happen to be and to those who like working with lathes especially, do a good turn today!