Introduction: Seasoning Your Own Wood Turning Blanks From Fallen Tree Limbs.
A recent storm broke 2 large limbs on the big cherry tree in my garden. Rather than cut them up for fire wood I decided to turn them into blanks and leave them to season naturally for future use.
Cherry is a hard wood that would be expensive to buy pre seasoned especially in large pieces so i could not let this opportunity slip past.
Fallen tree limbs are heavy and can be very dangerous if they are still attached to the tree, I will not go into how to remove fallen limbs as it is best done by someone who has had experience working with trees.
Once the limbs where sawn up into manageable piece i turned them into down to remove the bark and make them into uniform cylinders, these blanks are then left to dry out naturally, seasoning will take up to a couple of years depending on how thick the pieces are.
Removing the bark and turning the wood to a uniform cylinder allows the wood to dry out uniformly and also allows you to see any cracks that start to form in the blank, any cracks that stat to appear should be turned down to about 1/4" past the crack and left to continue to season.
Blanks should be stored in a cool dry place that has a good air flow around it but not be in direct sunlight or near any source of heat. the blanks should be checked every few weeks at first for cracks or signs of mould growth, cracks should be turned down until they are no longer visible are bad cracks should be cut of rather than loose the full blank. I store small blanks in old cardboard fruit boxes with a loose cardboard cover blanks should be stacked with enough space between each other to allow a good air flow this will help reduce the chance of mould growing on the blank.
About 2 years ago I seasoned some pieces of white thorn from a big thorn bush that grew in my back garden it would have been about 100years old and I turned as much usable pieces as possible as i would be unlikely to be lucky enough to get hold of large bits of white thorn again. These pieces are now nicely seasoned and are proving to be very nice to work with.
Turning green wood is kind of a messy affair as depending on the wood and its density can leave you soaked in sap that gets flung out by centrifugal force when the piece is spun on the lathe.
Large pieces of wood can be very off balance when mounted on the lathe and may should be spun at the lowest speed until they had been trued, green wood is very soft and cuts like butter but until the blank is truly round be aware that bark or large pieces could fly off while cutting.
I have about 12 species of hard wood trees that grow in the hedges of my land and I intend to use as much as I can for my wood turning projects.
I have even turned some Castelwelland Gold a soft conifer that someone gave me but it was way to soft and seriously full of sap that is a skin irritant for some people.
For anyone with the time and space to store green timber blanks this can be a source of free hardwood, so if you are out and about and see someone cutting large trees its often worth asking if you can have some of the branches as quite often they are just going to dump the wood.
Its also nice to to be able to say that the nicely turned object you just turned was once growing in your own garden, seasoning you own timber is 100% eco friendly and being 50 feet from my shed has zero fuel miles, natural seasoning also has no additional fuel used to power drying kilns so has no carbon footprint either.
Thanks for looking and I hope that all you wood turners find this post of use.