When I turn bowls, I primarily work with green wood, meaning it’s dripping wet. Its moisture content could easily be around 30%. It’s easy to find wood that’s in that condition. The challenge is keeping it that way until you find the time to do the turning. Here’s the trick for this that I like best.
Seal the deal
If you want the bowl blank to stay wet, you’ve got to seal it up. There are lots of ways to do this. My favorite is to simply wrap the blank in stretch film. It’s kind of like putting leftovers in the fridge. Seal ‘em up, and they’ll last a long time. An alternative is to paint the blank with a sealer that’s designed for that purpose. In either case, my last step is to label the blank with info on the date, type of wood, and moisture content (use a moisture meter to get this).
Storing the blanks
Once you’ve got the blanks sealed up, it’s best to keep them someplace that’s cool and not exposed to a bunch of sunlight. Remember that we’re trying to prevent the blanks from drying out.
Turning green wood bowls
There are a number of factors to consider when you’re turning green wood. Why bother with green wood? Well, it cuts sooooo easy. Way easier than dried wood. You can turn the blank green, start to finish. Or you can simply rough out the bowl while it’s green, let it dry completely, and then finish it after the moisture content has stabilized.
Distortion and cracks
As green wood bowls dry, lots of things can happen; cracks, checks, and the bowl going from round to egg shaped (which I think is really cool). You can minimize, or even prevent, these things by stabilizing green wood.