Friday, August 9, 2013

Pine Tree bowls-Salvaging trees that have come down in a storm. Part 1-Acquiring and Splitting the Logs

Hi Everyone,

Well, the weather here has cooled off quite a bit and it's a lovely afternoon. Perfect wood working weather.

For today's postings, I'll begin at the beginning..."a very good place to start..."

My husband and I were returning home last night from running some errands and we came across a large pine tree that had fallen down in a very strong storm that passed through our area several evenings ago. A tree service had come out and chopped up the trunk and branches and was probably going to return the next day to remove the wood. I saw it and asked the homeowners if I could take it and they were happy to see the last of the tree that destroyed their backyard fence. 

So my husband and I got 4 very large sections from the trunk tossed them into the car and off we went back home:

This is prime, homegrown pine that is straight and while it has some branches, they are not large or numerous and are well integrated into the wood. 

Fast forward to this afternoon. I picked out one of the smaller sections and decided to split it and turn a portion of it to see what the turning characteristics are. Here is the one I selected:

I don't mind splitting wood. It isn't especially difficult and it saves a lot of wear and tear on my bandsaw. I like to begin by driving my hand axe into the side: 
 I always feel very woodsy when I do this. 

And then I pound it into the wood until a crack opens up. Once that happens, I drive in some wood splitting wedges and pound those into the wood:

This always causes the wood to split. 

 Once the wood splits, all it takes is a couple of more hits with a mallet and BAM! You're finished. This took about 2 minutes total to do:


 If you look up log splitting on the Internet, you'll find all sorts of posts and videos about people fretting over log splitting and I really don't know what all the panic is about. Make sure you have a very sharp axe, a good heavy hand mallet and several wedges. Also wear good, solid eye protection to protect you against metal and wood splinters. 

That's it. Houston, we are good to go.

That's the first part. Next we need to turn those two sections of pine into bowl blanks. Here's how I did that:

I took the smaller of the two sections and I cut it in half on the bandsaw and that went very well. Then I trimmed off the corners: 

And I drilled a hole into the blank for the Nova chuck:

Dropped in the chuck so it would sit squarely inside of the hole and tightened it down:

And placed it between centers. It's ready to turn:

And that was it. 

You can source a lot of wood locally and the time to do it is after a storm. You can also hook up with a tree removal service and a bowl or two for the crew doesn't hurt matters. Always ask for permission before going on private property. But by all means ask. The most they can say is no, in which case they get to get rid of the tree instead of having some crazy wood turner do it for them. Sounds like an easy choice to me.

I'm going to cover the turning of this block of wood in the next blog posting. See you in a minute.


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