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Author Topic: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.  (Read 324 times)

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Offline Bob Howell

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Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« on: June 13, 2017, 05:23:19 pm »
I got a slabs of osage, 27" wide by 20" long 5 1/2" thick cut out of the center of the log and containing the pith. I will cut it in two pieces along the center at the pith. I have sealed the ends with Titebond Blue because it was what I had and going old. Now how to dry it.

Usually spalt is a big issue but this stuff is immune to it so, as I understand it, controlled humidity and temp to avoid spalt, is not a big concern. Rather slowly removing moisture to avoid checks. High temp and humidity will remove moisture safely.  Can I build a lose tent of black plastic around it and set it out in the sun off the ground to simmer away for the summer? It has been cut down about a month.

I have a big pile of walnut logs sections, piled up like this on pallets that I cut bowl blanks from as I need them. This is low grade stuff that yields a few good blanks between the splits. Its covered with black plastic so I would just add this.

Anyone got a strategy for this ?

Offline Deese

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2017, 05:49:40 pm »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum, Bob Howell. I'm sure someone will chime in shortly with some advice.
I'll be sawing some Osage Orange in the near future (possibly tomorrow) and will be air drying it. I've only sawed it for other people, but never for myself. Wish I could help.
Sawed 4 years with EZ Boardwalk Jr 13hp. 2004 LT40 Super 51HP, 1975 Case Tractor, Cooks Cat Claw Sharpener, Cooks Single Tooth Setter, Stihl MS 440, Stihl MS 250, 60" Logrite

Offline Bob Howell

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2017, 09:57:11 am »
I have air dried a lot of wood in the past; cherry, maple, and walnut. I just let it sit for years. Still have a lot of it. But I would like to speed this up some. Friends use alcohol to dry small turnings. Not sure it is the best way.

My final thickness is 2/32" but it must be flat. This is two book matched pieces 20"x8". At some point in the drying cycle I can cut it to 1/4" for final drying. I think that will be when the free water is gone around 30%.But maybe lower to avoid warping, say 20%. I'm not sure if I should cut it into 3 or 4  slabs now to speed up the initial drying. Re-sawing is always easier with thick slabs; drying faster with thinner.

I use a 14" Delta with riser block and 3/8" , 3t blade with wide kerf. My moisture meter is pin-less and starts registering at 22-28%


Offline Kcwoodbutcher

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 01:52:10 pm »
Osage is not immune to splits and checks especially in those thick boards. I would cut it down to at least 2" thick pieces to be safer. I supply a luthier with osage from time to time and he likes the 2" thickness. He air dries it for several years before he resaws it.
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Offline low_48

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2017, 06:37:34 pm »
Is the center of your slab free of checking? I've never seen an osage log that doesn't have some kind of checking, star checking, or something wrong with the pith. A couple pictures would help, but I feel you are expecting an awful lot for a slab from the center of the log.

Online Brad_bb

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #5 on: Today at 12:40:49 am »
I typically cut Osage 4" or 6" thick.  I have cut some thinner though.  I cut it for brace stock.  I just put it on bunks in my closed up Morton building which is not insulated and does exchange some air from leaks like the sliding doors and a 3 corners of the building where the gravel has washed out(need to fix that).  I let them sit in there for a year and don't usually see much in the way of checking.  Osage is very dense, so I'm not sure how long it takes a live one to dry.  I'd think it's slower than cherry, walnut, etc.  Keep in mind that osage grain tends to change direction multiple times in a slab.  It makes it more difficult to plane.  You can get tear out.  I end up usually belt sanding the osage to avoid tear out.
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