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Author Topic: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.  (Read 766 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.
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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.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2017, 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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Offline Bob Howell

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2017, 09:53:47 pm »
Here are the slabs I got from log section

 

The two quarter sawn slabs have now been cut into 2"-3" by 12"x22" for drying. The two remaining cuts will be cut into bowl blanks and turning sqs. They are each 6" thick but have a check down the middle. I will turn them green.

How to best dry these 2-3" slabs is my concern. I know I could put them under a tarp for 3-4 yrs and they will dry some day but I want to use them in my lifetime.

Wondering about a small solar kiln. Just 5 of them so a stack side by side and 10"  is about it.

Offline Bob Howell

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2017, 10:04:45 pm »
 

 
Here are 3 of my slabs. Burned up my blade cutting the 5 of them. No checks in them yet. Ends sealed.

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2017, 11:06:21 pm »
I usually air dry Osage for a year, they are very prone to heart check, but nothing can be done about that.
Around here, Osage attracts boring bugs, so spray it while it's drying or you will start seeing yellow sawdust.
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Offline Kcwoodbutcher

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2017, 11:23:24 pm »
Being quartersawn you should have better luck with splitting and checking. My experience with drying osage in the kiln indicates that it does not contain a lot of moisture but what it does have it gives up slowly. I have dried quite a bit in my DH kiln and have always had good results with quartersawn material. I dry it similar to how you would dry white oak.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2017, 04:39:55 am »
Doesn't white oak have a lot of moisture though? When you compare green to sugar maple, the oak is lots heavier. But down to 12 % they weight about the same (w. oak average for spec group). White oak loses 18 lbs, sugar maple loses 12 lbs, osage loses 6 lbs @ 12 % MC.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline Kcwoodbutcher

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2017, 09:37:56 pm »
I've never found a schedule for osage. White oak is a conservative schedule so I use it to be safe. It seems to work OK but some boards can be a real challenge.
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2017, 07:41:59 am »
There are kiln schedules for Osage orange in the book I helped write  entitled "Dry Kiln Schedules for Commercial Woods."  All kiln operators should have a copy.  Download from the internet.
https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr57.pdf

It is also in the more recent key book "Drying Hardwood Lumber." 

The schedule calls for 88% RH the entire time that the wood is above 30% MC.   This is the same humidity as oak, but the MC level is much longer than for oak. This species needs to avoid drying over 160 F in the main schedule.

An older version of the schedules is in the "Dry Kiln Operator's Manual."
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline Bob Howell

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2017, 08:39:05 pm »
I understand now I must keep it in high RH. I'm thinking in the shade in the backyard for the next 6 mos-yr. with tarp loosely draped over. Anything fancy and it might check.

I have never notices the RH on a 90% day but it drops  for sure but is right back up as sun goes down. Am I going to have problems here in Atlanta?

I read up on this 20years ago but have forgot much of it. But I remember white oak you just left alone in the shade for a year.

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2017, 09:39:02 pm »
Last summer we had lots of 30% RH in the afternoon...very dry and critical.  This summer is 55% RH in the driest part of the day, so not much worry at all.  Mesh plastic, called Shade-Dri is a good option.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline Bob Howell

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2017, 01:01:58 am »
Several friends turn a lot of green wood and have started drying their turnings in denatured alcohol. In this case I would soak it over night in a gallon, then let it dry for 60 days. They say cracks are not a big problem. I am seeking information on this. A 12" bowl turned 1" thick and dried this way has a lot of stress relieved in turning first so it would be a stretch to extrapolate to a 2"x 12"22" slab.

Guess its time for a test of say white oak. I happen to have some American Chestnut, green; 13" round and long. Planning to cut off 1" slabs and see if makes attractive cutting boards. Girls love the idea if the grain is right. Is that a realistic test?

Anyone have experience.

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2017, 07:06:23 am »
Drying of wood in denatured alcohol (DNA) is a well known process, but it does require a wood that is somewhat porous.  Both oak and Osage orange are not very porous at all, so alcohol drying could be unsatisfactory for these species.   One consideration is that the alcohol replaces water in the wood, so the alcohol soaking bath can be used once and then the water that comes out of the wood weakens the solution and makes it unsuitable for re-use.  This means $$$.  Note that not all DNA has 95% DNA...check the label.  We want 95% or more for wood drying.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline Bob Howell

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2017, 03:35:32 pm »
Gene, is there a method I can employ at some point to speed the drying safely. I have 5 slabs so could experiment with one.

Methods running from placing it in a garbage bag and setting it in sun to wrapping it in black plastic and letting condensation drip out.

I'm looking for books I once had on kilns but seem to be hiding.


Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2017, 06:06:49 pm »
I cannot suggest a good way to "Speed it up" as everyone I know who was drying this Wood Used Slow standard drying.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline Bob Howell

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2017, 08:47:12 pm »
Guess i'll have to waite

Offline low_48

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Re: Drying slab of osage orange for guitar parts.
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2017, 12:08:26 am »
I strongly suggest you not turn big bowls with cracks in them. There was recently a photo circulating on-line where the bowl blew up on the guy and a chunk broke his face shield and that acted like a machete and sliced open his head all across the top. I lost count how many staples he had. Lynn Yamaguchi had a serious accident where one of her eye sockets was shattered from a bowl coming apart and smacking her in the face. She now wears a riot helmet. Wood with cracks is firewood, not turning blanks!