Author Topic: quick drying wood using a microwave... a picturesque tutorial....  (Read 4370 times)

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Offline BigHat

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DISCLAIMER: THIS IS ONLY SORT OF A TUTORIAL. I BASICALLY FOLLOWED SOME INSTRUCTIONS FOR DRYING A TURNED BOWL IN THE MICROWAVE I FOUND ONLINE. I CAN'T PROMISE YOU'LL GET GOOD RESULTS, I'M JUST SHARING HOW I DID IT SUCCESFULLY. DIFFERENT TYPES OF WOOD AND DIFFERENT CUTS OF WOOD WILL BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY. THE BEAUTY OF NATURE IS THAT IT'S UNPREDICTABLE, SO TRY AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Okay, disclaimer over, now to the goods...


I roughed out a kuksa


and roughed out the bowl


i left the walls thick for the next part...


i weighed the kuksa before microwaving...


i had some surface cracks that had already formed during carving... i marked the cracks with a sharpie to check if they were spreading.




i placed the kuksa on a paper towel in the microwave...


microwave for 30 seconds...


and straight into a paper bag


i left the bag open and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes...


check the cracks... (they actually sealed up during this process, i have no idea why)




weigh the kuksa...


rinse and repeat... (don't actually rinse, you're trying to get rid of water )














continue until the kuksa quits loosing water weight, or if you don't have a fancy postage scale, keep going until the smell of the wood changes and it quits steaming and feels dry.

i didn't take a pic of the starting weight, but here's a small list showing my weights before and after each microwave cycle.

starting weight. 6.00 oz

after cycle 1 5.80 oz
after cycle 2 5.60 oz
after cycle 3 5.40 oz
after cycle 4 5.25 oz (first scale pic)
after cycle 5 5.00 oz
after cycle 6 4.90 oz
after cycle 7 4.80 oz
after cycle 8 4.70 oz
after cycle 9 4.70 oz
after cycle 10 4.65 oz
after cycle 11 4.65 oz
after cycle 12 4.65 oz
after cycle 13 4.65 oz

at this point i stopped and let it sit overnight in the paper bag to reach it's equilibrium moisture content (fancy term i found online)...



The next day I did all the normal stuff...

rough shaped with a rasp


sanded to 220 grit...


oiled with 2 coats of vegetable oil... buffed dry with paper towel...


put on 5 coats of super glue and buffed in between coats with 1500 grit sand paper





hanging from my garage door opener track to cure overnight...




Some notes...

1. different woods smell differently, so the wood may make your microwave smell. Try wrapping a paper towel around the piece while drying, especially in the first few "cycles". Better yet, get a shop microwave if you can...
2. Be careful about doing too much too fast. It's important to let it cool down in between cycles, and it's important to not overheat it during heating. It is wood, watch it while it's nuking...
3. Don't forget to check the cracks! I marked them so I could check to see if they were spreading. I inspected that piece every time it cooled down, when I weighed it. If they had been spreading I would have put it in a plastic bag with the chips from carving and left it be.
4. You may want gloves! The wood is hot coming out of the microwave (has to be said...)




I hope this is beneficial for someone. There are other options for drying your kuksa, but I was in a rush to have this ready for a meet up, so this is how I did it. Thanks for looking....
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 05:29:47 AM by BigHat »
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Offline zammer

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Re: quick drying wood using a microwave... a picturesque tutorial....
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2012, 05:13:40 PM »
Very interesting method to dry it...question about the super glue, how did you apply it and are there no concerns about toxicity? thanks
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Offline BigHat

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Re: quick drying wood using a microwave... a picturesque tutorial....
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2012, 06:34:20 PM »
for the applying, i just dripped some on and rubbed very quickly. i wore nitrile gloves so i wouldn't get a super glue build-up on my fingertips.

for the toxicity, from all of the resources i could find, super glue becomes relatively non-toxic once it's dry, so i let it cure for a couple of days before i use it. basically until it doesn't smell like super glue any more. my friend uses it on goblets and has never had a complaint from a customer before so....

take the toxicity advice with a grain of salt, i'm not the FDA but I also haven't gotten sick yet either... YMMV
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Offline zammer

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Re: quick drying wood using a microwave... a picturesque tutorial....
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2012, 07:30:47 PM »
for the applying, i just dripped some on and rubbed very quickly. i wore nitrile gloves so i wouldn't get a super glue build-up on my fingertips.

for the toxicity, from all of the resources i could find, super glue becomes relatively non-toxic once it's dry, so i let it cure for a couple of days before i use it. basically until it doesn't smell like super glue any more. my friend uses it on goblets and has never had a complaint from a customer before so....

take the toxicity advice with a grain of salt, i'm not the FDA but I also haven't gotten sick yet either... YMMV

I'm not a big fan of the FDA anyways...lol

Thanks for the info BigHat, its appreciated.
"big fish like to live in bad places, that's how they get to be big fish"

Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: quick drying wood using a microwave... a picturesque tutorial....
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2012, 07:34:09 PM »
Thank you very much for the tutorial , Big Hat!      I know I'll be coming back a few times  , reading the instructions. :)     Beautiful Kuksa you have there!

Question:    Is the kuksa very steamy after each microwaved session?   


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On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: quick drying wood using a microwave... a picturesque tutorial....
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2012, 10:17:45 PM »
Cools beans!

Thanks for the info

KK
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Offline BigHat

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Re: quick drying wood using a microwave... a picturesque tutorial....
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2012, 05:25:08 AM »
WW, it's only steamy after the first few, the bag helps slow the moisture loss while the kuksa is cooling down, but eventually no more steam comes out, and the amounts of steam diminish after each cycle.

I used maple for this kuksa, and it isn't a very fragrant wood. I've heard that other woods can leave a smell in the microwave, so be careful with that too.
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Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: quick drying wood using a microwave... a picturesque tutorial....
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2012, 06:02:28 AM »
Ok,  thanks Big Hat.   

I guess if the wood smells up my microwave I can just burn some popcorn in it and that will take care of that.  ha ha.

:)


WW.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: quick drying wood using a microwave... a picturesque tutorial....
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2012, 11:00:06 PM »
That is cool! I had no idea how much water weight was in wood like that. Thanks for posting this!

Offline BigHat

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Re: quick drying wood using a microwave... a picturesque tutorial....
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2012, 05:08:59 AM »
That is cool! I had no idea how much water weight was in wood like that. Thanks for posting this!

you're welcome!

who knows how heavy it was when green. it had already partially seasoned when I carved this kuksa.
"you're doing it wrong!"  -everyone
"Doesn't matter what knife you're good with, if you're good with a knife." -Yeoman