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Old 01-17-2015, 10:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Unhappy Splitting Olivewood

I am a relatively new pen turner so I must be doing something wrong with my Olivewood blanks. The blanks are finishing out very nicely, but after a couple of weeks the blanks begin to split. I have made the PSI Faith, Hope, and Love pen out of Olivewood which is a fairly large pen which has a minimum of 1/8" of wood or more on the finished blank. It looks like it split along the grain line from the NIB end up to the other end of the blank. It looked perfect when I finished the pen. I had a similar experience with a PSI Slimline kit. It finished out beautifully making a very good looking pen. After a couple of weeks it began splitting (very fine cracks) at the NIB end of the pen. I am using a PSI pen press to assemble the kit so I know that I am not inserting the NIB crooked or exerting too much pressure that might be causing it to crack when I am assembling it.

The Olivewood blanks came from PSI and were sealed with wax. When I turned the blank the wood appeared to be pretty moist. I assumed that the blanks from PSI were ready to use when I purchased them, but I am beginning to wonder. Do you have to wait some period of time and let the wood really dry out before using it? How can you tell when a blank is green or too wet to turn? I hate having to disassemble the kit and re-do it. I am not having trouble with other wooden blanks other than the Olivewood blanks. Right now it seems like anything that I make with Olivewood is hit or miss (maybe it will crack and maybe it won't). Any help or suggestions will be appreciated as I am getting very frustrated.

Last edited by vbritt; 01-17-2015 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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I'd say the appeared to be pretty moist is your problem. If they weren't dry the cracks make perfect sense.

I've not had olive crack after assembly before. I use the pennstate bow cuttoffs and never have a problem. But every batch is probably different.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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My findings in the past have been, if someone coates wood in wax it is to do one of three things. The wood has been dried and you want to keep moisture out, you want to seal moisture in so the wood doesn't crack when it dries, or to seal the ends to slow down and ever out the drying process. If you are turning your pens and finishing them, make certain that you seal the ends after you have squared them or moisture may wick into the end grain and cause cracking as the wood under the finish dries and shrinks. I use fingernail polish hardner for this task. Jim S

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Old 01-17-2015, 10:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If they were sealed with wax, I suspect that they were still green.

I get my BOW directly from Israel & have never had a problem. Send me your address & I'll send you a couple of my BOW blanks and also a couple of Australian OW blanks from Robutacoin (George's Bits of Timber). I bet they will all turn just fine for you.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vbritt View Post

The Olivewood blanks came from PSI and were sealed with wax. When I turned the blank the wood appeared to be pretty moist. I assumed that the blanks from PSI were ready to use when I purchased them.
What is the item code on the product you bought... Which olive wood did you get from them? (They have a few different ones. Some with better reviews than others. ). I have had no problem with the pens I have made with Bethlehem olive wood ( slims, and bolt action) the ones I got do not have wax and turned out great with a CA finish.

What did you seal and finish with?

Last edited by endacoz; 01-17-2015 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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They were completely sealed with wax ? Scrape the wax off the sides as thoroughly as you can , leave it on the ends , weigh the blanks every week until the weight stabilizes , and you shouldn`t have a problem with any more that you have . Treat ALL fully waxed blanks in that manner .
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by endacoz View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by vbritt View Post

The Olivewood blanks came from PSI and were sealed with wax. When I turned the blank the wood appeared to be pretty moist. I assumed that the blanks from PSI were ready to use when I purchased them.
What is the item code on the product you bought... Which olive wood did you get from them? (They have a few different ones. Some with better reviews than others. ). I have had no problem with the pens I have made with Bethlehem olive wood ( slims, and bolt action) the ones I got do not have wax and turned out great with a CA finish.

What did you seal and finish with?
I bought the olivewood, Item #WXPR01 (4 pack 3/4x3/4x5), that was listed on page 95 in their latest catalog. I am currently using the Beal buff system to finish my pens and I really like the finish I get with the system. The initial buff is with Tripoli, the second is with white diamond , and the final buff is with Carnuba wax which is the final step. I may have also used the HUT perfect pen polish (brown and white bars) on one or more of the olive wood pens.
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I looked at my past orders and realized i got my olive wood at woodturningz.com. Bethlehem Olivewood Pen Blank - WoodTurningz

So I am not sure about PSI.

I think sealing the wood before you finish/buff would help as well. Look up on the forum and on YouTube how to dry wood in the microwave!
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Old 01-18-2015, 02:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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One time I cut 3/4 of a ton Olive from a disused grove it takes a long time in the log is real heavy a mongrel to cut wet. When broken down it goes well. I then having cut the blanks stack them in my roof space with a fan blowing over them 24/7. I bought a batch from Bethlehem by hand through a Jewish friends family in Bethlehem cost me a bomb and Arabs own the big dealership and a risky place to be at times. I have cut local long grown here in Canberra imported from Spain Italy and Turkey etc all had a spell in the roof.I weigh a test bunch weekly when for more than two weeks they are stable in weight I use them.

One day my dearly beloved observed if Olive is not dry it feels damp especially on the inside of the arm sounds too simle huh dont knock it till you try it.

If you get the chance to buy beaut blanks treat them as sus for dry pays huge dividends. Like we said to our girls you have to kiss a thousand frogs before you get a handsome Prince ( not what I told the prospective suitors with five daughters ). Cut your own logs learn the hard way the grain can be elusive. I love Olive specially the Spanish.

Kind regards Peter.
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Well, before I would say anything, I decided to have a look at PSI's item # and see what they were selling and what I found was this.

*- First of all, I don't like to see the same high grade blank, copied 4 times to exemplify/demonstrated what the customer will receive, is just unnecessary that PSI uses such tactics to misconceive potential buyers, particularly those with less knowledge of woods, that is just a nono...!

*- They say that, the Olive wood is Spanish and I wonder why, would people in the USA import Olive wood from Spain or Italy, when they have an great abundance of Olive wood in California...??? That I would like to know...!

*- Why is the Olive wood waxed...??? dry Olive wood doesn't require waxing, wax can be used on dry Olive wood to enhance the colours but that, is generally only done at one of the faces. Olive wood that is half way through its drying process, should have its end grain waxed to prevent cracking however, green Olive wood when fully waxed, will behave a lot better but, that wood will take many years to dry, while fully sealed with a heavy coat of wax. This process is common when companies process green woods in a form of many blanks sizes, some quite large, this is done to stop the wood to dry and therefore, crack and so all sorts of crazy things but this wood when sold, should be CLEARLY identified/marked as "GREEN", any wood above 20% moisture is considered green, most woods are considered dry at 10% moisture, Olive wood will always read higher MC (Moisture content) due to the natural oils, anything up to 14% MC is safe to use.

From what I read from your comments, you have used Olive wood that is not yet dry and safe to use, it may not be green, that would read 39% MC on common 2 pin MC gauges we all use (most of us...!)

How do you know if the wood is green or not yet dried sufficiently to use...???

If you are buying the wood, fully and heavily waxed wood, is certainly the first indicator, weight can be another factor, some woods are heavier than others, Olive wood is always heavy but very heavy when not dry...!

The first line of defence would be to acquire one of those inexpensive MC gauges, such as these.

If you are going somewhere to buy wood, take the gauge with you, if you see something you like that doesn't seem dry, stick the gauge in the wood, soon you will know how dry/yet it is.

If you are buying online, make sure you read the info about the wood, if you see nothing in regards to the wood dryness, ask for confirmation before you buy. If you are told is dry and when you get it and work it, if happens that the wood is not dry and pens start to crack, simply contact your supplier, make your complaint and request the refund/replacement of the blanks and the kits you have used on those blanks, do not accept your bad luck, is not your bad luck to start with, you simply have been mislead and should be compensated, period...!

Make sure, you read the fine print of the item description, sometimes unscrupulous sellers, tend to make it almost invisible to see but when you complain, you will be told that, all the information was there...!

I know that, your problem is with a not dried pack of Olive wood blanks however, what I just said, is applicable with any sort of woods...!

There is nothing else you can do with those pens/barrels that you made from that wood, if the tubes and kit components are to be saved, you need to pull those pens appart and turn the wood off the tubes and start again...!

Hope this serves as a lesson to you...!

Best of luck,

Cheers
George
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