Chittum Burl Blanks

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dwilli19

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2013
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7
Location
North Alabama
I am from North Alabama, and have dumbed into the Chittum Burl mecca. I have been roughing out some pen blanks, but was wondering how long will it take for a 3/4" square x 5-7" blank to dry enough to turn. This stuff is beautiful. I also have some duck call and turkey call blanks cut and drying. Thanks.
Dave

2013-02-25_19-38-15_16_zpse009a37e.jpg
 
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fiferb

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Mar 20, 2006
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2,442
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Ninety Six, SC, USA.
If you have a postal scale (about $20 at Harbor Freight), you could weigh them periodically. When the weight stabilizes they have reached the point you can turn them.
 

Sataro

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Mar 15, 2009
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2,703
Location
Corsicana, TX
Simple solution! Send me a couple of them. I will let you know when they are turnable! :) Those are some nice looking blanks!
 

Justturnin

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Aug 19, 2011
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2,235
Location
Houston, Tx
Go to Lowes or HD and get you a gallon of Denatured Alcohol (DNA). Put the blanks in a container and cover with DNA. YOu may have to weigh them down. Let them soak for a couple of days. Take them out, let them drain until the outside is more or less dried off. Wrap them in Black and White newspaper. Stack them Log Cabin style w/ space in between on the shelf w/ little air movement. check them about a week or two and once they have completely dried take them out of the paper and stack them back for a few more weeks.

+1 on the HF scale. You can weight the stack and when it stops loosing they are done. Also see of you can find a low cost Moisture Gauge.

Nice score, I know nothing about this wood. Is it locally grown or did you buy this burl?


Ohh yea, I wanted to add. The DNA actually displaces and absorbs the water out of the blanks. You can use it over and over but before long you will only have a bucket of water because the DNA has pulled water from the blanks and then replaced it with DNA. Kind of like a parasite.
 
Last edited:

parawood

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Oct 24, 2010
Messages
78
Location
South Jersey
A general rule of thumb for air drying wood is one year per inch of thickness. In the case of pen blank sized pieces, it should take much less time.

Have you googled how to dry blanks in a microwave? It works, too.

Karl
 

Rick_G

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Joined
Nov 30, 2007
Messages
1,986
Location
Bothwell, Ontario, Canada.
I cut mine into 1" square blanks and dry them in the microwave. 4 or 5 blanks at a time, microwave on defrost for 3 minutes. Take them out and let them cool totally to room temperature. Do it again. How many times depends on the initial moisture level. I have a cheap ($30) pin type moisture meter. Lowest reading is 8% so when it reaches that or no LED's light I'm done.

A couple things.
1. and most important DO NOT use your wife's microwave from the kitchen I did this and it was several weeks before the smell went away.:frown:

2. Do not leave the area while the microwave is on.

3. Have a bucket or large bowl of water nearby that you can drop the blanks in if needed. If you see or smell smoke not steam but smoke drop the blanks in the water. If the blanks start to burn they burn from the middle out so they can be burning in the center with no indication other than a little smoke or burning odor. I set my blanks to cool on top of the microwave, it's metal and won't burn.

My blanks nearly always warp when I dry them like this, that's why I cut them large so they can be recut later.

I would not depend on scales to see when they are dry. Once they reach dry and you put them back in to see if they lose any more weight they will in all likelihood start to burn.
 

Monty

Group Buy Coordinator
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Mar 4, 2005
Messages
7,894
Location
Pearland, Texas, USA.
If you uses a scale, it will just indicate when you have reached equilibrium moisture content. Your blanks will still contain moisture. In my case here in Houston, my blacks EMC is 12-15%, still too much to embed in Alumailite (DAMHIKT). AS Rick suggested, I use a microwave and run mine 2-3 30 second cycles, let them cool a few minutes then repeat several more cycles until when the blanks are cool to the touch and the moisture meeter reads 0%. Usually after the second or third cycle, I can feel that there is less moisture coming out of the blank.
 

dwilli19

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Joined
Feb 26, 2013
Messages
7
Location
North Alabama
Thanks for all of the insight guys! Great ideas that I have never thought of. I turn primarily duck/turkey calls but thought the pens would be fun also. As for the Chittum Burl....got it locally, you wouldn't believe how much of it is actually in the woods when you start looking for it. They say it only grows here and the burling has something to do with the limestone rocks all over the place. I currently have three large stumps with burls on them in my yard as we speak. Once I figure out how much I have and how much more I can get, I would be more than happy to trade/sell a few blanks.
Dave
 

dwilli19

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2013
Messages
7
Location
North Alabama
Just tried the micrwave drying, worked like a charm. I finished cutting up my first stump burl yesterday, and started cutting blanks on the bandsaw. I expect to have about 30-40 blanks, some I'll be trading, some I'm definitely keeping, and some will go up for sale. Those who have IM'd me, I got ya in order of the IM's for preference. The biggest burl stump I have is about half the size of a 30 gallon garbage can. I expect 100 blanks easily out of it, now that I know how much I got out of this last small stump. Stay tuned!
 
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