Rough Turned Bowl Storage - Hot & Humid or Cool & Dry?

Steve in VA

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Given two options, which would be best for storing rough turned bowls while waiting for them to dry:

1) In the garage with high temps and thick humidity
2) In the basement where it's much cooler from the AC, but also dry

Thus far I've been storing them in the garage in a paper bag, and for the most part it's worked out fairly well with limited checking and no mold. In the past, when I've tried storing them in shavings I've gotten some mold so I've moved away from that.

Now that we have 90+ temps (and close to 100 over the past few days) I'm wondering if the garage is still best or would it be better to move them inside where it's much cooler, but dry.

Thanks in advance!
 

trc65

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My vote is with the humidity. It is loss of moisture that causes all the problems, hence the use of bags, shavings or anchorseal. However, once they have been in the garage for a while (and it starts getting really hot) I think I'd move them inside to finish drying.

After roughing, all my bowls go inside to the basement and completely covered in anchor seal until ready for final turning. Basement is a fairly constant 65-70° and 50% humidity year round. If I have a bowl or two I want to final turn asap, it goes in a bag with shavings and will dry much quicker. Ive now built up a good stock of roughed bowls, so don't worry about drying quickly anymore. Bowls I turn wet to final thickness go in paper bag (no shavings) for a week or so, and then just sit on a shelf until I sand and apply finish.

The other thing I do is to weigh and date all rough turnings before they get waxed. Most are dry enough to final turn in 5-6 months (10" and under bowls), but I will weigh them to confirm. If no weight change after about a week, I consider them good to go.
 

Steve in VA

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My experience, while limited, is about the same as yours Tim when it comes to drying times and I have been leaving them in paper bags in the garage. I've only used Anchorseal on a few that I thought may be prone to cracking, but my drying times has been about 5 months using the 10% rule and weighing them every 3-4 weeks.

But now that it's getting so hot here in VA, I started to wonder if the excessive heat in the garage would work against me and if moving them inside, albeit drier, might be better.
 

Barb

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My vote is with the humidity. It is loss of moisture that causes all the problems, hence the use of bags, shavings or anchorseal. However, once they have been in the garage for a while (and it starts getting really hot) I think I'd move them inside to finish drying.

After roughing, all my bowls go inside to the basement and completely covered in anchor seal until ready for final turning. Basement is a fairly constant 65-70° and 50% humidity year round. If I have a bowl or two I want to final turn asap, it goes in a bag with shavings and will dry much quicker. Ive now built up a good stock of roughed bowls, so don't worry about drying quickly anymore. Bowls I turn wet to final thickness go in paper bag (no shavings) for a week or so, and then just sit on a shelf until I sand and apply finish.

The other thing I do is to weigh and date all rough turnings before they get waxed. Most are dry enough to final turn in 5-6 months (10" and under bowls), but I will weigh them to confirm. If no weight change after about a week, I consider them good to go.
This is so helpful to me that I can't thank you enough. I didn't even realize until I read it that I needed this info lol. :)
 

Steve in VA

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I think what it really boils down to is a combination of art and science, patience, trial and error, some good luck, some bad luck, and touch of voodoo :scare3:

In the end, Mother Nature will always do what she wants!
 

trc65

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You are 100% correct. Ive only been at it for a couple of years as well, but the first blanks I cut were Apple, and everything I read said that it would crack and check horribly. Decided I'd better use Anchorseal ( and a lot of it), and lost very few blanks. Probably as much luck as anything, but it worked, so I do that on all my blanks now.

I think I've only gone through about 3-4 gal of Anchorseal , and that's for probably 160 plus bowls and countless spindle blanks. To me, that's pretty cheap for the amount of blanks I have. It might be overkill for some blanks or species, but I'd rather be turning than experimenting with drying methods.
 

Barb

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You are 100% correct. Ive only been at it for a couple of years as well, but the first blanks I cut were Apple, and everything I read said that it would crack and check horribly. Decided I'd better use Anchorseal ( and a lot of it), and lost very few blanks. Probably as much luck as anything, but it worked, so I do that on all my blanks now.

I think I've only gone through about 3-4 gal of Anchorseal , and that's for probably 160 plus bowls and countless spindle blanks. To me, that's pretty cheap for the amount of blanks I have. It might be overkill for some blanks or species, but I'd rather be turning than experimenting with drying methods.
Wow! I would've thought that you were turning for a lot longer than 2 years. :)
 

Brandon Sloan

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Somethings that I have observed with drying wood. The temperature changes fairly gradually. The wood tends to acclimate as long as you are keeping it out of direct sunlight. Humidity in the garage will stay relatively constant even with small changes, the wood will acclimate. If you expose the wood to drastic changes, it will not be able to acclimate and will do the opposite of what you want. I know that you can get more aggressive with drying after hitting a certain moisture level in the wood. I’ve just had the best luck with leaving it on a shelf, out of direct sunlight, and in the garage. If it ain’t broke....
 
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