Processing a tree
We love nothing more than wood turning a bowl, platter, mug or candle holder here at Clover Woodcraft. Our process sound quite simple we take some wood and turn it into something beautiful for your home or as a gift.
What a lot of people don't realize is the length of time it takes to do this work. It can take anywhere between 1 and 5 years to dry timber to the correct moisture content without a kiln depending on a number of factors, including if the wood is a hard wood or soft wood and the time of the year it was felled. Currently we do not have access to a kiln and prefer to work at more natural pace, a kiln would improve drying time but it also increasing cracking and splitting as you are forcing the wood to dry. We at all times try to achieve and enhance the natural beauty of our
wooden gifts by showcasing the beauty behind the bark.
We try to sourced for raw material as sustainable as possible form fallen trees, storm damaged our dangerous tree we have been asked to remove. At Clover Woodcraft we process our own timber from trees, and have been commissioned to make items from tree removed from peoples gardens and businesses due to sentimental value.
We start with a large piece of timber normally a log which needs to be processed. We next cut the wood into smaller planks of wood to make it easier to work with. For this step we use a chainsaw, cutting the wood between 1 and 9 inches in depth depending on size of the tree and what we would or our customer might like use to make with it. Thinner boards will be using for chopping/ serving platter , mirrors clocks or as table tops etc. Deep cuts of wood will be used for wood turned bowl, mugs, platters and ornaments.
We then seal the end grain of the timber to slow the drying process and stop the wood from cracking and splitting. We also remove the pit wood during this process again to deter splitting and cracking where possible. We normally leave this timber outside to dry depending on the time of the year and size of the log. Smaller piece can be placed in our storage area inside our workshop where air is allowed to circulate to help in the drying process.
Once the timber has reached a moisture between 20 and 30% we will mark the wooden planks and map out what size wood blanks we will be able to achieve from the timber. We try our best to use as much of the wood as possible at this stage and not be wasteful. We mark our wood turning blanks out with templates and are able to maximize the amount to wood we use by marking each round out clearly. Where the wood has cracked or split we asses the timber and see is it safe and possible to continue to use this piece in our process. If the splitting is minor our the wood has naturally occurring voids which is not detrimental we will continue working on crafting a piece into something beautiful.
We cut all our own wood turning blanks to round shapes to use on the lathe. This process is done on a bandsaw and is an essential part of our process rounding the wood to make it safer to turn on the lathe. By cutting our own blanks we can predetermine with size and shape of our wood turned bowls. While this part of the process is time consuming it is vital to our business and allows us to plan future designs as our wood turning business grows. We also have more control over the designs we would like to stock.
Wet turning green wood.At Clover Woodcraft we like to twice turn or product's once when the wood is green which is also called rough turning, we roughly shape the bowl leaving the walls about 1 inch think. This process is also called wet turning as the moisture can be quite high in the timber. Wet turning can sometimes see the timber move, crack or split as the moisture leaves the wood. Depending on the moisture and wood we sometime seal the end grain of the timber to slow the drying process.
We leave our timber to dry naturally at this time to reduce the likely cracking and splitting.
The bowls sit in our outdoor storage area during this process. They are move inside to allow the final drying process to begin when the moisture level is below 15%.
The finished touches are completed on the lathe:
When the wood has reach optimum moisture level it is time to finish the bowl again on the lathe to give a smooth round even finish.
It is much harder to turn well seasoned timber and requires sharp chisels and gouges. We regularly sharpen our tools on a diamond blade sharpening system. We would reduce the thickness of the bowl walls at this stage and include designs, these could include beading our burning the wood to enhanced its features. All this work is completed on the wood turn lathe.
We generally sand all out products to an extremely smooth finish, before finishing with a food safe oil.