Microwaving WOOD. Not in the Kitchen

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  • #60855
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    ModdIt

    Using a household size microwave oven to dry smaller pieces of wood for tool handles knife handles is
    pretty quick to do. I see advantages not just in time, any bugs in the wood will find a quick demise
    either through heat or dehydration. Small items with woodworm can be treated quickly without chemicals.

    Small green carved pieces, turned or carved bowls, cups spoons etc can be dried and finished in a few hours,
    and less chance of drying cracks due heat driving moisture from inside the wood..

    If you do this in the kitchen your lady will kill you. Depending on the wood the smell lingers on.
    I have a scavenged microwave oven for the job.
    You can use high power or as some suggest defrost setting, with success, I give a max of 30 seconds on
    high then let wood cool down, if it is wet wrapped in packing paper or newspaper, plunged in dry sawdust
    shavings also a good option but cooling much slower.

    Not my invention the tip came from a wood turnes forum.

    Pre warming to thin epoxy and accelerating setting when mounting tool or knife handles on pre dried wood
    is also a useful application.

    #60920
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    LikkMii
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    I’ve built dozens of gunstocks and hundreds of pistol grips/knives over the decades. I dry in an old fridge with 100 watt light bulb inside.Interior temps are 130 or so.Take it slow. The ol fridge is great for “curing’ linseed or teac oil finishes too.
    Never tried a microwave….for food either.
    I live in Costa Rica so I generally cure furniture wood in my shop. 3 months at ambient humidity. If I build a piece and you take it to a big city you’ll have a disaster shortly.Vice versa too. Buy a kiln dried wood chair in Carolina and drag it to the tropics and see how it goes.
    Polyurethane has greatly reduced the effect(commercially).I don’t use the crap. You can whack a piece of furniture, or a gunstock, with a hammer and I can “sweat” the dent out with a damp rag wait a few days and reapply an oil.

    #63017
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    rokytnji
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    Nice tip. Living in the desert. I use solar. Ambient sun here will give you cancer if precautions are not taken when outside. I can lay something out on my saw horses in the morning. The next day everything is dry.

    But. I got a neat commercial huge used oldy ancient microwave mounted to the interior wall in my motorcycle shop.

    Edit: since oil was mentioned. Linseed oil is my all purpose oil on virgin or dry wood. Works real well under dry and wet conditions.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by rokytnji.

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    #63026
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    ModdIt
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    Hi Likk Mii, Roki,
    we are in very differnt conditions, thus have different needs, I often search for spalted wood, especialy birch often very wet,
    the fungus needs very moist conditions to grow. Some pieces have wonderful colours and lines, natures art.
    Due to the fungus digesting wood substance I do have to stabilise at times, thin superglue is pretty good for that.

    Have been intending to try an anchient method using hide glue made very thin with added alum to improve later waterproofing.
    Anchient glues like pine resin charcoal plant fiber and birch tar perform really well in damp conditions, birch tar also chases away
    insects, (ladies too, it smells pretty strong) and will waterproof most anything.

    Hide glue joint on a cherry heartwood knife handle is pretty much invisible, I prepared it well and did a rub joint. Oiled finish fires
    the grain and keeps water away, Not immersion proof but as a really nice progressive hardened (Lauri Finnland) carbon steel blade I am
    careful to keep it dry or well oiled.

    Fruit woods like apple pear cherry plum are horrific to dry without cracking, I carve spoons. ladels, scoops wet, cut knife grip blanks
    to 4×3 cm, seal grain ends still get some cracks. Put those in the sun and they tear apart in hours. Desert woods are mostly pretty
    dry already, saw that in spain and in the canadian semi desert around Lethbridge.

    I know the problem with wood in tropics, lived in Manila, later Porto Galera Phillipines for a while. Before covid pretty much second home
    in Vietnam, manageable but not with many imported products.

    Not so much a fan of Linseed as wood will blacken if it gets contact with soil then days of rain. Well thinned Tung Linseed mix holds up to
    conditions here far better, penetrates most dry wood pretty well and just needs an occasional wipe with oil soaked rag to keep it fresh.
    Use that kind of oil on laminated canoe paddles, seats and ash rails too.

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