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February 2007: Inside This Issue
- Website Update
- Announcement of New Videos
- February Website Special
- Questions & Answers
- Finishing Tip of the Month
- Turning Tip of the Month
- Subscription Information
Happy Valentines Day to everyone and a hearty welcome to all of our new
subscribers! This is the third edition of Lathe Talk, a free monthly
newsletter (e-zine) for subscribers of Steve Russell’s “Woodturning
Videos Plus” woodturning website. The newsletter will be delivered on
or about the first of each month to the email address you indicated on
your sign-up form. Back issues of this newsletter are available to
If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a favor by
forwarding it to them. If a friend DID forward this to you and you like
what you read, please subscribe by visiting
our subscription page.
Lathe Talk will offer tips
and tricks to make your woodturning easier and more productive. I’ll
also show you ways to save money in your studio so you can stretch your
hard earned money. In addition, we will periodically offer subscribers
only specials on our videos and e-books.
Woodturning Videos Plus Website
Flash Video: Good News! We have added Flash video to
our website. Short preview clips of our pen and bowl turning videos are
now available on our
video preview page.
We plan to add short
video clips into selected articles in the education library very soon.
Many of these will have to be filmed from scratch, so we will add them
as soon as they can be filmed and uploaded onto the website.
In the near future, you will be able to read the article online and
click the video links to see certain procedures in action. This will
greatly add to the value of the educational articles by helping to
illuminate difficult to explain topics. This has been a goal of mine for quite some time and I'm excited that
we will be able to offer this benefit to you. Drop into the
from time to time, to see
what clips have been added.
"Hot Topic" Videos: We are also looking into adding
a monthly video "Hot Topic" that you can access on the website, which
will offer a longer video clip of important procedures and techniques.
Here are a few examples: How to grind an Irish grind on your bowl
gouge, techniques of shear scraping, buffing an oil finish, applying a
super glue finish to a writing pen, crushed stone inlay in
woodturnings, turning small projects and many more. Feel free to email
me with suggested topics for the monthly "Hot Topic" video clip. We
hope to launch this new feature in the next few months.
Questions and Answers: We are starting a new section
in Lathe Talk – Questions and Answers. I will be answering some of your
emailed questions here in Lathe Talk, so if you would like some
assistance on any woodturning related topic, please
Videos Plus Blog Now Available: By popular request, we have
added a free Blog/RSS feed to our website. Now you can keep up with any
changes made to the website including new product releases, new
additions or updates to the education library, e-zine mail out dates,
special news and much more. Blogging has taken the Internet by storm…
It's the easiest way to keep in touch with all of your favorite
websites. It's easy to
to our blog. For additional information on what a Blog is and how it operates, check out
What is RSS?
This is just the start…
Wait until you see what we are planning for the rest of 2007! We are
committed to continuous improvement of the website and to helping
woodturners around the world to enjoy the art of woodturning.
Woodturning with Steven D. Russell Volume IV –
Dry Grinder Sharpening and Volume V – Wet Grinder Sharpening now in
We're proud to announce that we have begun preproduction work for my
fourth and fifth DVD videos. Volume four will cover sharpening your
Turning Tools on a dry grinder. Topics to be covered include: Setup and
wheel selection, balancing wheels, using the top three jig systems and
tips for each, developing a sharpening code for your tools, how to
sharpen all of your turning tools and how to modify grinds to work
better, plus lots of tips and tricks and much more.
Volume five will cover sharpening your turning tools on the Tormek wet
grinder. Topics to be covered include: Setup and maintenance tips, how
to sharpen all of your woodturning tools, proper use of all of the jigs
for woodturners, using the honing wheels, tips and tricks for
woodturners and much more.
We will begin production of the videos in February and hope to have the
postproduction and design work completed by early April. If you have
suggestions for future videos, please feel free to
February Website Special – For Lathe Talk Subscribers Only
$5.00 additional discount on my Volume #3
Bowl Turning Step-By-Step
Double DVD Video set. For
the month of February 2007, you can save an additional $5.00 off the
current sale price of $40.00 on any Volume #3 Double DVD Video order.
With your special discount, a copy of my bowl turning DVD will only
cost $35.00, plus postage (and taxes only if you live in Texas). That's
a savings of $10.00 off the regular price of $45.00.
To access this special offer, enter the coupon code 3145 on the
shopping cart page in the coupon box area. Click the “recalculate”
button and your discount will show on the screen. Offer ends February
28, 2006 at 12:01 midnight, CST. Additional subscriber only discounts
and specials will be offered in future editions of Lathe Talk.
Questions and Answers
This is a new section in Lathe Talk and will feature questions from
subscribers about woodturning in general, the website, my studio,
research and development testing in my studio and more. If you have
Your information on boiling is great, but I was wondering what you came
up with testing Pentacryl. Pentacryl seems to work for me turning fly
rod reel seats but I want to try a few larger things, especially with
some local arbutus (Madrone), which is notorious for twisty grain. The
locals say it's a waste of time to bother with Pentacryl so I was
curious what you thought. You seem to take a very methodical and
scientific approach unlike most other reports, which are largely
anecdotal. Of course, I'm going to use it anyway but I'd appreciate any
insights you have. Thanks, Rick.
Answer: I tested Pentacryl a few years ago in an
effort to see if it would be valuable for difficult timbers, or if it
would offer advantages over other protocols I was using in my studio.
My test included five gallons of Pentacryl, used in the following
tests: 1.) Full Immersion – 2 days, 4 days, 2.) Vacuum Immersion – 4
hours, 8 hours, 24 hours, 3.) Painted on until thoroughly wet 4.)
Sprayed on until thoroughly wet.
The testing covered approximately 100 bowls, 50 platters and numerous
solid stock blanks ranging in size from 1" to 6" thick. Total test
covered about 200 pieces, in 16 different species. I plan on writing a
full article on the testing and results that will appear in my next
woodturning e-Book and also in "More Woodturning", but I will be happy
to summarize the results for you here as the full report will probably
come in at 10 – 12 pages in length.
Test pieces included side grain blanks, rough turned to 1" thick walls
and did not include any pith, or tight growth rings. Solid wood blanks
were pith free and featured band sawn faces on all sides. Both subsets
had a few wild grain pieces included, but the bulk of the test pieces
(90%) were plain to slightly figured straight grain. Some pieces
included compression wood and others tension wood from limbs, but each
was properly balanced in the blank. The majority of pieces were from
the trunk of the tree with even growth rings. Penetration depth was
measured on a random basis by cutting the piece and half and observing
the indicated maximum depth.
Overall the Pentacryl treated pieces faired well. 34 roughed out pieces
received full immersion for 2 days with 3 failures. A failure here is
defined as a check in the dried rough out, or blank. In the 4-hour test
group, 44 pieces were included with 2 failures. Vacuum immersion
produced 100% crack free results for all immersion times.
The subjects in the painted on and sprayed on subsets experienced a
higher failure rate overall than the immersion subsets. The highest
failures were in the sprayed on subset, with 5 out of 35 pieces
checking in the painted on test group and 8 out of 36 checking in the
sprayed on test group.
Bottom line: Pentacryl can be an effective method for treating green
wood to help prevent checking and to reduce overall drying degrade.
However, it works best with green wood that still contains a lot of
moisture. Pentacryl also darkens the wood quite a bit on light colored
timbers and is somewhat expensive, if using it on a large amount of
pieces. High figured wood faired less than straight grain in my
Best results were obtained with full immersion and vacuum immersion,
indicating that the product needs to get fully into the wood to achieve
a high success rate. I use Pentacryl occasionally for some species and
under certain conditions, but I still prefer boiling for the best all
around solution for problem timbers and to speed the drying process.
Madrone is highly unstable as you know and therefore, I would expect a
higher loss ratio than those mentioned above when using Pentacryl with
this species. The only thing that has worked well for me with Madrone
is live steam treatments, or boiling. Thanks for your question and good
luck with your Madrone.
P.S. For those of you who would like additional information on my
boiling protocol, check out these two articles in our education library:
Reducing Timber Drying Defect by Boiling
Boiling Protocol Tips and Tricks
I had 6 logs of black walnut that fell in a storm in July 06. I went to
the farm site where the trees were, and cut into 4-foot lengths. I
sealed the ends with emulsified wax and stored out of the sun to the
north of my shop. I am just now getting time to get ready to rough out
the logs into bowls. Here's what I found when I cut open the logs. The
sapwood was about 1 inch thick and the normal light tan color. The next
layer of color was the normal "purple" color. Finally, the inner 4 to 5
inches was a non- purple color, more like a brown versus purple. Is the
wood ruined? I let it go 18 months to cut open the logs but don't know
if the wood is or was bad before I cut it up. Did I wait too long to
cut up the logs? Is the wood really ruined? Also, will the wood color
change if it has time to "air dry"? Best Regards, Mark.
Answer: No, your log is not ruined! In my experience
it is not uncommon for timber to have varying color bands like you
describe in the heartwood. In fact, around the Houston area it's quite
common on the Pecans, Elms and Sycamores to exhibit these
characteristics in mature trees. Remember, wood is by nature highly
variable in color and that's part of its allure.
As trees age, the colors can become muted, especially near the pith.
Environmental factors can also influence the color in trees, as can
soil conditions, overall health and insect activity. When you find a
tree with gorgeous color and figure, you are in woodturning nirvana and
life is sweet!
Walnut is a pure joy to turn and if you air-dry it, you
can keep the subtle colors intact. The delicate purples, creams and
reds are preserved when you air-dry your Walnut. Most timbers loose
some of their color over time, unless protocols are instituted to
prevent, or lessen damaging environmental factors, such as ultraviolet
In the future, try to process your logs as soon as possible. Wax
emulsions are only a stopgap measure with logs that buys you a bit of time. Most
timbers do not season well in the full log form, so you need to split
the log and section it as soon as possible in the future you can cut
solid blanks out, plank long thick boards, or go ahead and rough out
bowls and platters etc., depending on your needs.
Be sure to use a wax emulsion on any cut endgrain and high figured
areas until you can complete the processing. For further details on
using wax emulsions on logs and blanks, check out this article on
The further you can
process the log, the better your chances will be at getting crack free
blanks, or rough outs. Good luck to you with your Walnut!
Finishing Tip of the Month - The Magic of
Learn how to use microcrystalline wax to enhance the finish on your woodturnings. Microcrystalline waxes offer superior protection over traditional waxes like beeswax and carnauba. To view the full article, click on the link below.
The Magic of Microcrystalline Wax
Turning Tip Of The Month – Cryogenically Treated
Learn the benefits of cryogenically treated woodturning tools. Using cryo treated turning tools reduces the amount of sharpening needed when turning large volumes of wood or abrasive timbers. To view the full article, click on the link below.
Cryogenically Treated Turning Tools
The response to my Lathe Talk newsletter/e-zine has been tremendous, with hundreds of new subscribers being added in the last few weeks. Please let your woodturning friends know about my newsletter and encourage them to subscribe. Together, we can make Lathe Talk a valuable resource for woodturners around the world. Take care.
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