Another question on drying wood quickly

Discussion in 'General Slingshot Discussions' started by Withak, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Withak

    Withak aka Whitehawk!

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    Another question for you folks:

    I'm using the microwave method for drying a fork from a fig tree. I've been doing it slowly, at 30% power, one minute at a time, with a wait in-between to avoid burning or splitting the wood.

    So far it seems to be going well. This wood was extremely wet when I started. While I forgot to weight it before I started, when I did start weighing it, I found that it's given up over 100g of water so far. I'm guessing I started at around 275g for the fork, and I'm down to 170g now.

    My question is this - how do I know when I've dried it completely? Or is that really even possible? Is there some way I can be fairly sure? I'm not getting much moisture on the paper towel now. Does it sound like I'm getting close? I could use input from some experienced folks out there.
     
  2. Will

    Will Thread Hijacker

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    Ok, from what I have read on woodworking forums, when the fork, or wood is no longer getting hot from the microwave, it is dry. But please don't take my word for this, I would do some googling and see what pops up. Good luck!
     

  3. Withak

    Withak aka Whitehawk!

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I did a couple of quick searches and did find some good information. Based on what I read, it looks like I'm about done drying! What several suggested was to let the wood sit for a few days after completing the drying process in order to let the wood equalize to the relative humidity of the environment. I'll do that next.
     
  4. stej

    stej New Member

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    Might be true. But from my experience when warming up food in microwave, sometimes even the cup is hot.

    Besides that some time ago I microwaved an apple fork and noticed that after microwaving it was so dry that after that it sucked some air moisture again so it got dozen of grams extra weight (it was a large fork).
     
  5. Cubanizm

    Cubanizm Junior Member

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    My opinion & word of caution:

    I have a 10+ year old fig tree in my backyard and I would NEVER consider making a slingshot fork from fig lumber. It is one of the weakest woods I have ever come across. The core ( Heartwood) is soft like cork... Even with the use of wood-hardeners, I would be SUPER hesitant... Add the risk of non visible internal cracks induced by nature, time and microwaving and you might have a recipe for disaster. SAFETY FIRST!

    I recommend perhaps trying your luck with our native mulberry tree which is a distant cousin of fig and also belongs to the Moraceae tree family. It's lumber is easy to work and the overall density of the wood is of suitable hardness.

    I presently, have a mulberry fork speed drying in about 10 lbs of sea salt... And so far, the grain and darker heartwood starting to reveal itself is quite nice...

    *Below are pics of fig branches with arrows pointing at the soft cork-like core I mentioned.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  6. Cubanizm

    Cubanizm Junior Member

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    I however, noticed that the cork like core is less noticeable in older trunks... ( see pics )

    Still not sure about its strength...TEST THE HELL OUT OF THE FORK FIRST until you feel comfortable. Also consider the band strength and amount of pull force you'll be applying... Let me know how the project turns out, as I am very curious about Fig's potential for being used in slingshot making...
     

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  7. Withak

    Withak aka Whitehawk!

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    Interesting Cubazim - and a good word of warning. The piece I cut shows no evidence of a soft core at any of the cut points - it actually appears to be solid wood throughout. As it's dried, it's become even stronger. Perhaps I have a different variety of fig than you? This wood looks no different in internal composition than the other woods I've cut. That said, I'll do some testing with light bands before I try to really stress it. Good words of caution. Thank you.

    When I get time, I'll grab another piece of that fig and cut it on the bias to try and get a better look at the core. I know the type of soft core you're talking about, I just don't see evidence of that in the piece I'm currently working with. If time allows, I'll try to post a photo for you to see later this evening.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  8. Maulwurfsurfer

    Maulwurfsurfer Junior Member

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    well i would say it is not even good to dry the wood up to almost 100%. when u microwave it u should just keep on weighing it and when u do not realize any changes in the weight anymore, it is dry.

    the microwave mainly heats up fluids. but if ur fluid (like water in a cup) is hot it transfers the heat into the cup it self.
     
  9. Cubanizm

    Cubanizm Junior Member

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    Just came across this cicada metamorphing into its next stage of life on the fig tree... Thought I'd share..

    As a nature lover, I enjoy coming across moments like this.
     

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  10. Flipgun

    Flipgun Well-Known Member

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    I learned from the late and unlamented jeff lazerface that a fork is dry when you drop it and it makes a musical sound. A fork that is still wet will have a duller sound.
     
  11. Will

    Will Thread Hijacker

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    I was wondering what happened to that guy, did he get himself banned somehow?

    I don't know. With my luck, I'd drop my fork and somehow damage it irreparably. :D
     
  12. Slagskimmer Mike

    Slagskimmer Mike thinks TBG smells better than roses

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    Interesting microwave fact I heard and might even be true:
    Microwaves are either at 100% or 0%, so 30% power really means that the magnetron is off 70% of the time setting.

    Not that this changes anything...:p
     
  13. Flipgun

    Flipgun Well-Known Member

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    'I was wondering what happened to that guy, did he get himself banned somehow?"
    @Will
    He was pretty OCD and he over-amped. I think Lady Lazerface made him quit.
    But I gotta say he could make some pretty sticks.
     
  14. Withak

    Withak aka Whitehawk!

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    Good to know :)
     
  15. Withak

    Withak aka Whitehawk!

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    So I took a few pics of the cut ends of my fig piece. It looks to me like this wood is solid down to the core. What do you all think? I gave it some pressure last night and it felt pretty darn solid - I think it would take more pressure than a set of bands would generate to break it, at least in my humble, face not yet damaged by a broken fork, opinion. :p

    Sorry for the picture quality, I used the iPhone instead of the regular camera.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Will

    Will Thread Hijacker

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    Oh yes, the guy was an incredible wood worker. Had all the personality of a glass of water though.
     
  17. Will

    Will Thread Hijacker

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    If its solid, and you are confident in it, go for it! That other posting about the fig could have been anything else. Could be a wood disease or a different species...
     
  18. tokSick

    tokSick Senior Member

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    Can' t help with the drying process as i never managed to dry a fork without getting some cracks in it :eek: I HATE CRACKS!!!:mad:
    But i have a small fig fork laying and it looks like it is strong enough to support at least one TBG per side. Probably two...
     
  19. Tysonspapa

    Tysonspapa New Member

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    Toksick, cut your forks longer than you need them. The cracks will appear in the parts you need to cut off.
     
  20. Brazilviking

    Brazilviking Thread Hijacker

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    That's how I do! Great tip for the noobs!