How do I dry wood in the microwave?

Discussion in 'General Slingshot Discussions' started by Miriu, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Miriu

    Miriu New Member

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    Hello

    I just cut off a beautiful piece of cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
    and now I would like to dry it fast in the microwave. Can someone tell me how its done?
    And does someone knows if this kind of wood is good for building a slingshot?

    Greets

    Miriu
     
  2. FilipNilssob

    FilipNilssob Lactose is my Kryptonite

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    I usually Put it in for 30sec rounds on medium heat until it gets hot and then do something else for a while until it gets completely cool, then I do it again! And weigh it after each time! When it almost stops dropping in weight and feels dry when you touch it, it's done. And if take of the bark like this, it will keep the cracks thin and shallow. ImageUploadedBySlingshot Forum1392496232.811780.jpg
    good luck! I have also heard it helps with cracks if you glue the ends with normal wood glue but slows down the drying process because a lot of water will come out of the ends.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014

  3. noah013

    noah013 Member

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    I seal out the ends with wood glue and put the fork in the micro wave for 30 sec sessions, medium-low heat. The wood glue won't melt during this, if the temperature is so low.
     
  4. Malleus

    Malleus Suspended User

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    Roughly how many 30 second blasts does it take?

    And roughly how long to cool down each time?
     
  5. Miriu

    Miriu New Member

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    Thank you very much for this quick answer.

    Good question Malleus!
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  6. noah013

    noah013 Member

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    It depends on how wet your wood is. Some forks need 3 sessions, other forks 5 or 6. You can feel the fork losing weight, some folks weight the forks before they start, and after every session they weight the fork again. If the fork stops losing weight, you know all the water is out.

    Also you can put the fork in a zip lock bag (microwave resistant), get the air out, close the bag and microwave. Because the water will vapor, the bag will get big (like it's full of air). When it stops doing this you know the water is out.


    I don't know the cooldown time exactly. Just wait a few minutes until the fork isn't hot anymore. I usually do a few sessions, and if the fork is too hot I stop for like 10 minutes or something.

    Hope this will help

    Greetings, Noah013
     
  7. FilipNilssob

    FilipNilssob Lactose is my Kryptonite

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    Well that depends on the wood, the thickness of the wood, when it was picked, where it was picked, how the wether has been lately and much more, so i cant anwser that.
     
  8. Malleus

    Malleus Suspended User

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    Thanks for the info noah013.

    That's far fewer sessions than I was expecting, and the cool down period is a lot less too. I have a couple of spare hours tomorrow, and there are some freshly pruned branches in the garden, so I might give it a go.
     
  9. buckshot500

    buckshot500 Hoonigan Jeeper

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    I have a large fork of sweetgum that was fairly fresh Maybe a week or two off the tree and out in the rain.

    I was still getting moisture from the ends after 14 or 15 one minute sessions spread out over three days. (cooling between sessions)

    I glued the ends on the second day. they started splitting a little after the 5th session. The moisture was passing through the heat bubbled glue each time.
     
  10. FilipNilssob

    FilipNilssob Lactose is my Kryptonite

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    3-6 sessions? You have to be kidding me! i've microwaved one atleast 15 times until it got dry, and 3 rounds? you must have had a thin fork picked in the winter or something....
     
  11. noah013

    noah013 Member

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    It was a very dry fork indeed. Found it dead, dried a week and then microwaved it 3 30-seconds sessions.
     
  12. Malleus

    Malleus Suspended User

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    Gave this a try today. I cut an oversized fork from a branch that had been pruned earlier this week and roughly removed the bark.
    I gave it about nine 30 second sessions in the microwave, cooling periods varied between a couple of minutes up to about fifteen minutes depending on how hot the fork was.

    The last few sessions produced no moisture which surprised me a bit. I guess it's dry but I don't know for sure. It sounds dry when I bang in on the counter and there is a little light scorching which looks pretty cool.

    That was a lot less work than I thought it would take.
     
  13. JoergS

    JoergS Administrator

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    Don't forget that microwave ovens heat from the inside out. So even when the frame is cool to the touch again it may still be very hot inside.

    So keep long breaks. Otherwise, at some point you hear a "crack" and smoke comes out of the wood... then you discover that it has turned to charcoal inside. Happened to me once.

    You don't have to let a fork dry completely. Wood is a living material and the wood will always trap some moisture. That isn't a problem at all. A bone dry fork is actually very brittle.

    Just dry it to the point where you can rasp and file it without smearing the tools shut. When there is no more steam coming out during the last few seconds of the microwaving, that is dry enough. Don't overdo it.

    Even a fairly fresh frame is dry enough after 3 or 4 sessions. I do one minute sessions at 600 Watts.
     
  14. Malleus

    Malleus Suspended User

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    Is it recommended to remove bark or leave it on for the microwave method ?

    I've seen a couple of nice naturals with some bark on that looked really good, I'm not sure if they were dried naturally or not.
     
  15. noah013

    noah013 Member

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    When the bark is still on the sling, the moisture won't get out easily. You can dry a fork with bark natural but that takes a lot of patience.
     
  16. JoergS

    JoergS Administrator

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    Remove the bark. I also recommend to remove as much wood as possible, even roughly saw out the shape of the frame. Put it in the microwave just before you would start the rasp work, when the saw and the knife rest.

    The less material, the quicker it dries, and the less likely it is that cracks occur.
     
  17. Malleus

    Malleus Suspended User

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    Thanks for the advice guys.