September 2010 Edition
Focus on Wood - Cedar of Lebanon
Cedar of Lebanon is becoming increasingly rare, especially in the Mediterranean countries where it occurs naturally. These trees are protected in their natural habitats, but are also planted as ornamentals throughout Europe and Southern regions of the United States. These trees were used in many constructions in the Bible's Old Testament, including the Great Temple of Solomon, as well as the palaces of kings Solomon and David. In fact, it was so important in these times that it is mentioned 76 times in the Bible. This wood has a wonderful aroma while being worked. The smell is sweet, but not overpowering as is the case with many other types of cedars.
True cedar, Lebanese cedar, atlas cedar, Solomon's cedar
Light reddish pink with distinct dark reddish-brown annual growth rings
35 lbs/ft3 (medium weight)
1060 lbft (moderately hard) - Similar to black walnut
Very easy to turn when green. Dried wood turns well, with a moderate tendency to tear out.
Has a low initial moisture content when green, requiring less time to dry than other species. Care must be taken not to expose the end grain to the air for long periods of time when rough turning. Fine checking along the end grain will occur if the wood is not rough turned (inside and out) immediately followed by drying preparations (placement in a paper bag, etc)
Sands quickly. Heavy grits (below 120) are not typically needed unless heavy tool marks remain in the wood. Can be sanded to a medium luster.
Since this wood contains natural oils, oil-based finishes should be avoided. Pretreating the surface of the wood with shellac or wiping thoroughly with denatured alcohol prior to finishing will help ensure proper adhesion of finishes.
There are no known toxicities associated with cedar of Lebanon.
Turning Tutorials - Retaining Color in Wood
Retaining Color in Wood
Most woods will eventually change color with the passing of time. Darker woods tend to lighten, and lighter woods usually darken. Some woods, such as rainbow poplar and osage orange will change from bright, vivid colors to much less intense shades of brown. Here's a list of ways to improve color in your turnings and help the beauty of your projects stand the test of time.
Fast Turnaround Time -
Some woods, such as maple, beech, and birch are prone to oxidation and staining if left sealed in paraffin wax while green for several months. Turning these woods as soon as possible will help to ensure lighter, brighter colors in your finished project. This becomes especially important with ambrosia maple, where a bright white wood provides better contrast against the darker ambrosia lines.
Use Hard Finishes -
While many turners prefer to use oil finishes for their ease of application, non-surface building oils such as mineral oil and linseed oil only provide temporary protection for wood. These oils work best when followed by an application of carnauba wax, which provides a hard, durable surface (as opposed to beeswax or furniture wax, which is much softer). If tung oil or Danish oils are used, it is best that several applications are done to provide a suitable finish. Using shellac, lacquer, polyurethane, or any other hard finish will provide the best color retention for your turnings. These finishes help protect the wood against oxidation, and is absolutely the best choice for woods such as rainbow poplar and osage orange, which eventually tend to lose their naturally amazing colors.
UV Protection -
While there are many finishes and stains out there which are available to minimize the effects of ultraviolet light, a simple and effective solution is a light application of sunscreen! Use only a small amount, applied with a paper towel, before the finishing process begins. This is especially important to remember if your turnings will be used outdoors or near large windows indoors where they will receive a heavy dose of daily sunlight.
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- Business updates
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