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Main Boards => The Bowyer's Bench => Topic started by: skeaterbait on March 16, 2019, 08:27:00 AM

Title: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: skeaterbait on March 16, 2019, 08:27:00 AM
Question for the exotic wood compendium. Most hardwood suppliers have 2x2 blocks of select woods, many of those blocks will be coated with wax. How does that wax affect riser builds?

I have a block that after I cleaned the wax (as best I could) and let it sit I noticed checking. So I cut the block to remove the checking and found it to be quite wet inside. So I put the hot box for few hours which appears to have dried it but now the wax that could not be removed, without just cutting it away, has leached in to the wood even more.

Is this going to compromise using this wood in a bow? My brain tells me there is no way it could not, but my brain don't get out much.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: Crooked Stic on March 16, 2019, 08:56:53 AM
What I have done is scrape the blocks with a card scaper until you are getting wood no wax to come up. Then it needs to set for awhile and it will prolly check some to. I think 6% MC is about what you want.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: Flem on March 16, 2019, 10:25:35 AM
Don't wood turners take those blocks and spin them into skinny little things?
Wax is a bugger to get rid of. Nothing really dissolves it. I wonder if you could put something extremely absorbent like cotton or filter paper on it and a hot iron on top to draw it out.
You could mix up some quick set epoxy and smear it on to see it if sticks and grind it off later.
Or just keep cutting.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: Shredd on March 16, 2019, 10:32:18 AM
  I am not familiar with wax over the whole piece of wood, only on the ends...  Is that common practice??  If not I suggest you find another supplier...  Wax is such a bad contaminate for gluing and dealing with that much on a piece of wood you are gonna have to be super careful... Seems to me like a pain in the a$$...  You gotta be careful with those checks...  You think that you cut deep enough and you can't see any splits but they still can be there...  When in doubt put the side with the checks on the backside of the riser so that they are not exposed and will be covered up and hope that none are near the edge...

   That wood should not be wet...  Drying for a few hours may not have removed the moisture from the inside of the wood unless you baked the crap out of it...   Drying wood too fast is not good either...
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: Mike L. on March 16, 2019, 08:11:08 PM
Wax over the whole thing indicates a turning blank that hasn’t been kiln dried.  I put it in a vise and use a cabinet scraper to remove the wax from the sides, leave the wax on the end.  I put mine in a small heat box that runs about 130 with a dehumidifier and 2 computer circulation fans.  Usually it will only take a few days for a significant drop in moisture content.  I’ve heard that some woods, like B and W ebony don’t hold up well, but I’ve never had any problem drying anything that way.  I know that’s a fairly low temp for drying but with the fans and dehumidifier it works for me.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: Mike L. on March 16, 2019, 08:12:09 PM
I don’t know about all the sites, but most of them will have a field in the detail that says whether the wood has been dried or not.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: skeaterbait on March 16, 2019, 08:47:36 PM
Thanks for all the input, I will likely bypass those in the future.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: Mike L. on March 17, 2019, 12:38:21 AM
I really haven’t had any issues with them.  Did you say you heated it up with the wax on?  I imagine that’s where you’re running into difficulty.  But I guess even scraping it first, I’ve never run into a piece that was noticeably wet.  I think it’s supposed to be at least somewhat dry before it’s waxed...

Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: skeaterbait on March 17, 2019, 04:04:15 AM
I had scraped them with a utility knife blade until it seemed I wasn't scraping wax any longer. I knew there was still some residual wax but I sure didn't think it would be enough to soak in to the wood further.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: T Folts on March 17, 2019, 08:36:59 AM
I try to stay away from wood with wax on it.
It is a indicator that it is  not dry. When I buy wood I want it dry and ready to go. I stick with suppliers that can tell me if the wood is dry. I dewaxed a block once and tried to speed up the dryi g process and it check real bad. What a pain and for me not worth the effort.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: Holm-Made on March 17, 2019, 11:09:35 PM
The suppliers dip green blocks in wax so it doesn’t check while sitting on their shelves.  Wood turners use them and it works ok cause they seal the wood immediately after working with it.  The finish allows it to dry slowly and not check.   
You really want to avoid these blocks as it takes a year or two for two inch wood to air dry after you remove the wax. 
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: mtblucas on March 20, 2019, 12:06:17 AM
I’ve built 3 bows made with waxed wood-turner blank risers. I haven’t had problems with any of them. The wax is put on wood that is wet to allow a very slow drying process to prevent checking. So, it does need to sit for a while before use. Personally, I let the wood sit in the garage for roughly 6 months before doing anything with it. I live in a dry climate, humid areas may require longer.

My first step when building a riser is to scrape as much wax off as possible. Then I use spray adhesive to secure a piece of 60 grit sand paper to a flat surface (I use plate glass.) I’ll run the riser over the paper to remove the wax. Initially, ever few passes will result in wax caked on the sand paper. I use a stiff steel brush to remove it then continue with more passes. Eventually the wax will stop gumming up the paper which tells me it’s removed. I let it sit for another month or so to let it dry just in case there is remaining moisture. If there was still moisture in the wood it will warp and check during this time. If it still looks good I start with the shaping, starting with a few more passes on the sand paper just to be safe.

This has worked fine for me. I’ve made 2 hill style bows with a flat riser, the entire back side of which was covered in wax prior to glue up, and they are solid and have lots of shots through them.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: Roy from Pa on March 20, 2019, 04:25:56 AM
How can the block of wood dry if it's sealed in wax?
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: Mike L. on March 20, 2019, 04:42:32 AM
I don’t think it does dry when the whole thing is sealed in wax.  The way I understand it, and I could be wrong (like I even need to qualify that), is that most of the wood has the ends waxed when it’s in stock.  When they go to ship a piece that hasn’t been kiln dried, even if it’s been air drying for a long time, they coat the sides in wax as well.  I’m guessing because in changing the surroundings, you’re introducing the possibility of Changes in the moisture content.  I got all into this when I started making chess boards, because it sucks to make one and have half the pieces shrink after you glue everything up.  I got a moisture reader and made a heat/dehumidifier drying box.  Most of the wood is fairly dry when I get the wax off anyway.  Maybe needs to drop a few percent.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: Mark R on March 20, 2019, 01:28:22 PM
I also used waxed blocks of exotic wood for a couple risers with no problems, obviously just scrape wax off and cut off where surfaces get glued. As far as how dry they were I could not tell you but they must have been dry enough, been shooting them for over 2-3 years now, they looked very stabile before I used them and they did sit around awhile before use, now that I'm aware next time I'll check dryness just to be sure, dumb luck must have been on my side those times. :biglaugh:
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: jess stuart on March 24, 2019, 04:02:47 PM
I once used snake wood in a riser that was sealed in wax.  I weighed it and when it stopped losing weight I scraped the wax off one side.  Waited until the weight stabilized and repeated.  Took several months but worked out fine.  I have since bought a moisture meter.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: BigJim on April 03, 2019, 08:24:04 AM
Moisture content evaluation can be tricky and moisture meters can only give you an educated guess... if they are adjustable for specific density and you know how to use them.

Wood can dry through the wax and also through finish, but it is very very slow. Wood does not glue well when above 10% and except in certain arid parts of the country, it can be difficult to get it down below 8%.... it is not necessary to have it below 8% and 10% works.

Chances are, that if a block is covered in wax, it is a year or more from being ready to use after removing the wax.
I run waxed wood across a jointer to clear all the wax or planer depending.

Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: skeaterbait on April 03, 2019, 08:33:43 AM
Thank you Jim.
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: Tim Finley on April 05, 2019, 11:23:04 AM
When I buy ebony it is always covered in wax and wet.  I scrape as much off as I can with a sharp knife then I plane it to get to the bare wood . Then into the heat box and I watch it close for the first couple of days and super glue all the surface checks. After about a week they stop but I still dry them more in the heat box . After that I still may not use the wood for a couple of months of drying at room temperature in the shop .
Title: Re: 2x2 "riser" blocks
Post by: JamesV on April 10, 2019, 10:42:04 AM
As an experiment I removed the wax from a turning block and put it in the freezer. The next day it was covered in frost, removed the frost and let it come to room temp and it was standing in a puddle of water. I dried it off and repeated for a week or so, then to the drying box at 100 degrees with a circulating fan for a few days. Too much sugar for a nickle but it worked.