Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Drying or removal of water from turning blanks

  1. Jul 8, 2015 #1
    Hi there,

    I have read an article where osmosis/reverse osmosis could be used to effectively remove water within a piece of wood. What the author has done is submerging a piece of wood under a thick, liquid dishwashing soap. The said soap pulls the water out of the wood which makes it dry.

    Hopefully someone could help, either debunking this or saying it is possible or true.

    Thank you!

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 8, 2015 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Unless its formulation is completely water free (highly doubtful) there is no way it can work.
  4. Jul 8, 2015 #3
    Hi sir,

    Thanks for your input.

    I also have that doubt in my mind. Since liquid soap must have water, it may not work.

    But the question that lingers in my head is, since the consistency of liquid soap is thicker compared to water, wouldn't that be a key factor in pulling out the water within the wood?

    What about submerging it in oil, cooking oil, will it work?

    Sir, thanks again for your input. Sorry for another set of questions. I am just trying to figure this out.

    Thanks again.
  5. Jul 8, 2015 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Yeah, you might get rid of the water, but how do you get rid of the soap, or the cooking oil, or the ... ?

    If you want to get rid of the water from a piece of wood, why not put it in a drying oven or similar device, on low heat? Or a big tub filled with dessicants? These seem to be more practical (and less messy).
  6. Jul 8, 2015 #5
    Hey steamking, thanks for the reply.

    The liquid soap could be removed since the wood will be turned in a lathe. It will be submerged in its final shape ir form.

    This also goes for oil. The wood will have an oil finish as a bonus, grains will be shown.

    Kiln dryers or ovens are expensive, i am only a hobbyist, dont have the funds for that. Dont want to use the house oven for exotic woods.

    For the dissecants, thanks for the idea. Those are the silican gels, right? So i will just place them in a container and cover with dissecants? Please advise. Nice idea.


  7. Jul 8, 2015 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Yeah, silica gel is a dessicant. If you get the silica gel in raw form, the moisture it absorbs can be driven off by heating the gel, and the gel re-used I believe. At least the lab-grade stuff can be.

    These re-usable SG crystals can be purchased from Walmart or other similar retailer:


    I'm a little confused, though. If your hobby is wood craft, don't you use wood that's already been seasoned and dried? Or do you chop your own timber?
    I would think that trying to work wet wood would be harder than working dried wood.
  8. Jul 8, 2015 #7
    Sir, thanks again. The link is very helpfull. I forgot about those flower drying crystals.

    Yes, i am into the wood working hobby among others (i am also into reef aquarium, hhehhe). Common wood blanks or lumbers are mostly dry, ranging from 7 to 8% moisture. Exotic woods usually comes covered with wax because the of high moisture content, roughly 20 to 30% Every now and then, i use exotic woods for turning.
    Aside from exotics, i am also using burls, maple or other north american species. They also have high moisture content when being sold.

    I am just trying to figure out any relatively easy and inexpensive options in removing moisture. Any positive outcome or info that i will get from this query will definitely be shared in the wood turning community.

    Thanks again for sharing.

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook