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Drying Green Wood
Using Denatured Alcohol and Paper Bags

Rough turned green wood.

Submerge the rough turned wood into denatured alcohol bath allowing it to soak for at least 12 hours for 1" thick wood.  Increase the time for thicker wood.

Remove the blank from the bath after the soak time and let it drip dry for 1 hour. Place the wood in a brown paper bag securing the paper with masking tape. Place the bowl upside down on open wire rack to dry.  The paper bag will create a micro climate allowing the wood to dry without doing so to rapidly and spliting.

Allow 14 to 21 days for the bowl to dry during the “evaporation cycle”. You can verify drying is complete in several ways.  The simples and most accurate is using a moisture meter or weighing to verify seasoning to EMC of 8-10%.  If you do not have one you can weigh the wood periodically when the wood stops dropping in weight it can be considered dry.  If you use this method I suggest you finish the process by placeing the wood near in a warm area for a few days to ensure complete drying.

It can now be turned to final thickness, profiled, sanded, and finished.

I use two containers of denatured alchol.  One for dark wood and one for light wood.  This helps keep the light woods color bright.

Useful Information for Paper Bag Drying


Before you load your bowls or platters into the bags, add the date and species if you know it for sure. Once you get lots of wood drying, you may forget how long a piece has been drying.

You can use anything to mark the bottom of the wood from a felt tip marker to a date stamper.  Avoid using pencil because the lead will fade and become unreadable.  Ballpoint pens should not be used because the often leave indentations.
Date stamping a green rough out bowl

Date stamping a roughed out bowl prior to paper bag drying.

Writing species on bowl bottom

When paper bag drying, always write the species on the bottom of the rough out prior to bagging.

It is also useful to write the date and species on the outside of the bag. This makes it easier to locate specific dates or species later, if necessary, without opening lots of bags.