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I recently had several beech trees cut down from my mountain house and I have a couple of fairly straight peices that I just want to cut down and make pen blanks from what do I have to do to make this stuff stable enough to work with. I know there is enough of wealth of information out here to give me a direction to start with.

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Hi ray how you doing? Best advice I can give you is cut the blanks into 3x3" blocks and that way should dry out quicker ,but you cannot beat a long time on the shelf to dry out timber with a nice airflow .

I've cut them down to blank size immediately. They'll dry in no time and let's face it, most of the blank is waste anyway. :)

Hi hugh will the blanks not twist and bend cutting them to the right size immediately when they dry out ?I have experienced just that with some oak ,go steady mick.

Mick, I'm pretty sure they will. My point is that the majority of the time the twisted and bent blank will still be suitable to make a pen. I've made pens from antlers, which are far from straight.

I take your point hugh ,how easy is antler to work with? Hard to get over here in the u.k.

thanks for your input guy's and I think I will do a little of what you both suggested, I really want a pen from my mountain houses lumber but I also want a blank that I can make a candlestick holder from. What would happen if I put the rough sawn lumber in an oven to dry out. I would tell my wife about itt afterwards of course.

Mick, antler has to be turned very slowly. It is essentially hair, so you can imagine the smell if you let it get hot. Drilling is challenging, as well. I don't really care to work with it, but since I have a LOT of deer-hunting friends...

Ray, I would think you can't set the oven temp. low enough to prevent splitting.

I can imagine the smell hugh ,antler sounds challenging .

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