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Mar 3, 2024 - 3:38:32 PM
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125 posts since 3/3/2008

So...  I read an article on roasting maple at home and saw this guy's video and decided to try it myself.  The first batch was in my kitchen oven and went pretty well but had the side effect of making the house smoky and smelling like toasted maple syrup for a week.  I decided that I wanted to do more of it and tried with a small convection "toaster" oven that I had for other workshop use.  It did not go well.  The small oven wasn't able to maintain a constant temperature and burned the wood on the outside and ended up just being a big mess.  I tried again in the kitchen oven with a much larger batch and found that it still worked really well but the wife and I can't live with the smoke/fumes in the house so I got a second hand convection oven that I have just finished installing on my deck in the back yard.  There was an existing connection for a hot tub that we no longer have so there was no addition house wiring needed.

I've got my first batch in the outdoor oven loaded up now and will post more photos of the results.

I figured out that it takes about 3-4 hours total if you just stick the oven on 360 convection and let it go but the results are MUCH more even if it is heated to 250 or so for 2 hours to completely dry the wood then raise the temperature to 360 for the roasting part.

The oven is 24in x 18in inside which means that I can get about 27" diagonally in it which is enough for a banjo neck :)

Here are some photos of the trials and results.  The roasted piece and non roasted piece in the photo are from the same board.






 

Edited by - euler357 on 03/03/2024 15:41:14

Mar 3, 2024 - 3:46:59 PM

1380 posts since 1/26/2011

Your wife must be a real keeper. Mine is very tolerant and might have let me take one run at it in the kitchen, but would have stopped the second.

Are you trying this for bridges or whole banjos?

Mar 3, 2024 - 3:56:08 PM

125 posts since 3/3/2008

I'm trying to both build bridges and build banjos from it.  The ~27" length is enough for a neck which is what I have in the oven now.  I'll do a block rim with the smaller pieces.

Here are some photos of the before and after with maple and walnut.  The maple really turns dark due to the sugar in it but the walnut gets much darker also.

Yeah, my wife (Lee) is pretty tolerant of my activities (like installing a stove in the backyard).




Edited by - euler357 on 03/03/2024 16:00:49

Mar 3, 2024 - 4:16:19 PM

15646 posts since 10/30/2008

I thought in the torrefication process it was done with no oxygen in the chamber?

Mar 3, 2024 - 4:27:05 PM

125 posts since 3/3/2008

Yup.  Me too on thinking this but I've seen several examples online and this is now working for me pretty well in a full-size convection oven.  My guess is that either the fumes/smoke are from some amount of combustion in the oven that reduces the oxygen, maybe it oxidizes only the outer skin of the wood, or maybe it only becomes a big issue when doing a large quantity.  I haven't done extensive testing on it but I can't tell the roasted maple that I've done vs that which I bought.

Mar 3, 2024 - 4:48:59 PM
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4815 posts since 10/13/2005

Ummm! Roasted banjo! Don't forget the Worcestershire sauce. A little extra garlic wouldn't hurt a bit either. I admire your, uh, culinary enthusiasm! banjered

Mar 3, 2024 - 4:57:15 PM

Alex Z

USA

5769 posts since 12/7/2006

"Roasted" and "baked" are casual terms attached to the torrefaction process.  Might not take those terms literally. smiley

A good place to look for information is in the guitar area, where torrefied wood has been used for guitar tops for the last 10-15 years or so.  Here is some information from Dana Bourgeois:  https://acousticguitar.com/guitar-guru-what-can-torrefaction-do-for-your-instrument/

Here is more information from Gryphon Strings:  https://www.gryphonstrings.com/blogs/news/what-is-a-torrefied-guitar-top

My understanding is that the reduction of oxygen in the torrefication process is necessary because of the higher temperatures required, that would otherwise cause the wood to catch fire.

I suppose someone could use a "Memphis BBQ" process, at 225 degrees for 18 hours.  smiley   That may work nice for a pork roast, but what will it do for the resins and lignins in the wood?

Mar 3, 2024 - 4:57:24 PM

Bill H

USA

2285 posts since 11/7/2010

What is the moisture content when you are done, and will it come back up to 8 or ten percent over time? Or does this process change the wood so it won't absorb moisture.

Mar 3, 2024 - 5:01:24 PM

Alex Z

USA

5769 posts since 12/7/2006

Torrefaction and kiln-drying are different processes.    I don't believe that elimination of moisture is the objective of torrefaction, although that might happen during the process.

Dana Bourgeois has written a lot on torrefying wood for guitar building.

Edited by - Alex Z on 03/03/2024 17:05:23

Mar 3, 2024 - 5:06:05 PM

314 posts since 5/27/2008

Have you cut a piece to see if the roasting is even all the way through?

Mar 3, 2024 - 5:10:35 PM

125 posts since 3/3/2008

My understanding is that it gets really low and the moisture exits the cells of the wood.  Supposedly, the cell walls keep the moisture from going back into the cells but some moisture is reabsorbed over days to weeks to stabilize to the environment. 

 

I just ran out to the shop and tested some Maple with my Bessemeyer DS500.

Before oven: 10% (air dried wood over 2 years old and 6 months in my shop)

Piece done yesterday: 0.0% (maybe below measurement limit of meter)

Piece done two weeks ago: 6.5%

Mar 3, 2024 - 5:13:33 PM

125 posts since 3/3/2008

This piece was bandsawed from the middle of a 1x4 after roasting with the internal side up.

It is surprisingly even all of the way through.


 

Mar 4, 2024 - 6:44:59 AM
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lapsteel

Canada

972 posts since 8/13/2015

Harmony banjos used to be made from this. It was called Bakelite.

Mar 4, 2024 - 7:54:14 AM

125 posts since 3/3/2008

Bakelite was a resin/synthetic plastic material. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite

I believe that intentional torrefaction for instruments has only become a thing in the past 10-15 years

Mar 4, 2024 - 8:01:49 AM

463 posts since 7/24/2021

Hey, Chris. This is all very interesting to me . Best of luck and keep us updated. Thanks

Mar 4, 2024 - 8:06:19 AM

5407 posts since 11/20/2004

2 hours at 250° and how long at 360° ?

Mar 4, 2024 - 8:12:42 AM

125 posts since 3/3/2008

I'm still working out the time for the 360 temp.  It's between 2 and 4 hours and seems to be pretty sensitive to the exact temperature and how much wood is in the oven.  With a single piece of wood and good convection / air flow around it - it's probably around 2 hours.  If it starts scorching, turn down the oven 10 degrees.  My new oven is running about 10 degrees hotter than my kitchen oven - this is not unusual.  I got this to take measurements in the oven.

Mar 4, 2024 - 10:37:10 AM

5407 posts since 11/20/2004

Thanks, Chris. I would like to make few bridges out of some and try it.

Mar 4, 2024 - 6:10:05 PM

125 posts since 3/3/2008

I tried a smaller batch today with Qty 4 1x3x27 neck blanks and Qty 4 1x6x14 pieces.  It went faster with the following:

15 min warm up at 300

30 min at 300

flip wood

30 min at 300

45 min at 345

flip wood

45 min at 345

Done

Here is the temp chart from the wireless thermometer.  The dips are when I opened the oven to flip the wood over.


 

Mar 4, 2024 - 7:32:32 PM

2515 posts since 2/7/2008

Cool stuff.

I wonder what would happen if the wood was put on an airtight vessel (like a piece of steel pipe) then a vacuum drawn until the pipe was devoid of air, then put in the oven.

Mar 5, 2024 - 3:53:58 AM

125 posts since 3/3/2008

It wouldn't get hot if it's in a vacuum since the heating method is convection.  It would be like putting it in a thermos.

Mar 7, 2024 - 5:26:59 AM

112 posts since 7/15/2008

Many camp sites require heat treated wood so invasive insects won't be brought in..
It was hard to find when I wanted some, so I loaded up my smoker. The government requires 135 degrees for 20 minutes, I think. I run the smoker up to about 250 and keep the wood in for about 30 minutes. Comes out a toasty brown. Definitely reduced oxygen in that chamber. Doesn't have the Gov stamp, but I have a clear conscience and I have plenty of wood to burn, 80 acres of Tennessee woods.

Mar 7, 2024 - 7:22:10 AM

220 posts since 7/2/2012

My wife came home early from Black Friday shopping once 30 years ago to find a smoky kitchen, and Alfa Romeo cylinder head in the oven, and a bunch of valve guides in the freezer.

This has been a very interesting discussion. I would also be interested in any long term issues or results.

Mar 7, 2024 - 9:17:06 AM

PitMan

USA

10 posts since 6/28/2019

quote:
Originally posted by euler357

Yeah, my wife (Lee) is pretty tolerant of my activities (like installing a stove in the backyard).


Is the oven under some kind of overhang structure to keep it out of the weather?

Mar 7, 2024 - 10:07:41 AM

125 posts since 3/3/2008

It isn't completely under the roof but I have it sitting on concrete blocks and put a BBQ grill cover over it when not in use

Mar 7, 2024 - 1:43:43 PM

4762 posts since 9/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Shmockiebaby

My wife came home early from Black Friday shopping once 30 years ago to find a smoky kitchen, and Alfa Romeo cylinder head in the oven, and a bunch of valve guides in the freezer.

This has been a very interesting discussion. I would also be interested in any long term issues or results.


Sorry that this is off topic, but you started It!

About 30 years ago, my first wife left me for a younger man. I was rebuilding a quadrajet carburetor and need something to boil it out with. So, since I wasn't using it, I used a large cook pot on top of the stove. She still had a key to the house and  would come by while I was at work to get something she needed or wanted. Sometimes I didn't know something was gone until I went to get it, and that WOULD tick me off! I came home one day and she had been by and got some cookware to cook for her new feller, and this time she left a note. I went and looked in the cabinet and she had taken that pot!  I had a GOOD laugh! The next week I went by her work to drop off some of her mail, and told her, "By the way... you might want to know that, the cook pot that you got last week, I boiled a carburetor out in it!" The look on her face was PRICELESS!

Edited by - BNJOMAKR on 03/07/2024 13:44:25

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