The woods used can also be something to be careful of. Theoretically, almost any wood can be used to make something, but it may not be a suitable choice for the object. A good example is the wood chosen for food items. Chopping boards, mortar and pestles, goblets, cups, food bowls etc., should all be made from a wood that is safe. The traditional woods are beech and sycamore. Some woods, such as yew and laburnum, are actually poisonous and should never be used for this type of work. Fruit woods are generally pretty safe as well but can be prone to splitting if they are wet and then dry too often. If you aren’t sure of what the wood is, ask. If the turner doesn’t know, don’t take the risk.
Wood can be turned wet, with the sap still in it, or dry. Be aware that wood is a natural pr oduct and never actually dries totally. It will continually take on or lose moisture and will flex accordingly. Taking a piece of turned wood from a turners workshop and putting it on the shelf above your radiator almost guarantees that it will split as it dries out further. Any turner worth his salt will make sure that the wood has been acclimatised to his or her own home for a period before selling it on, but many hobbyists who sell their work don’t always think of this, and it can have disastrous consequences.