Is there any reason why the denatured alcohol method used by turners to dry green blanks wouldn't work for green mesquite knife handle blanks? I cut some today from scrap given to me by my local sawmill, and I wanted to skip the kiln if possible.
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
DNA (denatured alcohol) will work on any wood that has reasonable porosity so the alcohol can get into the wood.
Think of denatured alcohol suitable woods this way: on one end of the spectrum you have Lignum vitae, which is so dense it will not even float. Denatured alcohol is not going to penetrate that stuff even slightly. At the other end you have woods like pine or juniper. It goes through those species like sand through a sieve.
If you want to do a crude test, cut a 4" end grain cookie of the species you are interested in drying, and pour some denatured alcohol on top of the cookie. If you do this with hard maple for example, it will take a long time to soak through, if it does at all (I have never tried it on HM). But if you do this with a soft (and more porous) maple like boxelder, it goes through the cookie in minutes.
One of the reasons you see so many end grain butcher blocks and cutting boards made with hard maple is because it is so dense... It resists hosting bacteria because there are no large pockets to contain it. I've seen many built with oak, but I would never do that. Oak has large pores and would hold bacteria an order of magnitude better than hard maple; however this undesirable characteristic for cutting boards makes oak well suited to drying with denatured alcohol.
But not everything is black and white. If you pour a cup of denatured alcohol on top of a mesquite end grain cookie, you could very likely see it coming out the bottom rather quickly. That's because mesquite tends to have a lot of ring separation due to wind shake, and probably other reasons I don't understand, but the point is the denatured alcohol can drop through the spaces between clusters of rings, but it won't penetrate the cells in the fibers, and thus it won't dry the wood.