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For our wedding the fiance and I are looking to use some wood slices as table center pieces. We just cut some this past weekend, but my concern is that the bark stays on these slices until April 2015.

The wood is hemlock. The slices are typically about 2-1/4" to 3" thick; some even thicker. The diameters start at about 14" and range to about 20". I have about 30-40 slices, so about at least 10 feet of tree.

They were cut with a chainsaw from a live tree about 80-100 years old. Currently they are stacked in my basement at about 55% humidity.

I am assuming it's recommend to treat the wood with something so it doesn't crack. PEG? Pentacryl (Expensive!!!), Anchorseal 2?

So my questions are:

1.) What conditions should I shoot for to have these dry out without cracking, warping, having the bark want to separate, etc? Dry quickly? Slow dry? I read mold is a possibility too.

2.) Should I look into shellac or some kind of wood stabalyzer for these slices?

3.) I am interested in possibly planing the ones I can get through my planner. Will do a test with a crappy slice to see if the planner messes up the back. Do you think I should plane them right away? Wait until dry?

Thanks for any help you guys might suggest!
-Mike
 

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I did this for my wedding last fall (October). We had some fallen walnut trees, so I took a few chunks and sliced them up. They ranged in diameter from 10" to maybe 14". I went a little thinner in thickness, probably 1.5" at most.

The tree was fallen recently so not especially dry. In fact, my slices were rather 'wet' inside. But I thought they were thick enough that they weren't going to crack. And they didn't. I let them set for maybe 3 weeks or so before the wedding, and they still look okay a year later.

You had to be a little careful with handling or the bark would come off, but it wasn't too bad.

I wouldn't mess with a planer, I just don't see anything good coming from it. And I don't really think a sealer would work well enough to keep everything intact and not look weird.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I did this for my wedding last fall (October). We had some fallen walnut trees, so I took a few chunks and sliced them up. They ranged in diameter from 10" to maybe 14". I went a little thinner in thickness, probably 1.5" at most.

The tree was fallen recently so not especially dry. In fact, my slices were rather wet inside. But I thought they were thick enough that they weren t going to crack. And they didn t. I let them set for maybe 3 weeks or so before the wedding, and they still look okay a year later.

You had to be a little careful with handling or the bark would come off, but it wasn t too bad.

I wouldn t mess with a planer, I just don t see anything good coming from it. And I don t really think a sealer would work well enough to keep everything intact and not look weird.

- NickTheGreat
It's great to hear that your thinner slabs are looking good after a year. What conditions did you store them in? Dry/damp/hot/cold/garage/basement/etc?

I'm feeling somewhat comfortable about the bark not falling off since they're thicker cuts, but I'm also doing what to can to not handle them unless necessary.
 

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I did this for my wedding last fall (October). We had some fallen walnut trees, so I took a few chunks and sliced them up. They ranged in diameter from 10" to maybe 14". I went a little thinner in thickness, probably 1.5" at most.

The tree was fallen recently so not especially dry. In fact, my slices were rather wet inside. But I thought they were thick enough that they weren t going to crack. And they didn t. I let them set for maybe 3 weeks or so before the wedding, and they still look okay a year later.

You had to be a little careful with handling or the bark would come off, but it wasn t too bad.

I wouldn t mess with a planer, I just don t see anything good coming from it. And I don t really think a sealer would work well enough to keep everything intact and not look weird.

- NickTheGreat

It s great to hear that your thinner slabs are looking good after a year. What conditions did you store them in? Dry/damp/hot/cold/garage/basement/etc?

I m feeling somewhat comfortable about the bark not falling off since they re thicker cuts, but I m also doing what to can to not handle them unless necessary.

- tehinternet
They are in my basement. It stays a fairly consistent 65°, of course the humidity varies somewhat.
 

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I did this just the other day for my cousins wedding. It was a birch log sitting around my shop. I sliced them about 1.5" thick and then smoothed them with a belt sander. I left them a few days as they were wet, and then hit them with the ROS. They turned out great, didn't bother finishing them, but they've only been cut for three weeks so they might crack/lose bark in the future.
 
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