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Sealing, drying, resawing logs - newbie stuff

6126 Views 13 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  EPJartisan
I have some smallish logs - about 2 feet long and ranging from 3 to 7 inches thick. All with bark on. I have sealed the ends and plan on letting some of them dry like that (for turning) and resawing others and sticker them as boards. The resawing part will come later this year once I have devised a suitable bandsaw jig. I already have a resawing blade.

My question is on the end sealing. I have used some "pruning sealant" as that is what I had on hand on the first day that I was handed green logs. (I have since tried acrylic paint on some of them, but they cracked almost immediately). It's pretty tarry when it first goes on. I'm wondering if this sealant, once fully dry, will cause any buildup or other problems on my bandsaw blade when it comes time to resaw the logs. Is it better to trim the ends off before resawing, or will it not make a difference? And what SHOULD I be using to seal log ends, and where do I get it?
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my use of sealents has never worked. Small branches do fine left alone because they dry from side. Larger logs where length to diameter ratio is high. Large end grain surface low side surface the drying is out the end and it checks, splits log, whatever you want to call it. Drying out side of small branches waste 2 or 3 inches from end. we can Go to the woods and and find that out.
Elizabeth, the pro's use a product called "Anchorseal Classic" that is available from U.S. Coatings. Bailey's also sells a product called "Bailey's End Sealer" that is available from

These are a wax based end sealer manufactured for this purpose.

Stay away from Anchorseal II, it has a lot of negative reports from bowl tuners.
What do you guys use to apply the anchorseal, just a regular brush? How difficult is it to clean up the brush afterward, or do I need to plan on using disposables? The pruning sealant has a brush in the lid which has been really convenient.
Nevermind, I found a site which sells small cans with brushes in the lids; will decant some of the sealant into that for use.
Elizabeth, I've used a brush, a roller, and now use a sprayer (however I'm doing large logs). For small work, either a standard paint brush or a roller works fine. Bigger is better….
Hi Elizabeth, I get old foundry wax, melt it and paint it on the ends… I have close to perfect results, very little checking and splits, no effect on my tools or workability after and does not damage the wood in any manner. Of course for logs that are rather straight.. and if i know I can going to chop them,.. I run them once lengthwise on the table saw to make sure I control the shrinkage and movement. What kind of wood? The ratio of sap wood to heartwood can make a difference to if you should take the bark off first, run a split, or cover completely with wax (some the bark) If there is rot in the middle remove the bark with the rot and seal the ends. I collect logs and branches all the time.
I'm still struggling with the "remove the bark" part, especially on rough or thick-barked pieces. I don't have a drawknife yet, and I have heard that's what most people use.

The green logs I've got at the moment are maple, Oregon ash, and some thinner white birch and Japanese maple from my neighbour - those two are probably 3 inches thick rather than the 5-7 inches of the maple and ash. The thinner ones I will probably make into small turnings, but the larger ones I would ultimately like to resaw on the bandsaw, once I make a safe jig for doing that. All the pieces are less than 3 feet long, most in the 18-24 inch range probably.
I just picked up logs of Elm and Poplar I am going to dry for carving. Most are 12-18"lgt x 16"dia, but I have two 30" of elm of the same width and a crotch .. all green so I won't be abel to use them for a year or so.

Maple is the easiest and I'd leave the bark on but seal the ends.. if you remove the bark you can get honeycomb checking inside the heart wood and the sap wood will crack on the exterior anyplace there is a flaw.

Ash is closest to the Elm I have, the cell structure is more open and so you MUST seal the ends of these, but the good thing it they crack pretty much along one fault and almost no honeycomb inside. I have had good results with bark off and on.

Birch is really soft, just like the poplar I have… and will split in short and thin logs, I have actually split my poplar to control the movements.. Japanese maples are rather dense, like most shrubbery, and should have the bark taken off or it will glue on and be a PITA, but also looks great if kept on as a rough edge.
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If I am planning on turning the japanese maple should I still take the bark off now, or will I be able to turn it off without damaging anything (tools or otherwise)?

And if I should take the bark off, should I then use some wood sealant on the exposed sides?
Hmmm.. let put it this way…. I've turned wood stock and used the lathe in ways that would make some people faint in terror. I have decided that I should no longer teach newbies..LOL. My philosophy is art is fearless, but I have never damaged myself or any tool by turning a piece with bark still on it. I have had to sharpen my tools often, but that is alway the case, so who cares. Still.. I approach every piece of wood like it is a creature to be studied and can bite me at a moment of distraction. I turn a lot of wands, which are just longer pens really. OH I bit of advice I learned the hard way… when turning found wood and logs, use a metal detector!!!
A simple thing to consider. Wood dries from the exposed areas and then inwards. soft/light woods will dry fast dense wood will dry slowly. Sealing is all about stopping uneven drying … which causes one area to shrink faster and then crack. All wood dries faster through the cross cuts because that is where water and nutrients flow up and down the tree. All trees have grain between early and late woods causing tension and compression while drying so if the outside layers dry faster they will split. Leaving bark on dries out the sides slowly for the grain, sealing the ends only prohibits moisture from leaving the ends. if you seal the whole thing.. there will be no loss of moisture. PS I am not very knowledgeable about stock lumber drying and not really sure what kiln does.

All this says : the slower you let it dry the less cracks and checking,
but also the more tension and compression and movement you will have after. I had a disc of Ash that was perfect after a year of drying.. I dropped it only slightly and there was a "bang" and it split in half like a spring.
Wood is alive and you must deal with it like it is alive.. not a dead material. Hope that helps some.
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I have a variety of homemade and makeshift tools for bark removal. My favorite is to take really old chisels and round the tips, sharpen them slightly. break open a bottle of wine, and go to town with a mallet for a few zen hours.
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