How do I preserve a large tree/branch?

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Forum topic by MaddiBird posted 02-28-2017 03:44 PM 3730 views 1 time favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 905 days

02-28-2017 03:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: preservation tree branch lacquer aspen birch question help finishing cabin woodland clear coat spray on diy preserve maintain seal sealant clear clear paint natural wood natural look natural wood


I found this idea online and I’m trying to replicate it in my entryway. However, instead of painting them, I would like to keep the natural appearance of the trees/branches (I plan on using birch or aspen). Can anyone tell me if there’s something I can coat the branches with (ideally a spray-on application) that will keep them in good condition and prevent them from decaying or littering dead material all over the floor?
My initial assumption was lacquer, but I’m concerned that it won’t be strong enough.

Also, I am open to suggestions re: using a different type of tree/branch.


3 replies so far

View JCamp's profile


996 posts in 1002 days

#1 posted 02-28-2017 07:25 PM

I think the biggest problem that you’ll face is that when it dries out from age that the wood will shrink and the bark will come lose from the tree section. If you were to use it as decoration you could probably get by with it but from ur pictures it appears that you want it to hang stuff on. The main section would possibly not debark over time but the wear An tear on the short branches will very likely cause them to debarked. The ones in ur pictures were likely debarked prior to them being painted. If you would still want to chance them with the bark I’d suggest a thick poly of some kind and then just glue the bark pieces back when/if they fall off. Either way it’s pretty much a “stick” so u won’t have much money invested if u try it a year or two An either don’t lik it or need to replace it with a new one

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4164 days

#2 posted 02-28-2017 08:31 PM

I know some museums use polyethylene glycol (PEG) to stabilize recovered wooden ships, it is a product you may want to explore.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Elksniffer's profile


102 posts in 3849 days

#3 posted 02-28-2017 09:33 PM

I think if you harvested either of the two species of trees mentioned now, while they are in dormancy, you should not have any problem with the bark remaining intact. Both are good choices , maybe aspen has slightly better bark characteristics. My suggestion would be to cut what you think you would need, let them dry in a shop or garage slowly for a few months. They are going to have a fair amount of moisture in them. If they dry to quickly you may get some larger cracks than if they dry slower.

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