How to prevent this log from cracking?

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Forum topic by Dick posted 05-03-2013 05:21 PM 1621 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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156 posts in 3199 days

05-03-2013 05:21 PM

I’m in the process of cleaning out my garage. I kind of forgot about this log I had sitting back there from a tree (hackberry I think) I cut down about a year ago. The ends were cracked pretty badly. So, I was thinking I would just cut it up for firewood. To my surprise, it looked pretty good in the middle. Moisture content is about 30% in the center and 19% towards the bark. The pieces are about 4 inches thick. I would like to make these into small table tops with the live edge.

Can anyone give me any advice on what to do with these now? From what I understand, they need to dry more to be workable. What do I need to do prevent cracking? I don’t have the facility to kiln dry. I’ve heard of some people using latex paint on the ends. But, I’m afraid this may be absorbed to deeply into the grain and visible in the end product. Perhaps it is dry enough it won’t crack further? This is my first experience with this….so, any advice is greatly appreciated.


-- Dick

7 replies so far

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3990 days

#1 posted 05-03-2013 06:09 PM

coat the cut sides with paraffin wax?

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Dick's profile


156 posts in 3199 days

#2 posted 05-03-2013 07:15 PM

That makes sense. I’ve bought turning blanks with wax on them. That’s a lot of candles to burn :) I’ll have to check out some places to get wax. Thanks for the reply!

-- Dick

View Loren's profile


11010 posts in 4655 days

#3 posted 05-03-2013 07:50 PM

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3968 days

#4 posted 05-03-2013 08:17 PM

“So, I was thinking I would just cut it up for firewood.”
No! Even if you cut it into smaller pieces, it can be used. There is a coating called Anchorseal that is paraffin based. It can be pricey. I have a friend who does a lot of turning and buys it in 55 gallon drums. Or… can use cheap latex paint to seal the ends. We have a pawn shop here in town that has gallons of paint for sale.

View Wildwood's profile


2943 posts in 3141 days

#5 posted 05-03-2013 09:15 PM

All you ever want to do with wet wood is end seal, but you may already be too late. Normally if do not end seal within two or three days forget it. You can find caning wax at many grocery stores, in my area Gulf Wax only brand and priced reasonable.

Anchor Seal & Green Wood Sealer simply wax emulsion products that also work well end sealing wet wood. Again, normally want to end seal within two or three days.

Moisture leaves wood through evaporation, if completely seal wood in wax, or wax emulsion sealers moisture cannot get out. I know of people that swear by using wax emulsion products completely sealing rough turned bowl blanks. Six months to year later still dealing with wet wood, moisture could not escape.

There is a big learning curve using PEG and not good for all wood species. You have spalted wood with different MC’s so save your money. Read the PDF file provided at link. U.S. forest service has better info on PEG 2,000.

Bottom line would just sticker pieces allowing for air circulation let air dry in cool dry place for awhile.

-- Bill

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3483 days

#6 posted 05-06-2013 12:57 PM

Yep, canning wax from the grocery store will do a great job. Latex paint is not useless, but close. If you don’t seal the ends and slow the drying down, it is likely to split as it dries down from 30%.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Dick's profile


156 posts in 3199 days

#7 posted 05-07-2013 02:19 AM

Thanks for the great advice guys! By the time I got home from work the next day to posting this question, the pieces already had fine cracks developed. So, just letting them air dry. They may not be cracked so bad I can’t use them. I’ll get some Anchor Seal for next time.

-- Dick

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