Japanese maple tree trunk drying advice

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Forum topic by Michigander posted 05-12-2015 03:35 PM 2606 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 3388 days

05-12-2015 03:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: japanese maple tree trunk drying

Our beautiful Japanese Maple of 25 years died with the cold winter of 2013/14 here in Michigan. I left it standing last summer in hopes it would come back, but only parts of the tree sprouted so it had to come down. I just sawed it down and plan to make a cocktail table height table and use it as the base of the table. As part of the tree has been dead for over a year, some of the limbs are very dry and have started to split. My concern is that the rest of the tree will split as it begins to dry, so I’d like your advice on how to dry the rest of the tree trunk.
I found that the old dried bark is very difficult to remove and the parts that are green are easy to strip the bark off so I have gone ahead and stripped the bark from the tree to make sanding and finishing easier. Also moisture was beginning to get under the bark and discolor the wood.
What should I do to dry this properly? The main trunk is still green wood as are about half of the main limbs.
Attached is a picture taken half way through removing the bark.
Your advise is appreciated.

4 replies so far

View Gentile's profile


369 posts in 2787 days

#1 posted 05-13-2015 03:14 PM

Michigander- I would paint melted wax on the cuts and let it sit for a year or two. Some place dry.The wax causes the moisture to leave via the sides rather than the ends, cutting down the splitting (checks).
As far as what kind of wax, paraffin is brittle when it cools, I’d add some chunks of a wax ring (for a toilet) to the paraffin. The wax rings are a soft wax.

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 3388 days

#2 posted 05-17-2015 02:29 PM

Thanks Gentile, I’ll definitely wax the ends. Makes sense.
Appreciate you responding!

View EPJartisan's profile


1123 posts in 4094 days

#3 posted 05-20-2015 06:30 PM

Hi, I have had some good results with sealing the ends and then wrapping whole branches in an old thick blanket. Without the bark, you will get checks along the side and some splitting. The blanket absorbs and dissipates moisture at a slower rate allowing the wood to dry evenly. Good luck and post the Table when it is finished. :)

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View learnin2do's profile


891 posts in 3820 days

#4 posted 07-22-2015 07:49 PM

I have pieces of mine -same sad story. If it cracks, just have fun with the filling of them! tiny branch ends or river rocks, carved creatures crawling out…endless possibilities!

-- ~christine @ used2btrees

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