I recently cut some basswood into 2' lenghts. The logs were approx. 6" in
dia. It still has bark on it and I want to eventually use it for caving.
The logs had been drying outside for 2 years. How can I avoid the pieces
cut from cracking? They are now stored in garage. Should you recommend
sealing the ends what should I use and how much longer does it need to dry?
Thks for any responses.
OR -- longitudal splitting in logs is from the outside drying faster than
the inside. It is almost impossible to dry a log without some splitting. You
need to cut them into quarters at the pith line to reduce the splitting.
I have harvested quite a bit of basswood for carving. I would say
that if you have had it around for 2 years, it would either be fairly
dry or has started rotting because the bark was left on it. I suspect
that if you look closely at your logs, they have already checked
already, and are liable to have longitudinal cracks. That doesn't
mean its a lost cause. You just might not have as much usable wood as
you thought you did. (a six inch log is pretty small to make much out
I agree that you should split the log down the pith as that will just
give you trouble in your carvings anyway. my favored procedure is to
take a log, split it with wedges down the pith, peel them, and let
them dry for at least a year before further work. I like longer
lengths (6-8') because I can just discard the ends that have checked.
I have tried coating the ends, but found the the wood near the coating
tended to rot and was ruined anyway. Basswood will rot more easily
than any wood I know of! You need to be careful when bringing it
into a heated house because I have gotten some checks even in very
small blocks. Figure out a way to bring it into the house in stages--
I bring mine into the basement first.
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