Drying tree limbs for sculpture


I want to attampt the carving of a pair of rocking chair curved legs/back from one peice of wood. The catch is, the wood is still on the tree (an 8 inch branch which is naturally curved). The tree is being chopped down anyway - I live in Ojai, near Santa Barbara in Southern California, so I was wondering: how can I dry the wood out and how long will it take before I can carve it without it warping/splitting. How do I prepare the wood for drying? The wood is black walnut. The temps. here are in the 70s/80s fareinheight in Winter/upto 105 in summer and dry. Any advice would be appreciated. Ben
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Rive, rough form with heart out, and wire into roughly the shape you want to preserve. Warning, the center of the annual rings may be well offset, so you may have to modify your concept. Keep it where the air's cool like near the concrete in the garage, and it'll be as good as it gets by summer.
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