Wood seasoning

I have acquired a few nice logs of cherry and holly which i would like to put at the back of the shed and turn into turned bowls or boxes in a few years.
The last time i tried this, they split unuseably.
The blanks I buy have a covering of wax on the ends - presumably to even out the rate of drying.
Do I just melt some old candles and coat the ends in that or is it vastly more sophisticated?
Secondly, how long should i leave it?
Thanks, folks.
-- Ken Wilson Hampshire, UK
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Ken WIlson asks:

Almost as many ways to do this as there are logs. Candle wax will work, but takes a lot of effort. There are special coatings, sold at some of the woodworking specialty stores. Roof coating will also work nicely. Get the kind that is silver, IME, and use an old brush to slater it on. Timing is more of a problem. Depends primarily on the thickness of the log, but can be slowed down or speeded up with proper storage which can be anything from a closed plastic bag to damp sawdust. You can also turn immediately and soak the result in PEG.
Charlie Self "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America." William J. Clinton
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Ken, you should repost this over at rec.crafts.woodturning, or search the Google archives on that group. There are a *lot* of experienced turners over there who can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about storing and seasoning your turning blanks, and then some. Good luck.

-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Hi Ken,
What you propose will help, certainly. Some people recommend reliving the stress by splitting the log down the middle, through the pith and evening up the rate of drying by using several coats of old latex paint on the ends.
The problem with this system is that it takes a long time to get dry blanks.
Many commercial turners turn their bowls green - they turn them out to a rough blank with the walls left at some 10% of the dia, and the bottom somewhat thinner. This rough bowl will season much quicker than a log and can be remounted on the lathe after a few weeks/months and trued up and taken down to final size.
Some turners swear by the use of Liquid Dishwasher Detergent cut 1/1 with water in which they immerse the green blank for a few days before turning and at any interim stage if turning has to be suspended temporarily. When the bowl has been completed, it is then given its final finish immediately before any more drying takes place. Sounds unlikely, but DAGS on the rec.crafts.woodturning archive for more info.
One thing is sure, most timbers left to season in the round will degrade badly.
HTH
Frank

out
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On Thu, 4 Mar 2004 10:00:35 -0000, "Ken Wilson"

The candle wax will work. Be extra careful--it is highly flammable. I use any old paint that is laying around to coat the ends, then use the logs a year (or more) later.
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No. Applying hot wax will cool and freeze the instant it hits the cold wood. This doesn't stick and flakes off in no time.
Either apply the wax and then reflow it with a hot air gun until it soaks in well enough, or (what I do) use a water-based wax emulsion like Endseal.
You can even make your own wax emulsions. But it's expensive to do (the emulsifiers aren't easy to get in under 40 gallon quantities) and it's just not worth it.
--
Smert' spamionam

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wrote:

It works OK for me. Maybe I did this on a hot day. I use a doble boiler to melt the wax and the hot water in the bottom keeps it hot while I appl it. It also pours down my leg if I'm not paying attention...

Well, that would be better I'm sure.
--

FF

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How well does it remove the hair?

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I use paraffin wax melted with an iron and smoothed with the iron on the ends. I let it sit in my storage shed and it is hot in Texas in the summer. It takes one year for each two inches across the piece of wood. ( 8 inches 4 years )

out
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out
Sealling the ends will help reduce the chances of cracking. We usea specialized log sealing wax at the shop. Not sure if that would be available to you, not to mention it comes in 55 gallonn drums. Probably a bit too much for you;-)
The boards we mill for guitarmakers we seal with spray lacquer. Reason is you can mark on it with pencil and you can also see the end grain easily. The kind you buy in a spray can
D. Mo
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out
I do quite a bit of "milling my own" from logs. Here in the pacific northwest, there is quite a variety and large quantities to be had for pretty good prices. My technique which works for me is to aquire your logs and as soon as humanly possible, mill them into the size and thickness you want. As soon as the tree is cut and bucked into the lengths you can handle, (hint, buck them into as long as pieces as you can store or as long as the mill will take) slather the ends with latex paint. The best paint to use is the cheapest on hand paint you have. Brand is not a factor here. Now, get those logs milled asap. The longer you leave them in log form, the greater the possibility of cracking and checking. Cherry is really a pain in the butt when it comes to cracking. Just seems to crack worse than others <shrug>. As you are milling the logs, as they come off the mill, coat them again with latex. This should be all the coating they need. Ok, now the *really* important part. Stacking the lumber. You are gonna want to make (what will seem like thousands) a bunch of 1-1/2" x 12" x 1/2" stickers. Sticker in between each row of lumber at the ends and 1' on center. Stack your lumber as high as you want. I go about chest high. When you are all done stacking, place the heaviest items you own (old car engines, steel beams, concrete,etc) on top. Weight is critical to keep your brand new lumber nice and flat and free of warpage. If you are running shy on really heavy stuff, go buy a bunch of masonry blocks.

The longer the better. It really depends on how moist of an area you live in, whether or not the wood is enclosed, does it get a breeze?, lotsa factors here. Here in Oregon, I typically will go 2 years per inch of thickness. Depends on the type of wood or where I store it. Test it every once in a while.
It isn't rocket surgery but you shouldn't have any problems if you follow the above method. I learned the hard way and developed this technique through several seasons.

Hope everything works for ya! SH
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