My Great Grandfather scraped his initials in the bark of a beech tree
on his farm sometime around 100 years ago. My parents are finally
putting the farm up for sale, and I noticed today that the old beech
tree had finally died. I went out to look, and the bark was starting to
decay a bit, probably from all of the constant wet weather this spring.
I had thought about preserving it before, but didn't want to while the
tree was alive.
Anyhow, his carved initials are still intact. I have used a knife to
outline the area and carve away all the bark surrounding the initialed
area. I am worried that the bark with the initials on it may come apart
if I try to pry the whole area off of the tree. It is about 9 or 10"
wide, and has some cracks in it already.
Can anyone recommend something clear that I might be able to coat the
bark with to strengthen it, and make it more likely that it would
survive the removal procedure intact? I would like to frame it and keep
it in the family. The road we grew up on was named after him or his
father, who supposedly surveyed it through the forest. While we will no
longer have the farm in the family, it would be nice to be able to take
this memory with us.
Thanks for any suggestions!
Wood preservation is a speciality among museum
conservationists, who would probably be willing to
advise you without charge. Since this tree now has
died, you need to protect it from micro-organisms
and fungus as well as weather. Fibreglass resin
(as used for boats) may supply your need.
Epoxy. The regular kind is not perfectly clear but it's pretty good.
You can also get the kind they use to cover tabletops in bars but the
surface has to be horizontal to apply that.
Specifically, use CPES - Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer. I believe you
can even get some with UV inhibitors at marine supply stores. If you can
not spend much money, you can try thinning regular slow set epoxy with
acetone. It will work but not quite as well as the dedicated products.
If this is a very large tree, which it must be at that age. Make a
cut above and below the area you want to save. Then use a plunge cut
to cut behind that section. A chainsaw carver could do it, but for
anyone else, I'd practice on something else first. Or, cut the tree
above the part you want to save, then remove the whole log part you
want to save, and use a bandsaw to cut off that section.
I think others already told you the best sealer. That epoxy is often
used on table tops. Bars often use it, they might put photos or coins
under the epoxy. Your other option would be to put some wood glue
behind the bark, then just frame the whole thing with glass in front.
That will keep dust from building up on the bark too, because that
could be a pain in the ass to clean after some years. Plus this way
it's more natural.
that epoxy is very runny and self-leving. it would be hard to get it to
level out on a curved surface. you cold paint it on and do this in layers,
but you'd have to read about how to prepare the hardened surface for another
layer; making it be an invisible interface would be hard if this required
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