A big old fir tree that used to stand in the middle of the village has been
cut down. A slice has been cut from the lower trunk and has been given to
the village school. The idea is that the school will count the rings (about
220 of them) labelling historical events and make a permanent display of
local and world history with reference to the tree rings.
Nobody so far has volunteered to clean up the rough sawn slice and treat it
in such a way that it will not fall apart. I am not even sure it is possible
to do it with garden shed tools and equipment.
I would be grateful for sugestions or experiences.
In the US it is a government service providing informational assistance,
soil testing, etc to farmers, gardeners, and the like. I'm sure the UK has
something similar but have no idea what it would be called.
You might call Forest Products Laboratories in the US
<http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/ --while they are a US government agency they will
answer questions for non-US citizens on an available time basis. Odds are
that they have a publication telling exactly how to do this in excruciating
detail, but a quick look on their site doesn't find it.
That's a nice project. Here is what I would do.
Make a good cut with a sharp chainsaw. Cleanup one side with hand planes. Then
bag it and soak the entire piece in PEG, this replaces the water with the PEG
and prevents cracking. It will take a bit of soaking, months at least
depending on the thickness.
Several years ago I saved a disc of black cherry similar to
have. What I tried was to wrap mechanics wire around the
and pulled it as tight as I could. The wire was run around
the ends were twisted as the wire settled into place. The
not split on a radial as others had. Now that it is dry
it'll stay that way.
YMMV, good luck. How many of these discs do you have to work
So what, this is roughly 4-ft in diameter, then, I'm guessing?
How thick did they make the slice(s)?
It's essentially impossible to prevent checking an at least some
splitting in a section that size. Hopefully they saved several sections
so you're not counting on only one shot at it.
Bruce Hoadley starts his book "Understanding Wood" w/ a tale as a kid of
trying the exercise that's a good object lesson... :)
I personally don't have experience in trying to do so for large
sections; I'd second the idea of seeing if can get some advice from a
conservationist who might have place to send you if not direct
experience. There are some slices of very old redwoods but iirc most do
have pretty severe splitting although have held together enough for the
I'd think the PEG somebody else suggested a good way to start; you
definitely want the drying process to be quite slow.
In UK don't know your sources for such info, you could do a search on
the US Forest Products Laboratory site and see if could get any help--I
think they have a way to ask questions--this is probably a fairly
frequent one, maybe there's an FAQ.
In addition to looking up PEG (probably a good suggestion for
preservation), also do a search for information on dendrochronology,
which is the study of tree-ring dating. There is probably at least one
institution involved with that in the UK, so you might try to contact them.
Here in the US, there's a dendrochronology department at the University
of Arizona in Tucson; you might look them up at
Who needs a junta or a dictatorship when you have a Congress
blowing Wall Street, using the media as a condom?
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