I've been asked to make a base for a statue using an approximately 12"
diameter x eight inch long piece of red oak log. They would like the
bark to be maintained.
Any thoughts on treating and finishing?
You know it's gonna split. Lee Valley used to sell this polyethylene
glycol (PEG) wood stabilizer for green wood. I dags it and Rockler
Do a Google search on "Polyethylene glycol wood" so you avoid getting
the info on the laxative.
During WWII and since - PEG was used to preserve M1 and M1A stocks
from green wood.
The stocks were placed in a 55 gallon drum and it was filled full.
It replaces the water content with PEG and when it evaporates it
leaves polyethylene in the place where water was.
Luigi Zanasi wrote:
Don't think this is too practical. It's gonna fall apart unless the
entire log is encased in some kind of thick transparent epoxy. Insects
can be killed and moisture driven off by baking the log. Do you have
a moisture meter?
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.
The preserved bark idea is a dog that just won't hunt.
I snagged a cut of walnut from the scout camp this morning that had
been sitting under an overhang for a number of years. I took it home,
whacked it to height with the chainsaw and used a chisel to knock off
the sapwood, leaving a decent approximation of the rustic look that
had been expressed to me.
The moisture content is about 9% per the meter and that is good enough
for me. There are radial cleavages, as one might expect but I'm of a
mind that this only enhances the 'rusticity'.
First, the wood almost certainly must be felled in the winter, after the
leaves have fallen and before the sap starts running. Sap starts
running for tapping in February. I'd say October to December the tree
needs cut. This will get the least amount of variance in drying between
bark and wood. The slab will need to be dried slowly and a good wax
coating on the end grain should help.
Alternatively, I guess you could soak the slab in polyethylene glycol
PEG) or some such. Still, I think it is not a sure thing, but certainly
I've seen lots of wood projects with bark remaining for many,many years.
After the wood is dry, you will need to put a finish on it, including
the bark, to seal it best you can.
Here is an example:
If they can do it, so can you:-)
PS, I'm no expert in this, just my opinion based on some experience with
harvesting standing wood.
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