... and I was wondering if there was a way to stop them cracking and
splitting as they dry, not that its really all that important. If I
varnish it on the end, will that slow it down enough and stop it
Its oak wood, although the wife wants me to get some pine as it would
be lighter to move around the house if necessary.
Varnishing the ends is a good idea. You can also paint it with
a thick layer of yellow glue, shellac, or my favorite, parrafin
melted in a double boiler.
This will minimize checking, as will stripping off the bark.
The worst paint to use would be latex paint. Latex paint is highly
permeable to water vapor.
If you hollowed the sections out it would help prevent splitting
and make them lighter. Cut a rabbet in one end and inset a
piece of plywood to hold the plant.
If I was doing it I think I'd try splitting the log into quarters, chop
out the center, and glue it back together real quick before it
dried and warped. But then again I've never done this and
this method may not work. It's just an idea and others with
more experience will rightly shoot it down if it's a bad one.
I make side tables out of 2 inch thick 3' diameter pine and alder
endgrain slices/slabs. The trick to prevent radial cracking:
Seasoning in the house for 1 year prior to beltsanding smooth (they
start out with chainsaw finish) and finishing with 6-10 coats of
shellac. Don't know if this would work for entire log sections due to
thickness and difficulty in maintaining even moisture content
throughout entire piece.
Wondering where I store these slabs in the house for a year? I keep
them under my bed!
I was looking at some chainsaw-carved bears in Alaska. They had a
vertical chainsaw kerf up the back approx. 70% of the log thickness.
This essentially gives you two half logs and seems to control major
splits. Just a thought.
Right out of Hoadley.
Seems the best answer to me, as well. As a turner, I work green wood a lot.
End grain with the pith included is at best a crapshoot unless you soak it
in PEG or similar, and then it'll be a damp, greasy, finish-rejecting item
suitable only with a glass top. If the wife insists, go with a wood like
elm, yellow birch, or true poplar (not "Poplar"), which has interlocking
grain and stands a chance of holding if hollowed and protected during
Paint them with ethylene glycol auto antifreeze for a few weeks or until
it stops absorbing rapidly. This will prevent cracking while not
interfering with finishing or gluing. It also kills rot organisms and
Latex paints are no more water permeable than oil paints.
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