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Thread: Wood curing/drying question...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Wood curing/drying question...

    Hi folks,

    I just got a call from my next door neighbor. He's got a question about drying a big block of Elm. Here's what he's got.

    Recently his brother had a rather large Elm taken down from his yard. Apparently he has roughly an 18" cube. He's pretty good woodworker and would like to do something with it some time down the road. He realizes that it's going to take some time to dry sufficiently but he doesn't know what he should do with it at this point. Is there something he should put on it? I'm thinking along the lines of something painted onto the end grain to keep it from cracking/checking. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  2. #2
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    anchorseal is the best thing out there for that john but yu can use latex paint.. and if he plans on making a turning out of it then you will want info from the turners,, and also if that is the case i would suggest to make it smaller so that yu can seal it better from the drying..less stress in smaller pieces
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
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    Thanks Larry!

    I talked to him a little while ago. Apparently he wants to use it as is for a base of a glass topped coffee table. I mentioned the latex paint and figured that would be fine but he said he wants it clear so he can just apply it and leave it. I figured color wouldn't be an issue because I assumed that the block wasn't in its final size and condition.

    Even if he uses the clear Anchorseal, it's going to show up. I don't think he understands the concept though. The block was cut a couple weeks ago. I told him that he better get it treated ASAP. Anchorseal is supposed to be most effective when applied immediately after cutting.

    Thanks again!

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  4. #4
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    Larry and you are right about sealing the end grain. I doubt that any clear finish he puts on the wet wood now will look good after the wood dries, and it probably wouldn't seal as well as Anchor Seal anyway.

    That said, I'm not real sure even Anchor Seal will keep an 18" cube of wet elm from cracking. The green elm I've processed and turned seemed to want to move a lot. If I left it in sealed blanks, it cracked, and if I left it in rough-turned bowls, it wanted to warp. And if the cube also has the pith of the tree running through it, I can pretty much guarantee he'll see cracks.

    Personally, I think the cracks could look nice under a glass coffee table, though. They could be left as-is, or filled with resin in a variety of ways.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  5. #5
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    NH
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    The only other thing (and it would be an experiment) would be too find a bucket big enough and give it a DNA soak. A chunk that big I have no idea how long to soak it maybe a month or 2. Than wrap it up and leave it stand for maybe a year
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  6. #6
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    You can make a sealer with Bees wax and a little rabbit skin glue. But you will need a double boiler to do the process.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Larry and you are right about sealing the end grain. I doubt that any clear finish he puts on the wet wood now will look good after the wood dries, and it probably wouldn't seal as well as Anchor Seal anyway.

    That said, I'm not real sure even Anchor Seal will keep an 18" cube of wet elm from cracking. The green elm I've processed and turned seemed to want to move a lot. If I left it in sealed blanks, it cracked, and if I left it in rough-turned bowls, it wanted to warp. And if the cube also has the pith of the tree running through it, I can pretty much guarantee he'll see cracks.
    And if he sets it in the yard in the weather for a couple of years, it'll be mush... I have a 50' elm laying behind my shop cut into 4' logs... I can probably shovel the logs into the dust bin by now... the wood I took into the shop has held up pretty good and dried okay, but the outside stuff is gone.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  8. #8
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    Westphalia, Michigan
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    Elm makes beautiful lumber. It does have a lot of tension in it and it will crack especially if left in the round to dry. When we run it through the kiln it goes on the bottom to maximize the pressure from the weight of the stack. Even so, I often mill it thicker than normal to allow for all the movement it goes through when you machine it into boards.
    I'm a certifiable tree hugger. (it's a poor mans way of determining DBH before cutting the tree down)

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