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Thread: Storing fresh cut wood

  1. #1

    Storing fresh cut wood

    A neighbor of mine is taking down a hackberry tree this weekend and I have offered to take a few limbs off his hands.

    How should I treat the exposed ends to prevent cracking while it dries? Plain old paint?

    Thanks!
    -dan

  2. #2
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    Latex paint is sorta OK. Anchorseal is best. Do take more than a couple branches. Get all you can. Hackberry is a pretty wood that often takes a deep glowing finish with chatoyance. Turns nicely too.

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up hackberry

    dont know about the turning, but i have used some for drawer frts and doors the heart wood is very nice stuff, and the sap wood is nice and white. if you can get some of it cut into lumber go for it.. i was told it was just paint wood but after i found out differnt i had waited to long.. its got alot of character and is alot like buternut in the heart areas,, nice stuff and wont turn it down again. cuts and sands great. and like frank said anchorseal is good to seal it with but have used latex paint as well both wil work just takes bit more paint
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  4. #4
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    If you can get the trunk wood, you will be better off, as the limbs can have a lot of stress built up in them, which can lead to cracks and or a lot of warping and twisting.

    Seal the ends up right quick, as Frank said, Anchor seal, or some sort of "Green Wood Sealer" is best, Latex paint is OK, I use normal PVA glue (white glue) thinned, 1/3 water to 2/3 glue, and put on several coats, works OK as well.

    Good luck, take pictures!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
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  5. #5
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    I have just melted plan old wax on the ends in the past seems to work quite well . Better than paint IMO. I have not tried the anchor seal or the likes as of yet.

  6. #6
    Dan...

    Couple of things:

    I agree with Stu, if you can get trunk wood it's more desirable because it's more likely to be free of reaction wood, but take whatever you can handle. The price is right. If you do get both main stem and limbs, mark them somehow because a year from now you won't remember which is which (at my age tomorrow might be too long). Even reaction wood is fine for small projects like wine stoppers, pens, etc. The main stem may or may not have reaction wood (depends on whether it grew straight up or at an angle), but the limbs are guaranteed to have it. Not a big deal, as long as you know what you are dealing with.

    Sealing the ends; think of a piece of wood as a bundle of soda straws...openings at the ends, solid along the sides. Close enough. Intuitively you can see that moisture escapes more quickly through the ends than through the sides, although with a piece of wood as opposed to a soda straw it actually does escape through the sides as well. The idea with end-coating is to slow moisture escape through that exit so it more closely matches moisture escape through the sides. So plug those end openings. It really doesn't matter much what you use as long as it will adhere to wet wood and it seals. Why care about this? Green wood contains moisture in two states: free and bound. My favorite analogy is a kitchen sponge. Dip it in water so it's sopping. It now contains bound water and free water.The bound water is in the walls of the cells, the free water is within the cell cavities. Wring it out as strenuously as you can...it's still moist. You have gotten rid of the free water and are left with the bound water. With wood this is called the Fibre Saturation Point. Regardless of species, this occurs at about 32% moisture content. Free water escapes first...intuitively makes sense. As long as the cells are at or above FSP no dimensional changes occur. Wood only starts to shrink when it begins to lose bound water. Now if the free water is allowed to escape through the ends faster than free water elsewhere is migrating out, the ends reach FSP first. Then the ends begin to shrink, but the rest of the log (boards) don't. Checking.

    Cheers.

  7. #7
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    Ed, that is an excellent explanation
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
    I'll be honest with you, I am not a big fan of painting the ends of the boards, either with anchorseal, paint or whatever. In my experience, I have never seen a depreciable amount of checking in doing so. I have tried it with both products several times and the checking still occurs. There are better ways to spend your time in money on preventing checking...in my opinion anyway.

    What I have seen that greatly reduces checking, is proper stickering. When you put your boards on stickers, make sure the first few inches are supported by a sticker. In pile after pile of lumber,I found checking started at the end of the board and always stopped at the first sticker. If your first sticker is six inches in, you are going to lose six inches of lumber. If you run your sticker right out to the end, say an inch from the end, then you will only lose an inch or so of lumber. What I like to do, is double sticker the ends of my lumber. That is put a sticker right on the very end of the board, then put another sticker 6 inches in or so. That just helps keep the stack nice and level, and supports the end of the board for less checking.

    By taking the time to properly stack your lumber, you will not only prevent checking losses, you will also prevent losses in warp, twist, bug infestation and other losses. Here is a link to get you started, just don't look at the picture too hard. Its actually drawn wrong as it shows the first stickers being 6 inches in or so.

    http://www.railroadmachinist.com/Wood-Drying-One.html
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  9. #9
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    Travis said, "There are better ways to spend your time in money on preventing checking...in my opinion anyway."
    Unless you do it my way. I convinced my wife (don't ask me how) that Anchorsealing the ends of the hunks of a large tree I once cut up was fun. She spent the day painting those ends. I think I used a sorta Tom Sawyer fence painting psychology. Somehow, I don't think I'll get away with it again.

    Chuck, Anchorseal is a water soluable paraffin wax. Don't ask me how they do it. But it works fine. BTW, if you order a five gallon bucket, the shipping is free.

    Stu, most of the wood sealing products on the market are really Anchorseal under different labels and at considerably higher prices.

    I'm a fan of the product. It keeps well as long as you don't let it freeze.
    Available from https://www.uccoatings.com/

  10. #10
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    Travis, sealing the ends of lumber, pieces of wood that are say 8' long, however wide and 2" thick is one thing, but sealing the end grain on chunks destined to become bowl blanks is a whole nuther animal.

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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