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Thread: Dryiing waxed/sealed wood

  1. #1

    Dryiing waxed/sealed wood

    I've bought several pieces of wet or green turning blank wood which I use for carving rather than turning. The wood blocks (from 2x2x12 inches to 6x6x4 inches) are sealed either in wax/paraffin or anchorseal. Some are just end sealed and some are completely coated. I don't know how long they have been coated. I presume that the end-coated blanks have been drying from the sides more quickly than those entirely coated. My question is, with the blocks entirely coated in paraffin/wax, is it safe to scrape the wax off the sides and leave only the end grain sealed so they dry faster? And for those entirely coated with anchorseal, how does one remove the sealer from the sides? I would like to get to carving these sooner than later. Any help with answers or references to prior threads would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon

    The "best" reference I've been able to find on wood drying time is this (which 99% doesn't include the wood your trying to dry..):
    It also fairly definitively debunks the 1 year per inch "rule of thumb" (a) its non-linear based on thickness and b) varies wildly depending).

    The main take away is that it is very species and condition dependent so any answer someone else would give you for some other place/species is most likely at least somewhat wrong. The 6x6x4 ones will definitely take a lot longer than the 2x2 ones.

    As far as if its safe to scrape the wax on the sides.. I can give that a very definitive maybe. They'll have been drying some anyway so if they've been around 6mo-a couple years I'd go for it on a couple and monitor them over a couple of weeks to see if anything looks like its moving/cracking. Even if you scraped off most of the wax there would still be some slowing effect from the residue. I would just use a paint scraper but there might be a better way (that worked pretty well for some turning wood I had).
    Love thy neighbor, yet pull down not thy hedge.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reference and thoughtful advice. I guess I'll just have to experiment as you suggest. I am also weighing each piece periodically to see if the weight goes down and then stops at some point. That, I presume means that the wood has reached an equilibrium MC for the humidity here in Denver. I've found some places on line that sell a range of kiln dried turning stock, but not a lot of them

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Laurinburg NC
    Ron you are on the right track there.I am a flute maker and I know flutemakers that use branches or other parts of the tree to make their flutes.They do just like you are..weighing until they equalize or stop losing weight.Im doing the same thing with some European Olive wood.I dont have any scales yet.. Im just using my moisture meter I got from Lowes for $22. I wonder how accurate it is? Here is something a lil interesting....A flutemaker named Jon Sherman has bilt a kiln that he puts his branches in to dry...speeds the process up..I havent tried this but he has been doing this quite a while.When I first began I contacted him and he was very willing to share his knowledge of anything I needed to know.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    You have answered most of your own question. Scraping sides will help but the process is still slowed. Depending on the species, you will have to wait a little or a long time. I just found a nice hunk of white Holly I dated when I got it in 2001. Ends were sealed. I bet it is ready. After stabilizing it should make some nice faux ivory pens or duck calls.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

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