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The Society of American Period Furniture Makers  |  Tools and Techniques  |  Finishing  |  Topic: Sealing Wood « previous next »
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briyon
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« on: June 10, 2007, 06:32:39 PM »

I recently cut down a large cherry tree on my property and wood like to cut some turning blanks out of some of the logs.  When sealing the ends can I just use straight parafan wax?  I also save one 10' section that has a crotch.  I want to have this piece milled into 4/4 boards.  How should I seal/treat the crotches as the boards dry?  I will be stickering them and air drying the boards.

Thanks,

Brian
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Brian Harding
Richmond Vermont

Parttime/Hobbyist Woodworker (20 Years). Recently (last 3 years) concentrating on period furniture.
Tom M
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2007, 07:39:47 PM »

I'm no expert on drying wood - never having done it myself.  I'm wondering if during the summer months the wax might melt, and not seal as well.

But the real reason I'm writting is to suggest you might want to cut thicker than 4/4 for the crotch.  As I understand it, most period pieces used 7/8" boards.  By the time the 4/4 dries, and you plane it, I doubt you would even be able to get 3/4" out of it.  5/4 might be a better way to start.

Tom
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Tom Meiller, SAPFM Member #684
John McAlister
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Period furniture maker as hobby, 40 yrs.


« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2007, 09:35:21 PM »

Brian, I'm no expert on drying wood either but I have had one experience in cutting, sawing and kiln drying some walnut that came off some family property. I had it sawed into 4/4, 5/4 and 8/4 thicknesses, most of it 4/4. The kiln operator said that we ought to air dry it for a year before running it through the kiln, which is what we did. 
Tom sure said a mouthful when he said it might be difficult to get even 3/4" from the 4/4 boards. I use a lot of 3/4" dressed stuff and I used all of my 5/4 rough boards  to consistently get 3/4 off the planer.  And if I needed both sides clean; most of the 3/4 dressed stuff I got from the 4/4 rough was nearer 5/8", or 11/16"!!  Which is somewhat disconcerting!  I'd go with a fat 5/4 rough.
John McAlister
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Textile mfg, 30 yrs. Owner travel agency 10 yrs.
Hobbies other than furniture making include fishing, hunting and tennis. Flew P 51's WWII, 8th Air Force, Europe.
msiemsen
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Full time woodworker, I sell tall clock movements


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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2007, 09:53:40 PM »

Brian,
The 5/4 is a good idea. Here is a link to Craft Supplies for wood sealer. It is for sealing the ends of logs and turning blanks. Parrafin will work too. http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/cgi-bin/shopper?preadd=action&key=984-0160
It is easier to paint the end of a log before it is sawn than after. the woodturner's guild in Minnesota buys it in bulk for their members. Make sure to saw through the crotch in the right direction, through the centers of the two branching trunks.
Mike
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Mike Siemsen
Green Lake Clock Company
There are II kinds of people in the world. Those that can read roman numerals and those that can't
dkeller_nc
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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2007, 08:39:19 AM »

Brian - I've a fair amount of experience sawing and drying my own lumber.  I second the advice of the others on the thread - cut your planks much thicker than 4/4.  I'd recommend 8/4 as the minimum.

Almost any wood finish you have on hand will be adequate to seal the end-grain (I typically use whatever can of spray paint I have on hand).  Moisture exchange will occur through any sealant, including wax - you just want to slow down the vapor exchange so that you don't develop huge checks on the ends of the planks.

Finally (and this is the most important part) - you must get the wood at least quartered as soon as possible after the tree is felled.  Otherwise, the radial shrinkage will cause a great deal of internal checking, rendering it useless for all but firewood.  Stack and sticker it (put intervening short lengths of lumber at 90 degrees to the drying planks in between each piece), and cover the top with a piece of outdoor plywood or a piece of roofing tin.  Make sure that you don't cover the sides or ends of the stack in any way, as inadequate air exchange will result in mildewing or rot.

Generally, you can use the wood for turning after about 6 months, depending on your local climate, but you'll have to wait about 1 year for every inch of thickness for the wood to be dry and stable enough for furniture building.
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Period Furniture & Carving as a hobby - about 20 years woodworking
msiemsen
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2007, 12:13:15 PM »

Another choice is to put turning blanks in plastic bags to slow drying, don't seal them tight and watch for mold. Some turners rough turn  the wet blanks into basic shapes, let them stabilize awhile and then finish turning them. Some turn completely green and very thin then allow the wood to warp into interesting wavy edged bowls. Get on a woodturning guild chat for more on the green wood part. As to the crotches they need to dry slowly.
Mike
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Mike Siemsen
Green Lake Clock Company
There are II kinds of people in the world. Those that can read roman numerals and those that can't
corvin1
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2007, 08:44:21 AM »

I would think that straight parrafin would be challenging to apply.  I personally use AnchorSeal from UCCoatings for sealing logs.  It's a bit pricier that the stuff at the Woodcraft site, but it has a very strong following with the home sawyers.   I know some fellows who just use scrap latex paint on the ends of logs.  As bad as cherry is/as expensive as cherry is, I would use a commercial product for it.

I see it's been a couple weeks since you posted your question.  If you haven't sealed the ends of cherry logs this time of the year, you may have already started getting noticeable checking and end defecting.  Cherry is notorious for being unforgiving at this point.  Turning blocks will be worse if they aren't sealed IMHO.

Drying crotch is a hit and miss affair for me.  Dry it slow, flat and stickered properly with weight to secure it.  Seal the end grain and good luck with it. 

Air drying wood for a year prior to kiln drying is a function of cost efficiencies in my mind. 
More valuable species, like cherry and walnut go into the kiln as fast as we can possibly get them there.  While doing that raises the cost of the drying process, I feel that it gives more control of the drying process, hence better quality of the end product and thus, to us anyway, is more economical in the long view.

Good luck both with the drying and crafting from wood that you harvested yourself.  That's always an especially good feeling.

Chris
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