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Is oak branch ok for outdoor carvings?

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  • Is oak branch ok for outdoor carvings?

    I have a very large oak branch which has 2+ inch thick sapwood is it going to be ok to use this for carvings that will stay outdoors?

  • #2
    The red oak group of oak species is very open-porous.
    The wood will soak up water throughout the entire length.
    The carving will require constant maintenance if it is to endure winter freeze/thaw cycles.

    There are paste sealers meant for indoor applications (eg flooring) which require a great deal of sanding.
    Brian T

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    • #3
      Sorry, forgot the international nature of this forum, my bad, this is a European oak, probably Q Robur, a member of the white oak group.

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      • #4
        Do you plan to carve wet or dry it first? What is the overall diameter? Length or height or carving?
        Subject of carving?
        Ed
        Living in a pile of chips.
        https://www.etsy.com/shop/HiddenInWood
        https://m.facebook.com/pg/CentralNeb...ernal&mt_nav=0

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        • #5
          OK The white oak group has sealed wood (vessel elements occluded by tyloses).
          It will still require a lot of maintenance to keep an "indoor" appearance, painted or not.

          I'd be reluctant to stand it out in the weather unless you like the look.

          I like old cracked weathered totem poles. You get used to them. Age matters.
          A Western Red Cedar Pole might last a century before it falls down, like old people.
          Brian T

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          • #6
            The timber is mostly 6 to 8 inches diameter, so not big enough to cleave, for owl/bear/dragon type carving and I will be carving it while its green

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            • #7
              Look at this project as gaining experience with wood. It may go exactly as you expect, or it may surprise you. Either way you will have gained experience with wood.

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              • #8
                True enough, every carving teaches you something, and I don't dislike the split and weathered rustic look, but, if I carve a barn owl from this oak expecting moderate cracking and minor anual maintenance and my wife gifts it to a friend and it splits to glory while rotting into the ground in 6 months I will be less than happy

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                • #9
                  The Oak will weather and crack. Even if you put a good finish on it the moisture in the green wood will expand in any freezing weather that will be coming soon in your area.
                  We live in the land of the free because of the brave!

                  https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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                  • #10
                    Ok, so bring carvings inside for cold weather, what would you recommend as a finish to slow down rot, I often use acrylic paints on seasoned timber, or floor wax or Danish oil or boiled linseed oil with bees wax and turpentine

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                    • #11
                      You could always soak it is PEG... http://owic.oregonstate.edu/sites/de...s/pubs/peg.pdf

                      Claude
                      My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/

                      My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/

                      My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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                      • #12
                        White oak is a pretty durable wood for outdoor carvings in my experience.(carving onsite trees) Much better rot resistance than red oak. Another option to preserve it is to use a 50/50 solution of paint thinner and Boiled linseed. Put on 6-8 coats, but don't let the solution dry between coats to help force in more solution. After the last coat let it dry thoroughly, then coat with an outdoor varnish as directed on the can. You must seal it with the varnish or it will turn a blackish gray over time. Just my 2 cents.
                        Good Luck and have fun.
                        Bob

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