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Drying a large carving

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  • Drying a large carving

    Anyone ever build a temporary kiln to take some of the moisture out of a large piece? I believe I know or could look up the theory on it. Just wondering because I need to stain the piece and am nervous about locking in moisture. 12 to 15.5 on my meter depending on where I put the pins in. Thought maybe someone had tried had success or knows something to avoid. Got a very old dehumidifier and fans. Not sure if you have to have heat. 7 ft tall marlin, full log base.

  • #2
    You might not get much further. Outdoors in the shade, under cover, most woods reach an equilibrium moisture content of 12% - 14%. Of course in a winter house with dry air, that might sink to 5% under extremely dry conditions.

    Your po.st reads like you are just about there. Is there a good reason to suck out more MC?
    Brian T

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    • #3
      We do not know your location or the type of wood you are concerned with. As Brian said, the wood will seek equilibrium with the conditions in your locale. Some woods will crack, warp, or bow as they lose moisture. But maybe not. I have never had problems with moisture content of woods I carve. But I live in Ventura, California.

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      • #4
        I've used the microwave for about 30 sec, then check the wood. This kind of Brians T's suggestion of heat the wood before applying oil. Test drive on a spare piece of like wood
        . . .JoeB

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        • #5
          JP: this carving is a 7' marlin on a log base. Try as I might, my microwave can't eat this one.
          Brian T

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          • #6
            Brian, I'm worried about sealing in moisture and causing mold or rot to form down the line inside the piece. I live on the. Alabama gulf coast and that may be as dry as its going to get. Pallin its red oak. I posted a picture and some info on her in 'new members' a week or so ago. May just have to go for it and hope for the best. Lot of time in her to mess up now.

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            • #7
              Sorry, in welcome members.

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              • #8
                Large green carving what I do is pray. No one I know of would build a kiln that big unless you're going to use it a lot....and by the time you get her built that wood is either going to crack or will not. I learned a long time ago, you may mess up the piece, the wood may crack, or you find this brand new large hole....it is called fate....what is, is. Learn to let go of results and learn just to do it better next time. Let it go. It is all in mother natures plans.

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                • #9
                  OK. For dead stuff, wood moves.
                  Red Oak is open porous and rainwater will soak in like a sponge.
                  So, the surface needs sealing. Consider the paste sealer used for red oak flooring.

                  Nobody here pays much attention to cracking. Big relief cuts in the back of the logs,
                  right to the log center.
                  On the good face, if the log is that old, just carve right through the cracks, they are acceptable.
                  Not a euro-carver philosophy but you get used to it.
                  Brian T

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the advice. Will post a picture when I get her done. Probably be awhile.

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                    • #11
                      I am in Mobile. I have not had any issues with finishing woods with a 12% to 15% moisture content. The two finishes I use most are tung oil and spar urethane. Teak oil can also be a good finish for our weather. You may have issues with cracking wit quick drying in a kiln.
                      We live in the land of the free because of the brave!

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

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                      • #12
                        Randy, I live in Josephine. Across Arnica bay from Orange beach a little place called pirates cove. She's already cracked up pretty good. Will be starting on filling the cracks once this rain moves off. Then stain, finish the cracks, then urethane the entire piece.

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                        • #13
                          Filling the cracks might look like a band-aid patch job.
                          What if you used thin strips of a contrasting wood to fill the bulk of the cracks?
                          Is the cracking finished or do you suppose they will continue to get wider over time?
                          Some repairs use epoxy and crushed stone such as turquoise. Must admit = pretty fancy.

                          To me, the cracks are a measure of well-earned age. Old stuff.
                          Like a dock piling or a story pole. The First Nations look past the cracks.
                          Brian T

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                          • #14
                            I use 2 part pouring epoxy with mica powder. Look like sea water shedding of her hopefully. Very strong adhesive, should stop the cracks from expanding. I do like the concept of a different wood though.

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                            • #15
                              I spent several weeks, cleaning out the key cutting machine in the local hardware store.
                              Got at least a cup or more. Washed and dried the grindings, surprisingly dirty.
                              Tried crack filling with epoxy but never could get a sparkly surface as I though I might see from the brass of the keys. Guess I'll stick to copper and various marine shells.

                              I hope your mica works, that could look quite elegant.
                              Brian T

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