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Green wood? Seasoned wood? Help!

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  • Green wood? Seasoned wood? Help!

    I'm new at this and need help sorting out how to sort out use of green wood vs how to dry it and why

    Right now I have a pile of logs an arborist friend gave me. Started carving two slices approx 18"OD x 8"thick. Within days they split.

    Help! Can anyone point me in the right direction to figure this all out?

  • #2
    Re: Green wood? Seasoned wood? Help!

    If you want to carve green you have to take out the pith of the log and seal the ends. Keep your work wet in plastic bags and dry your carvings slowly. Rapid loss of moisture causes the dreaded splits. Search this site plenty has been written about it here.

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    • #3
      Re: Green wood? Seasoned wood? Help!

      Logs.
      1. For carving, I'd skin the bark off ASAP. Scrape, DON'T cut lines to get it off = log splits for certain.
      2. Paint the ends with anything (old house paint, crappy wood glue = you name it.) The concept is to equalize the water loss from the surfaces and the cut open ends.
      3. Don't expect to carve in the round with every log. Decide what the "ugly/knot" side is and cut away 1/4 of the log, right to the pith.
      That has worked for totem poles in the PacNW for several centuries,
      nobody has ever come up with a better plan.
      4. Do them all. Say nothing. Carve 1/5, say nothing. Makes you look like an ace.
      = = =
      Good luck. Get onto this ASAP or the wood will fight back.
      Brian T

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      • #4
        Re: Green wood? Seasoned wood? Help!

        Robson - thanks SO much! I now have some direction. Oh...and nothing to say <wink>

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        • #5
          Re: Green wood? Seasoned wood? Help!

          BowInHand - thanks much! I'm beginning to get the picture.

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          • #6
            Re: Green wood? Seasoned wood? Help!

            Hindsight is 20/20, yes? I can only rely on experience. That means that I have lost a ton of carving wood before I learned what to do.
            I live in a mountain village in the forest. More wood where that came from.
            Brian T

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            • #7
              Re: Green wood? Seasoned wood? Help!

              I have carved wood wet.....although we have extreme high humidity.....some woods are easier to cut wet then dry,which can be a major difference especially exotics... although there may be a chance of wood cracking later. Some wood carves resolve this issue by hollowing out and using thin pieces...as it is noted the the thicker the piece the more likely it will crack. Carving a dry piece although can also crack....although it is less likely. I carve both wet and dry.... so do a lot of other carvers....but it is up to you if you want to risk the cracks? And as people have stated it must dry slow which is an issue if you live in a dry area. As Rob pointed out it is a matter of experience and choices .....if you want little risk of cracks...then you go for dry. But I have been given logs wet and the owner wants the carving tomorrow...and then I have no choices...and tell them we may need to do repair work on it in the future.

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              • #8
                Re: Green wood? Seasoned wood? Help!

                Alot of good info here regarding green wood. The only thing I can add would be to use wood chips to cover your wet piece between carving sessions. It is impossible to stop the expiration of moisture, the idea here is to equalize the rate of water loss and slow it down as well, which the wood chips will allow if covering the the piece completely. Drying through osmosis via the wood chips is an old trick used for centuries. Of course this is only so practical based on the piece being carved.
                James Richards

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