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Wood seasoning question

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  • Wood seasoning question

    A tree service company is clearing out a patch of woods along the side of an elementary school property near where I live. There are a number of beautiful maples (and maybe some other hardwoods) in the area that’s being clear-cut.

    I talked with the tree company guy today and I have the opportunity to grab some beautiful pieces of freshly cut maple that’ll be ~14”-20” diameter, straight, clear and as long as I can cart away. This is my chance of a lifetime to grab a couple pieces for doing “in-the-round” or 3D carvings on a bigger scale than I’ve ever tried before.

    The only place I have to store them is in an apartment setting. Because of this, I can only grab a couple (maybe few?) pieces in the 2’ to 5’ length ballpark. Nonetheless, this is my big shot to grab a couple pieces that could end up being great for doing a Cigar Store Indian, Ship’s Figurehead, Totem Pole or something like that.

    My question is about seasoning the log chunks without losing them to checking/splitting. The only thing I know to do is to fully seal the ends with carpenter’s glue or latex paint, debark the pieces and then wait for a year or two before I even think about going to work. I’d appreciate any input on whether this is a viable approach or if something else would be a better idea. Thanks for your help.

  • #2
    Re: Wood seasoning question

    You have got to find a friend to stash your wood. Even painted ends, expect 6\" cracking both ends. Right = any crappy paint or glue is good enough but get the bark off ASAP. The bugs and mold/spalting love the juicy wood under the bark.
    Just imagine 1\"/year in an outdoor covered place, not cooked in a shed Any 6\" diameter piece ought to be OK in 3 years.

    The real deal is that you have to establish a wood \"turn-over\" with some harvest every year, if you can pull that off.
    Brian T


    • #3
      Re: Wood seasoning question

      Hey if you have a carving in mind rough it out and leave plenty of ends on to trim off. The wood will dry better thinner and barkless at a much better rate. Waiting with bark on doesn\'t cut down on splitting, just attracts insects and mold.


      • #4
        Re: Wood seasoning question

        Maple has a tendency to become very hard when dry. Some carvers find it easier to carve in the green state. Perhaps you should try different approaches with various pieces. Start carving some, while slowly drying others. One (or more) approach(s) may be a mistake, but you won\'t lose all the wood to that choice.