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  • Eastern Hemlock

    I just started chainsaw carving and I carved some Christmas style trees. They were paint the same day but recently started to get cracks. The tree is an eastern Hemlock for Pennsylvania. Any advice on what to do different would help.
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  • #2
    Very nice job on the carving.
    Mark N. Akers
    My Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KarolinaKarver

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    • #3
      Nice work.

      I don’t know the first thing about Eastern Hemlock but I’m assuming the wood was a little green. If it was that is kind of the chances you take. I would also think that painting green wood may not be a great idea.

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      • #4
        Are you working with fresh cut wood? Sealant and stabilizers can help in preventing your wood from splitting. Can take multiple coats. Fallow product instructions. This time of year it can to stabilize wood withe temperature swings also bring wood into the house that is not dried because of the dry heated air .
        We live in the land of the free because of the brave! Semper Fi
        https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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        • #5
          Cracks or no cracks, that's nice work and color. This is a conifer (Tsuga canadensis) and the wood is very weak and prone to dry cracking. Ring shake and star shake cracking in the living trees.

          Please tell me a story about the log that you used. For dead stuff, wood moves. If this is/was a fresh wet log, there's not much you can do but watch it crack while it dries. Is there a "front" side that you like best? If so, down the back, right to the core of the log, make a big vertical saw cut. This will relieve a lot of the drying/cracking stress. Also, it's a fine channel for running light cords!

          In the meantime, try to brush some paint into the cracks to be less noticeable.
          Brian T

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          • #6
            The trees were cut down 2 weeks prior to carving. I cut all the logs to length I needed. I haven't been carving for about a week and still trying to learn as much as possible about the handling and caring of the wood carvings. I painted most of them but tried a deck oil for a few to see how they turned out going to wait another week to see how they turn out.
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            • #7
              Should I use a deck sealer prior to painting. And does anyone have any recommendations?

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              • #8
                All the cracks look to be following the shape of your tree. Rather than try to Fix it I would carve down the cracks giving them a little shape to blend in with the rest of the tree. It should just add a little more texture and depth to the structure of it. Once happy and the splitting looked to have stabilised I would run some very fine CYA glue down the cracks to prevent further cracking and touch up with paint.

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                • #9
                  Thanks. I think I will give that a try.

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                  • #10
                    Wood takes years per inch of thickness to dry. I have had good luck drying Aspen by removing the bark, sealing the end grain drilling a 1” hole through the pith and waiting a few years.

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                    • #11
                      Very nice carving and detail. Like the looks.
                      Bill
                      Living among knives and fire.

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                      • #12
                        Really like your trees! To me, the cracking doesn't distract, as was mentioned, add paint.

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                        • #13
                          It's been my experience that coniferous trees tend to have more sap and for whatever reason tend to split excessively when curing. Sealing the ends of the logs as Nebraska suggested might be a good way to go.

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                          • #14
                            I think I would just thin some paint and try to get it down in the cracks. You did a great job on the carving of those trees.
                            If I took the time to fix all my mistakes, I wouldn,t have time to make new ones.

                            www.spokanecarvers.com

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                            • #15
                              Eastern Hemlock wood anatomy lends itself to cracking and splitting, rough lumber uses only.
                              Most other conifers are not so prone to this. I tend to see cracking as a measure of old age (like me).

                              One thing though, by jumping into the carving, it relieves a lot of stress and increases internal drying surface area. Lots of undercuts across the grain. Maybe the cracking won't be too severe.
                              Brian T

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