Sealing green wood.

Mark J

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If you have an un-turned lump of green wood that you don't want to rough out immediately: 

What product(s) do you use to seal it up to keep it from splitting?

Do you seal the entire surface or just the end grain?  I suppose you can't seal the bark if you want to use it.

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The rest of the tree. ^_^

If you're hoping for bowls of diameter x, leave the log long enough that, when it checks, the cracks won't run deep enough to hurt the part you'd like to keep.  If the log has already been crosscut into lengths equal to the width of the bowl you intend to turn, you're pretty much hosed.

At the very least, rip the log in half to obliterate the pith and that should help.  A specialty product such as Anchor Seal might buy you a little insurance.  Some leftover house paint on the end grain doesn't hurt and might slow things down a bit.  But none of this is a silver bullet.  If the wood really wants to do stupid things, no force on earth will stop it.

I've driven past entire trees worth of walnut.  If I can't do right by the logs and process them promptly, it's not worth the time to harvest them.

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I use Rockler's Anchor seal clone. Just because I can pick it up locally.

I typically process the log into a pair of bowl blanks and just seal the end grain.

If I get something I can't process right away, I just seal the ends and stick it in a garbage bag to try to reduce the moisture loss. Sometimes that works sometimes it doesn't.

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On 5/9/2018 at 9:50 PM, thatCharlieDude said:

I've also read that you can use latex paint to seal wood. 

It kind of works?  I suppose it's better than nothing.  But I have a stack of holly bowl blanks downstairs that were sealed with latex paint and it didn't seem to help at all.   All of them lost half their mass in a month and all developed cracks.  (Had I been forward thinking, I could have left one unsealed as a control.  Alas.)  I have a pile of bolts quartered off a downed cherry tree from 2016.  All of those were sealed on the ends with latex paint and all of them checked rather deeply.  Alas, again.  And I have some short bolts from a downed walnut tree that I didn't bother to seal at all.  Hardly any checking at all.  Go figure.

The goal is to slow down the drying process so that the entire lump of lignum can reach equilibrium moisture content together.  My mistake was storing them in the basement which was, this spring, clearly far dryer than I thought.  No sealant on the wood was going to help me, since the air was ripping moisture off the surface far faster than the moisture could move from the outside.

On 5/9/2018 at 3:01 PM, RileyD said:

If I get something I can't process right away, I just seal the ends and stick it in a garbage bag to try to reduce the moisture loss. Sometimes that works sometimes it doesn't.

And many times it'll leave you with a fuzzy, stinky mess of mildew all over the place.  Ask me how I know.

It's not that these are bad ideas, it's just that there is no silver bullet.  Process the wood promptly, store it in a moderate climate, and then just be lucky.

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