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Thread: Paraffin wax or anchorseal for green lumber?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Frederick, CO - N. Denver

    Paraffin wax or anchorseal for green lumber?

    Any pros cons to either of these for green lumber?

    What about lumber "blocks" for say turning or bandsaw boxes? I seen in some of the big stores for the blocks they cover the entire block in wax, does that allow the wood to dry properly? Seems like at some point you seal in the moisture all together?


  2. #2
    I use an wax emulsion on my green lumber because I have it. Honestly, latex paint is a fine solution for lumber endgrain that costs less or nothing if you have some laying about.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Fort Collins, CO
    before I knew about Anchor Seal, I used parafin wax. It was a little labor intensive to melt it and apply it, but I had good success using it on wet wood. Lots of the bowl blanks and ends of lumber at hardwood retailers are dipped in some sort of wax.
    Man advances just in proportion that he mingles thought with his labor. - Ingersoll

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Both of those probably work just fine for lumber, but I'd be concerned about covering a freshly turning block with either. I'd be worried about mold growth. I know the blocks you see for sale are covered with wax, but I suspect they have already been dried and the wax is put on afterwards to prevent rapid changes in moisture as the block is shipped. Perhaps someone here knows the whole story.

    I've milled several thousand BF of lumber and have used latex paint, as another poster said, with no problems. I paint the end of the logs as soon as I get them, and then a day or so later with another coat. I've had no abnormal checking or staining. I'm told aluminum roofing cement works great but I'm not going to pay for it as long as "free" latex paint works so well. Certainly, I wouldn't do this on a turning blank, but it works great for lumber.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Edwardsville, IL.
    If you are cutting thick blocks for turning and can use the wax.. I would go that way. The idea is to keep the moisture in as much as poss. until you are ready to work with it. I recently lost about 15 solid walnut blocks about 8" to 12" radius I cut down the middle (pith) then coated with 2 coats of anchorseal. They were placed in a cool place out of the sun. About 2 months later I went to turn some and found they had split like crazy. They are now firewood material. The guys who do a lot of green turning could probably give you the best info.

  6. #6
    For logs, I've used latex paint and had some cracking. I've not had any cracking with different waxes.

    Thru my business I get a lot of types of candle waxes, and have tried many of them. They all work fine.

    I think it's best to melt some in mineral spirits. I melt enough such that when it cools it's brushable but thicker than paint. If it starts to separate in the can - which it can depending on how pure the paraffin is - then a little stir will emulsify it enough to spread. Having it brushable results in an even thin coat. I double coat crack prone areas, like the end grain or pith area.

    You can improve the wax's ability to stay solubilized in the mineral spirits by using a softer wax - or even old candles that leave a fingerprint when you press on them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    St. Louis
    When I cut logs down to size, I use Anchorseal to seal them. On wood I put a lot of value in, I coat the entire block - the end grain twice.
    Where did I put that tape measure...

  8. #8
    Last fall I split out some green maple blanks to use to make new turning chisel handles. I roughed them out and dipped the ends in a 50% diluted mix of eurathane and thinner. This thinned solution penetrates about 1/8". After the ends dried I moved these maple blanks directly into the house that I heat with a wood stove. I let let them dry for three months and did not get even one crack. So save your old eurathane in a separate container. It worked just fine for me and you usually lose a small amount of eurathane in the bottom of the cans anyway. I would NOT store these containers with mixed thinner inside of your shop. Put them outside before the weather gets warm.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Tyler, Texas
    Anchorseal is one of the most effective and easiest to apply end sealers available. Latex paint is not an effective end sealer as it is meant to allow water vapor to escape. There is no need to coat the entire piece, just the end-grain, whether it be a log or a turning blank. (yes, I know many commercially sold blanks are coated entirely)

    Wood loses moisture through the end grain much, much faster than it does through the long grain. Once the MC of the wood drops below about 30%, the water that saturates the cell walls (bound water) begins drying and the wood starts shrinking, which causes cracks. Above 30% MC, the wood will not check and warp.

    The following are recommended as end-coating of logs and lumber by Dr. Eugene Wengert, Professor Emeritus and Extension Specialist in wood processing at the Department of Forestry, University of wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Wengert is the guru of drying lumber.

    Satisfactory end coatings include water-based wax, asphalt-based roofing cement, aluminum paint in a spar-varnish base, and paraffin.

    Logmaster LM-1 sawmill, 30 hp Kioti tractor w/ FEL, Stihl 290 chainsaw, 300 bf cap. Solar Kiln

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Southport, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by travis howe View Post
    Any pros cons to either of these for green lumber?

    What about lumber "blocks" for say turning or bandsaw boxes? I seen in some of the big stores for the blocks they cover the entire block in wax, does that allow the wood to dry properly? Seems like at some point you seal in the moisture all together?
    AS I recall, Anchorseal is a water emulsified paraffin wax. It probably makes little difference which you use. The Anchorseal is probably easier to apply.

    Yes, some turning blocks are encased with a thick coating of wax. This is particularly true of expensive tropical hardwoods. The reason is to keep the moisture from migrating out of the block. If the block starts to dry out, it will crack and split. It's also easier to work on a lathe when the wood is full of moisture.

    I would avoid exterior latex paint. It's a myth that it will work to end-seal boards. Latex paint is designed to allow moisture to readily migrate through it so that the more moist inside house air can escape without causing the exterior paint to bubble, crack and lose adhesion. The whole idea with end-sealing is prevent ANY transfer of moisture out the end of a a board. Instead, the moisture will be forced to escape through the sides of the board only. That way the whole board dries essentially at the same rate and splitting and checking will be minimized.

    Another point about end-sealing. If it is not done within a few hours of harvesting (no more than a day), it will not serve any purpose. A lot of moisture escapes in a very short time.
    Last edited by Howard Acheson; 02-28-2011 at 12:27 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    I used Greed Wood Sealer from Craft Supplies (Craft USA now). Worked fine on both end grain of logs and rough turned bowls, which ended up pretty much entirely coated.

    It's nearly the same as Anchorseal, or might even be exactly the same stuff differently branded.

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