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Thread: Soaking Wood In Water

  1. #1

    Question Soaking Wood In Water

    I have done a good bit of searching but not getting information that is helpful. I had to trim back my Mesquite and have several logs (2' Long X 8" across) that can be cut down for some small turnings.

    Here in Tucson it is 109 degrees today with about 14% humidity (few clouds today) would be around 8%

    My question, I put the logs into a container and filled it with water, will this keep the logs from splitting out? Seems I have read some articles about submerged logs and they are fine.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I've heard of doing the water soak but I think that it's an unnecessary mess. I lived near Tucson for 20 years and turned a lot of mesquite. Never had a problem.....First, mesquite is probably the most stable wood in North America. Get some wood sealer on the end grain and keep it in a cool dry place. Okay, so you're in Tucson, at least keep it out of the hot sun.

    Use real wood sealer not latex paint.

  3. #3
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    I'll bow to Wally on Mesquite, as my knowledge of that wood is certainly smaller then his.
    However with wet/fresh Madrone it's nearly a requirement. Madrone can be nearly 50% by weight, water.
    I have a couple hundred pounds of Madrone under water right now.
    Making sawdust mostly, sometimes I get something else, but that is more by accident then design.

  4. #4
    Yeah, I know nothing about mesquite either, but I have been known to throw a couple of chunks of local wood into my spring for safe keeping until I get the time to tend to it properly. In fact I have a couple of Poplar crotch sections in the water right now, been there for a couple of weeks and I dare say they will have zero checks when I take them out of the water.

  5. #5
    Well, keep it out of sun and wind for sure. If it is local, it will probably be okay for a bit, but I would want it shaded and covered at least. Fresh cut madrone will sink in water, and it starts to split when or before you fire up the chainsaw. If you sink it in a mill pond for a year or so, that does almost the same thing as boiling, but at a much slower pace. I have heard of using latex paint, and then while it is thick and wet, slap some plastic over it. It will stick to the plastic, and the plastic seals it. I wish we had more mesquite here....

    robo hippy

  6. #6
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    Total immersion will preserve wood forever. Remember the old mill ponds. They still give up superb wood. I keep most of my wood in water for long storage. Hate to turn dry wood yeah.

  7. #7
    Thanks All, I appreciate the input. You guys really help me learn a lot.

    So, I do not suppose that a dried log can be re-hydrated using the submersion method?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Lindberg View Post
    I'll bow to Wally on Mesquite, as my knowledge of that wood is certainly smaller then his.
    However with wet/fresh Madrone it's nearly a requirement. Madrone can be nearly 50% by weight, water.
    I have a couple hundred pounds of Madrone under water right now.
    I doubt if there is a wood in North Americas that is more UNSTABLE than madrone.

  9. #9
    The short answer is No, you cannot re-hydrate a log. Water will only re-absorb into the third spaces around the cells, and not the cells themselves.

  10. #10
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    It doesn't cut like green wood as sap is different from water but an old bone dry oak piece or burl gets a month in my brides water lily pond before I attempt to cut it.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Gillaspy View Post
    The short answer is No, you cannot re-hydrate a log. Water will only re-absorb into the third spaces around the cells, and not the cells themselves.
    I should have know the answer to my question as in my BBQ world I had soaked smaller limbs and chunks for smoking meat to have the chunks last longer, that really did not work out. The moisture really only soaks in less than 1/2". So I stopped that process. Thanks for the help.

  12. #12
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    Be patience--takes months to dry-right.

  13. #13
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    A friend received a large (est. 400 lb) birch burl from an underwater logging operation (recovering sunken white pine) in Northern Wisc. It was estimated that the burl had been under water for about 100 years. He brought it to Az where I helped him cut it up for turning. I got a few of the blanks. It was some of the most beautiful wood I've ever turned. Perfectly preserved in Lake Superior for all that time.

  14. #14
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    Wow--very nice. I have some old resinous longleaf pine from a river bottom. Here in the south it is a premium priced flooring wood. Very high demand, price, and beauty.

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