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Thread: How to season log section

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Central Pennsylvania
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    How to season log section

    Question- I have two billets of bradford pear, 12-18" diameter, 16-20" long. I would like to season them for turnings, tool handles, etc. Should I paint the ends, split them, leave them whole? Any recommendations?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Northern Arizona
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    649
    Quote Originally Posted by William Flather View Post
    Question- I have two billets of bradford pear, 12-18" diameter, 16-20" long. I would like to season them for turnings, tool handles, etc. Should I paint the ends, split them, leave them whole? Any recommendations?
    More attention will be given to your question if placed in the Turner's Forum but I would definitely seal the end grains of the whole logs until deciding how to proceed with preparing them for turning. Many here like to use Anchorseal, a wax based concoction. Paint is better than nothing but doesn't seem to work as well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
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    16
    Thanks Steve, I was hoping someone would suggest a better location for my question, I'll definitely re-post there.

  4. #4
    I prefer to paint the ends with old latex paint since I always have some around and then I like to break it down on the bandsaw into dimensional lumber. It will dry faster this way too. Most lumber will end up with a radial split if you try to dry it whole.

    However, pear wood is pretty stable and you might get it dry without splitting. In fact, you might not have to do anything but cut blanks and sticker it. This time of year it will lose moisture slower due to lower temperatures and drying too fast in the initial stage causes the worst of the splitting.

    I painted a walnut log with silver asphalt roof paint and had zero end checks. I was very impressed with it. But I donít have any laying around any more.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    7,054
    This gets asked fairly often on the turners forum - you might try a search.

    Basically, you can't dry log sections of most species whole without them splitting and cracking. At minimum cut or split down the middle through the pith. If possible, cut around the pith too to remove some of the less-stable juvenile wood. I cut such pieces into turning squares and bowl blanks, cut away any existing cracks, wax the ends with Anchorseal (available at Woodcraft and elsewhere), and put on wire shelves to dry. Large pieces can take years to dry. Smaller squares can be dry in a few months depending on the species and the environment. I process a LOT of wood like this with a very high success rate, even with larger pieces.

    drying_IMG_5757.jpg ambrosia_maple_IMG_20171202_175649_933.jpg

    The purpose of sealing the end grain is to slow down the drying - without slowing it the ends dry out and shrink faster than the middle causing cracks to open to relieve the internal stress. Anchorseal is good because it is both easy to apply and very effective - it is a paraffin wax/water emulsion - the water dries leaving a layer of wax. You can seal with some other things including paint, but keep in mind that latex paint lets moisture through so the piece might dry faster but can also be more likely to crack. Two or three coats of latex would be better. Better would be oil-based paint. Some people double bag the pieces in paper bags. Some people put them in plastic bags then every day take them out and reverse the bags - this puts them in dry bag every day and prevents degrading by fungus. (this method works well but is the most labor intensive!)

    JKJ

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