Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sealing wood ends to prevent cracking.

As you all know, shortly after cutting any type of wood, it will begin to crack. If you store your wood in a place where it is at all dry this can happen overnight. Apple and Cherry will crack in just a few hours indoors, sometimes the ends will split several inches and ruin the whole piece. There are several ways to slow this down and sometimes prevent it from happening. In the past I've melted wax in an deep electric skillet. Then I would dip both ends of the piece. This absolutely works great, but you have to have a goodly supply of wax, candles etc... around and it really only works for the ends or small (whole) pieces. About two years ago I switched to a product called Anchor Seal. It is a liquid wax that air dries in an hour or so, sometimes shorter depending on the storage facility. The advantage over melting wax is that you can brush it into hard to get at places. This is especially good for coating all the small branch ends cut off of a walking stick. I will cut 20 or 30 walking sticks in a weekend and immediately coat both ends and any branch cut offs and put them on a drying rack. Sometimes the ends will drip if I put too much on so I put a couple of sheets of newspaper on the floor under each end. When I get ready to carve, the wax can either be scraped off or the ends can be put into warm water for a minute or so and most if the wax will wipe off. Also if I am carving wood that is still green, I will coat the carved area with the liquid wax if I cannot finish the piece in one sitting. I've had noses and beards split too badly to be repaired letting wood dry too quickly.