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  • Drying Basswood Rounds

    I have just received several 'fresh' basswood rounds, and am trying to get them dried, without having them crack, or have the bark crack off. They were just cut late this fall and are still quite frozen.

    Any suggestions on a sure-fire way to dry these without cracking and checking?

    Al

  • #2
    Re: Drying Basswood Rounds

    Al,
    If its in the round you I dont think you will be able to stop it from cracking. I have tried many times I have used many things but when it dries out it always checks. Certainly you can slow down the checking but it is my experience that it will always crack. Even when I dry it for a few years and there are very few checks once you start to take wood away it checks further. I have heard that by soaking it in anti-freeze that it will stop the checking but that sounds like dangerous to me. If you ever find out how to stop it please let me know. Wood drys from the inside out so that why it checks so when the heart wood drys out it shrinks and so contracts and pulls on the sap wood cracking it.
    Colin

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    • #3
      Re: Drying Basswood Rounds

      Thanks for the input, Colin, but I guess I didn't explain this well enough......these are 1 1/4' thick round sections of a basswood trunk, meant for relief carving or placques. I know they can be dried, because you can buy these darn things in hobby stores, taxidermy supplies, and carving supply sources. I've dried a bunch of small birch rounds up to 4' diameter (1/4' thick) with limited sucess......some crack, some don't, so I haven't figured out what the relevant factors are.

      I know drying whole round section of logs without cracking is darn near impossible, but these 'rounds' should be 'dryable'.

      Right now I've got them stacked & stickered, and am hoping fore the best, but was wishing someone had some ideas on this. If my way works, I know the answer, but it's all up in the air till the drying process is done (probably a month or more).

      Al










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      • #4
        Re: Drying Basswood Rounds

        Hi Al,
        Haven't tried this with Basswood, but I have dried rough turned bowls with sides about 1 inch thick in the Microwave.
        Using 15 - 20 second shots. Let cool completely between cooks. I over cooked one and the outside became very hard. There was some warpage.

        Heard of drying in a frost free refrigerator.

        Ron A.

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        • #5
          Re: Drying Basswood Rounds

          haven't tried drying anything, just put in shop and leave them alone! but I did coat the ends of some aspen with polyurethane to seal and they didn't crack, also hear you can coat with wax to seal to slow the evaporation of water in the wood...I think thats what causes cracks! if you do find out for sure...please post! thanks

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          • #6
            Re: Drying Basswood Rounds

            Thanks, everyone......I just emailed the USFS wood products lab in Madison, Wisconsin with this question and for some information on the dynamics of drying wood of all shapes, sizes, cuts, etc. I've asked them before on some other issues and got pretty comprehensive reports back (far more than I needed to know) so I figure in about a week or so I'll get a good sized packet in the mail. If there is anything in that worth passing along, I'll either post it directly here or post a link.

            thanks again

            Al

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            • #7
              Re: Drying Basswood Rounds

              ALA, I have dried sassafrass, hickory, williow walking sticks using parraffin(SP) wax on the ends with success. However, they were usually 6 foot long. Melt the wax down and give it a try. May work on that thin of wood.

              Best to you.
              Safety first, then enjoy carving! Ken Caney, Ks

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