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  • how do i dry wet wood

    I'm very new at wood carving and hope to carve bookends out of some old stumps, now is there a special way to dry the wood or is it the feared leave it outside and wait method??
    I'm hoping someone will have an informed answer(but any will do!!) thanks rich

  • #2
    Re: how do i dry wet wood

    Rich,
    You can do a number of things you can as you say leave it outside and let it dry. I prefer to let it dry in the shed or somewhere it doesnt keep getting wet. You can also have it kiln dried that will elimintate some of the checking. No matter what you do unless you cut it into strips and laminate it it will check somewhat. If you wish you could carve it wet but then again it will check almost immediatly when you start to carve it. The best method as long as the stumps are not too thick is to cut it square and then dip the ends into parafine wax this as long as the pieces are not too thick will stop it from checking. Having said that it also depends on the wood you are carving some woods check worse that others.
    Hope that this has helped somewhat I think the bottom line is that unless you have it professionally done is is going to check some.
    Colin

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    • #3
      Re: how do i dry wet wood

      I am better at wetting dry wood! LOL I just put the wood in my shop and let it sit!

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      • #4
        Re: how do i dry wet wood

        Rich,
        I have recently been spending more time woodturning than carving. The people in turning forums are very inventive in thier theories to dry wood faster than Mother Nature may have provided for. Here are a few I have been reading about:

        Soaping: they soak wet roughed out wood in a solution of 50/50 liquid dishsoap and water for 1 day to 1 month, then finish the project.

        Microwave: they nuke the wood at low power for 1 to 2 minutes and then watch the weight of the block, repeating every couple hours until the block stops losing weight.

        Chemical: There are products to stabilize wet wood which require you to soak the block for some period of time.

        I tried the Soaping method on a piece of maple. It failed. With the same maple I used the more accepted cut a paint the ends like Colin suggested. That failed too. My wife expressed her concerns about the microwave method, and I could buy several carving or turning blanks for the price of the stabilizer so I think I will stick to boughten materials.
        Ah Chip

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        • #5
          Re: how do i dry wet wood

          I never had much luck drying wood. I know there are several ways to do it but even the polyglycol (sp) that I bought never worked as good as advertised. I get a very large stump and let it sit out of the weather and let it air dry for a year and then split it and hope for the best.
          Have fun with your food, eat with your fingers!

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          • #6
            Re: how do i dry wet wood

            i would think that there are many variables to drying.a few of
            us got a large quantity of Bass wood logs from someone who had cut down a tree.we coated the ends and stored in an unheated garage for 16months they all checked and when we tried to cut them into blocks we were able to get goodpieces from 4-6' in the center of a lenth without splits or checks.i have some other pieces of wood(manitoba maple)that i hope to turn that i just left in a shed no special treatment and when i last check they where fine.i quess sometimes you and sometimes you end up with alot of fire wood

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            • #7
              Re: how do i dry wet wood

              ooops-sometimes you win and sometimes you end up with alot of firewood

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              • #8
                Re: how do i dry wet wood

                If you let it sit for a little while, you will see some checking starting to develope. Once that happens take some wedges and split the log lengthwise where the major checking is taking place. The key is use wedges rather than trying to saw it and let it split along the check line. Then store is warm (not hot) dry place and let sit for a couple three years. No guarantee, but most of the checking will be suppressed.

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                • #9
                  Re: how do i dry wet wood

                  I have coated some wet pieces with 'Pentacryl' that seemed to prevent checking. Most of the carvings were relatively small and I did not try any without the chemical added, so it's hard to say if it was actually helping. It can be bought from Woodcraft. It has a orangy smell and is a little oily until it penetrates the wood, but seems to be harmless otherwise. It does change the texture of the wood, so I'm sure it does something to the wood.

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