• Harold Bowern

The journey through freshly harvested wood continues..

Updated: Jun 24

Continuing on with the theme of working and turning wet wood, about a month ago I had a call from my son that the tall Butternut tree that he had at the back of his property had been suffering from internal rot. He contacted an arborist to have them advise him on what to do with the tree. The arborist after studying the tree advised him that form a safety view point it should be taken down.

The tree was quite old, and the internal rot had started to migrate outwards. They took the tree down in sections to avid any mishaps for his and adjacent neighbouring properties. From the pictures you can see some of the wood was perfectly OK and the best pieces, ranging in sizes from 2” to 14” diameter. We stacked a selection of the better solid log sections, approx. 3 feet long, in a pile which 2 x 4 frameworks below to ensure the wood was off the ground. I was also able to rough cut bowl blanks by splitting some of the larger trunk pieces.

Now it was time to seal the end grain to stop cracking from the pith of the log pieces. The pith of the log is the area has a greater tendency to crack than the rest of the wood in the drying process and is the center section of the tree trunk or branches. You can visually see this section as the normal growth rings radiate from that section. You would apply the sealing solution, as in the case I have, which is newly processed logs that I am going to stack and air dry, or after you have milled and processed the wood pieces to remove the pith and make your future turning blank or after you have rough turned your processed into bowl or box blanks.

As an aside note at this point, rough turning your piece means that you have roughly shaped your work into a form that you will complete at some point in the future after the piece has lost most of its moisture. There is a whole process to determine the amount to turn away so that you will be able to remount the piece. I will cover this in a future BLOG post.

I had researched some solutions to be used as an end grain sealer. Those included, using a commercial end grain sealer, such as Anchor Seal, using latex paint, and using woodworkers glue. The idea of the sealing process is to stop the wood from forming cracks, in the end grain, during the drying process.

For my application on the Butternut logs and the rough-cut bowl blanks, I used a cheap 3” paint brush and woodworkers glue. I first used a broom and dusted off the shavings left by the chainsaw. Then I liberally applied a thick coat of glue into the end grain. The glue soaked into the end grain fibers of each log. The logs pile was then covered with a tarp to keep the summer weather off the logs. The bowl blanks I made were brought back to my shop for some processing and storage until I want to try turning them.

So ends this adventure for the Butternut tree finds

See you on back at the Workshop!

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