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How do I prepare a walnut slice for end table?

10552 Views 52 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  bryansong
I got a slice of walnut a couple of inches thick and a couple of feet in diameter yesterday when the woodsmen cut down the neighbors tree next door. I'd like to make an end table for my mother so I'd like to know how to prepare the wood as to keep it from cracking. I was told by the woodman I needed to sand it and poly it pretty fast or it'd crack but I I'm afraid it's too wet to sand very well. I'd also like to take the bark off and router the edge making it look more finished.

How do you think I should handle this?

Bryan
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is the wood still green???
is it all end grain???
is the wood still green???
is it all end grain???
Yes and yes. It was a healthy growing tree. It is all end grain, a cross cut slice of the trunk.
let it dry for 3 or 4 years and get back to us if it isn't all split and checked..
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Bryan; I think what Stick was trying to say, in his unique style ( ; ), was that the wood is going to shrink, you can't stop it from doing that. Moisture travels vertically in the tree through almost microscopic channels; very little can move outwards towards the bark.
Prevailing wisdom has been, for logs at least, to get the bark off as soon as possible to prevent insect damage and rot. In the case of a round section the bark isn't going to prevent shrinkage, so for the bug and rot reasons, personally I'd strip the bark off...way easier when it's 'green'. As for slowing down the rapid drying through the end grain, sealing it with one of the products made specifically for the purpose is worth a try. I think the way it's stored is going to be hugely important.
Because the wood will lose moisture from both end grain faces, I think it's going to dry way faster than a plank would.

Lee Valley End Sealer for Logs - Lee Valley Tools

Oh! And before I forget, the new Lee Valley catalogue is out!! :)

Lee Valley Tools - Online Catalog
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url=http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?cat=1,190,42942&p=20099]Lee Valley End Sealer for Logs - Lee Valley Tools[/url]

Oh! And before I forget, the new Lee Valley catalogue is out!! :)

Lee Valley Tools - Online Catalog[/QUOTE]


Dan,

So do you think I should remove the bark, buy sealer and seal both top and bottom then leave it in my cool dry basement shop garage for the period of a few years until it's dry, then I can sand it down to size and fashion it into a piece of fine furniture?
I can do that, at least the first few parts of that question.

I'll order the sealer right away.
Thank you.
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Bryan; I'm the wrong guy to give you a definitive answer but if it were me that's exactly what I'd do. I think I'd make sure there was air flow across both faces, ie not lay it flat on the concrete. Put some narrow strips under the bottom face.
(concrete doesn't like wood! Bad s**t happens when they're in close contact.)

I'd be pretty surprised if it wasn't below 20% moisture content in a year. It's not thick and the exposed face area is enormous relative to the cubic volume of wood. What's the moisture content at right now?
Keep a record; maybe check once a month(?). I think everyone would be interested in how it's working out.
At the very least you'll have some nice Walnut for end grain cutting boards. :)
http://www.swst.org/edu/teach/teach1/structure1.pdf

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I'll order the sealer right away.
Thank you.
so far so good..
use wax on the end grain only... bee or canning wax but not generic candle wax...

...

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so far so good..
use wax on the end grain only... bee or canning wax but not generic candle wax...

...
Not so good yet, I can't order this item from Lee Valley according to Lee Valley. It says I have to purchase from my local dealer but I have no local dealer. (I contacted customer support via email)
That person wrote

"
Thank you for your inquiry. The End Sealer is only available at our retail store locations. Unfortunately, we cannot ship it to the US as it is a consumer’s commodity and we do not have the required labelling. We searched the Internet and found the following Websites which may be of interest to you: "

http://uccoatings.com/products/anchorseal/
Canadian Log Home Supply - UV BOOST: Stain Additive to Reduce UV Damage to Wood for log homes in Canada.
https://www.permachink.com/wood-finishes/log-end-seal

I need to make another selection on a sealer. What about some other paint sealer I can buy at a Home Depot or Lowes, water base I hope?
I got some sealer at Rockler, about a 4,000 year supply. Green Wood End Sealer-Select Option - Rockler Woodworking Tools, $17 by the quart.

A few years ago we had a Cottonwood removed (a weed, really) and kept a few of the 3-4 foot sections of trunk. We used a couple for outdoor tables. Stripped of the bark. They have cracked, but it's yard art. Don't be disappointed if yours does the same, even with this stuff on it.

Were you able to get any logs? Slice and dry those and you could have some nice lunber in a year or two. Even 2 ft long pieces will give you some nice stock for small projects. You guys holding up with the storms?
what are you talking about Bryan???
move to the head of the class and use wax....
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what are you talking about Bryan???
move to the head of the class and use wax....
You mean Wax it wax it instead of anything else?
You mean Wax it wax it instead of anything else?
yes...
real wax as in bee wax or canning wax... not paste wax or candles.....
read the PDF...
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Bryan; be careful where you get your beeswax from! No problem with it but some suppliers think it's Royal Jelly or something; waaaay overcharging. It should come in around $8 -$10 for a pkg. the size of a butter brick. Canning wax is even cheaper.
A lot easier to find this time of year as well (canning season).
The nice thing about beeswax is it's so pleasant to work with...nice mild scent as well.
I get mine from a beekeeper but it's not hard to find sources.
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Great, wax it is. Thank you all.
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Sorry to be a naysayer, but I don't think there's anything you can do to keep such a large piece of end cut from splitting, and badly. The wood must eventually dry to equilibrium with its surroundings no matter how much you slow the process. When it does eventually dry, the wood shrinks in the tangential direction about twice as much as it does in the radial direction. That's just too much shrinkage to be accommodated without cracking an end cut much larger than an iced tea coaster.
Our local kiln dry guy burnt his kiln down. :(
use the cracks, splits and fissures as character accents...
use a dehumidifier and kiln dry it yourself...
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