Preventing green wood from cracking

icyboyedy(Z8 CA sunset11)March 14, 2005

I have a lot of thick tree branches that I pruned off my apricot tree which I would like to make into tool handles. I noticed that a lot of old branches from last year are cracked on the ends where they were cut. How can I prevent them from cracking?

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huisjen(z5 ME)

Wood turners use polyethylene glycol to keep big chunks of wood for turning from cracking. Try Woodworker's Supply or maybe even your local hardware store, if it's a good one.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 8:10AM
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Eric_in_Japan(z7 Japan)

If your branches are big enough, you can let them season and crack, and then shape tool handles out of the parts of the branch that didn't crack.

Do you think the cracking is coming from uneven drying? Do the old branches still have bark on them? Maybe if you remove the bark, it might not crack (key word, "Maybe") Then again, it may make the situation worse.

Eric in Japan

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 10:34AM
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joel_bc(z6 BC)

An old-fashioned method would be to dip the ends of the wood in bee's wax, and dry the wood out of the sunshine and not close to any "point-source" of heat (like a wood stove, furnace register, etc.) Wood's natural tendency is to dry from the ends, due to how wood cells are structured. Sealing the ends results in a gradual drying.

A long time ago, I dried a pile of 2-inch thick, "green" birch boards cut by a local small mill. I painted the ends with thick paint, piling the wood (with stickers between layers) in a shed for shade and good airflow. It worked well.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 9:45AM
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icyboyedy(Z8 CA sunset11)

Thanks, guess I'm gonna have to wait til next year's prunings to try these techniques.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 11:39PM
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