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"preserving" a round???

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Shari, Feb 26, 2009.

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  1. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    I have a humongous maple round, probably around 36" diameter, that I would like to keep and use as an outdoor table on our patio. Any suggestions on how to 'preserve' this so it doesn't rot away or split?

    Shari

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  2. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Hi Shari I suppose you can start by elevating the bottom off the ground by standing it on some patio bricks....then maybe seal the top with an outdoor epoxy or other suitable finish. Maybe even a waterproof penetrating stain. Seems to me the bark will eventually shed...dunno how you can stabilize that. Someone here will.
  3. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Stopping something that big of diameter from splitting is going to be a huge chore. There are some methods that are reported to work - none I have seen personally. You may try googling "stop large wood round from splitting" and see what you come up with. I've heard of soaking in linseed oil, soaking in dish soap and drilling a hole in the center, but never seen anything that worked 100%

    One alternative may be to cut the thing up in 6-8 pieces like a pie, let it dry, then use some waterproof glue to put it back together. That might give an interesting pattern to the wood and control the splits.
  4. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    Good question Shari, I've wondered about that as well. I've got a nice "pancake" maple round I thought of doing something like that with. I also remember seeing this huge oak round that would've made a really cool piece, but didn't bother with it.
  5. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I am looking forward to having a 'table' on the patio that won't blow away! :)

    Shari
  6. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    I made a table out of a log once, but it had legs. It lasted a few years without cracking. It was at our camp on the river and the spring floods took it, so I'll never know if it cracked.
    On one end I sliced straight down four ways. In the shape of a pound sign #, to make the legs. I then hacked the center out with the saw. I think cutting away much of the mass kept it from cracking.
  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Keep it off the ground to prevent rot. Seal the ends with paint, wax, or a waterproof finish until it dries. Keep the bark on as long as possible. Keep the log longer than you want if possible, so that end checks may be removed later.

    Checking is caused by relatively fast drying. If the outside is drying quickly and the inside is still too moist, then the outside will shrink and crack to relieve strain. Slowing the drying down is key to keeping it from checking.

    Once it's stable and dry (could take a long time), seal it well to prevent the elements from screwing it up.
  8. JerseyWreckDiver

    JerseyWreckDiver New Member

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    PEG - Poly ethelyne Glycol - It's a wood preservative that wood turners use to keep large, green chunks of wood stable. It will prevent it from splitting, shrinking and rotting. You should be able to do a quick google search for it or look here http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=686 also woodturning/woodcarving supply shops. you just need to make a tank big enough to soak it in and it will have to soak for a long time to be tottally infused with the material. You can make a "tank" out a half ass wooden box and a sheet of epdm rubber, pool liner or something of that nature.


    Have fun.
  9. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    If you can keep a 36" round from splitting, without artificial intervention of some sort, it will be nothing short of a miracle. Wood shrinks almost exclusively along its width as it dries, shrinkage along the length (or thickness of a round) is nominal. Maple shrinkss about 4-10% along the growth rings.

    Why not "enjoy" the splits that occur? That is real wood. If you want something else, plastic would be the material of choice.
  10. Tree farmer

    Tree farmer New Member

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    I had someone tell me a salt bath works (salt replaces the water in the cells) for tree cookies, but you don't want to work the wood with any tools afterwords because they dull easily. Sounds like a cheap method though.
  11. bobfeather

    bobfeather Member

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    I have seen at local county fairs people that make tables out of huge rounds but they usually cut them about 6 inches thick & then cover completely in many coats of plastic or verathane, varnish etc to seal the entire round & preserve the wood inside
    not sure of the exact process but they sure make a very nice peice of furniture
    bob
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