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Bill Yacey

Drying green wood

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I just purchased some recently felled, split Engelmann Spruce. Any advice on drying this? I was going to seal up the ends with Lepages PL premium Glue and then resaw it into billets, sticker it and let it dry in an unheated shed.

Any tips or concerns with my proposed plan?

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8 hours ago, Bill Yacey said:

I just purchased some recently felled, split Engelmann Spruce. Any advice on drying this? I was going to seal up the ends with Lepages PL premium Glue and then resaw it into billets, sticker it and let it dry in an unheated shed.

Any tips or concerns with my proposed plan?

20191018_192016.jpg

20191018_192036.jpg

20191018_192306.jpg

wood_1.jpg

wood_2.jpg

wood_3.jpg

packshot-front-teaser-canada-lepage-pl-p

 

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First and foremost get the bark off before bringing it into your shop!!

Commercial log sealers such as "Anchorseal"  available from logging supply companies are very effective and can be used by dipping the ends of the billets or applied with a brush or even sprayed if you have lots to do. I have cut mostly maple and after the ends are sealed I stack "log cabin style" and then blow gentle cool air through the stacks for an hour or so to get the surface water off. On maple you see an immediate color change that tells you the surface is dry. I don't know if that step is required for spruce. Then storing in an unheated dry area where it won't freeze for several years and only then into the shop itself.

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3 hours ago, Ethan Ford Heath said:

What does freezing do, cause cracks and splits...? or is there an acoustical issue of some sort?

I was curious about freezing too. The logger that I got this from advised me freezing won't cause cracking at all, and everything I have read in my violin literature shows that the wood is sheltered outside to dry.

He did advise the sooner I can cut it into billets, the better.

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In "recent tradition", a quick dip of the end into a pot of molten wax has had high favor, when high volumes of wood were being processed.

For "little guys" like me, brushing or finger-applying a moisture-barrier paint, or even Titebond,  has seemed to work out quite well.

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Any thoughts on the freezing issue?

I like the PL glue, I can just dispense a blob in the endgrain and spread it out with a putty knife. In addition to sealing the endgrain, it will also bind the wood together.

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On ‎10‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 8:12 AM, Ethan Ford Heath said:

What does freezing do, cause cracks and splits...? or is there an acoustical issue of some sort?

it depends how much water is in the wood. if there is free water between the cells that freezes it can cause internal checking which may not be visible but will effect sound . After the free water is gone it may not make any difference but I think it's best to not expose tone wood to extreme temperatures.

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On ‎10‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 1:24 PM, David Burgess said:

In "recent tradition", a quick dip of the end into a pot of molten wax has had high favor, when high volumes of wood were being processed.

For "little guys" like me, brushing or finger-applying a moisture-barrier paint, or even Titebond,  has seemed to work out quite well.

David,

I've seen a lot of wood wasted by assuming molten wax will  seal because  often the wax doesn't really bind to the wood and  can be pulled or peeled right off once the wood starts to dry. The commercial wax emulsion log sealers are thinner and actually soak in a few mm. on the end grain. I  make sure to cut off the sealed part when prepping the billet for gluing.

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Anchor seal is great, and I've used buckets of it with success.  But you probably don't want to buy a gallon.  If dipping in wax, you have to hold it in the hot wax until the wood gets hot enough for the wax to adhere.  White glue or Titebond is OK.  However,  I don't usually seal spruce,. Instead we cut the billets long to allow for later trimming.  If it's prone to cracking, I want to know. Yes , remove bark and absolutely store outside with good airflow.  I've never had issues from freezing.  I like to hang maple when possible, but for spruce, which goes to EMC relatively fast, "log cabin" stack is just fine.  

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The few times I stashed fresh spruce I sealed it with ordinary latex paint, just dipped the ends in te bucket. Worked great. For small pieces of hardwood (plum boxwood etc) I use white glue that I have at hand.

I would split or resaw that spruce into smaller pieces, thick pieces like that will necessarily check at the ends (I already can see some checks starting there) Last winter I split large spruce log and I split it into very slightly oversized wedges and sealed with latex and got almost no end checking, stored outside all winter long (deep freezing). They seemed to reach stable humidity by the late summer (I weighed samples).

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3 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

David,

I've seen a lot of wood wasted by assuming molten wax will  seal because  often the wax doesn't really bind to the wood and  can be pulled or peeled right off once the wood starts to dry. The commercial wax emulsion log sealers are thinner and actually soak in a few mm. on the end grain. I  make sure to cut off the sealed part when prepping the billet for gluing.

Nathan, I think that would very much depend on whether one is dribbling or brushing hot molten wax onto a surface, or immersing the end in in a tub of molten wax. When dipped for too long (as little as ten seconds), the wax penetration can be so great, that at least a half-inch needs to be cut off each end to get rid of it.

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1 hour ago, HoGo said:

The few times I stashed fresh spruce I sealed it with ordinary latex paint, just dipped the ends in te bucket. Worked great. For small pieces of hardwood (plum boxwood etc) I use white glue that I have at hand.

I would split or resaw that spruce into smaller pieces, thick pieces like that will necessarily check at the ends (I already can see some checks starting there) Last winter I split large spruce log and I split it into very slightly oversized wedges and sealed with latex and got almost no end checking, stored outside all winter long (deep freezing). They seemed to reach stable humidity by the late summer (I weighed samples).

X2

I brought home a bunch of split spruce from Washington state about 18 years ago. I re split all the quarters into violin billet pairs. Drilled holes in the outside corners and wired the book matched pairs together and hung them from the rafters of my garage. No cracking, splitting or warping. The wood was dry after 2 years, and made excellent tops. The few I have left are still perfect after hanging for the whole time.

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Arrived home from our trip last night, and immediately went to work stripping off the bark with a draw knife; it was sopping wet underneath the bark.  Not having any PL glue handy, I sealed up the ends with carpenters glue, painting it in with a paint brush. Tonight I'll trowel on some PL and leave it set.

Next step is to find someone with a with a large bandsaw to saw it into billets. Alternatively, I might weld up an extension block for my Delta and get a long  3/4" blade made up.

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2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Nathan, I think that would very much depend on whether one is dribbling or brushing hot molten wax onto a surface, or immersing the end in in a tub of molten wax. When dipped for too long (as little as ten seconds), the wax penetration can be so great, that at least a half-inch needs to be cut off each end to get rid of it.

Aha. Must admit I never tried it myself after seeing a whole bunch of wood go bad with wax peeling off the ends. They must not have let it stand in the wax long enough or some other issue.

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Here’s some pictures from Sim’s tonewood field trip last August.

We stood the billets up and then smeared Anchor Seal on each end. It starts out white but dries to a waxy finish. Colorado is pretty dry so we got them waxed within 8 hours of cutting and splitting.

 

 

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Unfortunately the fellow I got the wood from split it open before I arrived, and then it was an additional 4 days before I got it home, whereupon I immediately peeled the bark and sealed the ends. I'm thinking I should cut it into billets right away.

The ends had a little bit of checking already, but the pieces are 24 inches long, so I should still be ok.

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6 hours ago, Bill Yacey said:

Unfortunately the fellow I got the wood from split it open before I arrived, and then it was an additional 4 days before I got it home, whereupon I immediately peeled the bark and sealed the ends. I'm thinking I should cut it into billets right away.

The ends had a little bit of checking already, but the pieces are 24 inches long, so I should still be ok.

Bill,

Definitely cut (or, only if the wood splits really well, split) the billets to something approaching usable size as soon as possible. Hours or days not weeks. Once the checks start on the ends sealer will not stop them from growing. Much better to saw off the splits and reseal immediately. There is a reason tone wood dealers charge so much. Preparing it is time consuming and prone to misfortunes.

As I said before I am most familiar with maple and in the summer wouldn't buy a log without having the proper blade all set on the saw and the sealer and brushes/tubs on hand and ready. I chainsawed the "wheel" of appropriate length off the log then sealed the ends of the wheel and the new cut log end even before starting in on the next one. When everything was in quarters I started to cut each one into billets and resealed all end cuts right away before going on to the next quarter wheel.

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24 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Dry the wood slowly (ie. properly) and you don't need to bother with any end treatment ...

Unfortunately, drying the wood outside or in a shed is not controllable. It will dry on it's own pace depanding on local humidity and air circulation. Drying wood is simple if you know what happens during drying. The end grain loses water MUCH faster than the split faces or bark side so the wood at the ends will shrink before the wood further away will and so it will crack if the thickness of the piece is large (unsplit one violin top wedge is just so-so and can split so cutting to halves is preferred). By sealing the ends you equalize the shrinking rate along the whole piece and the end grain will not crack as easily. This works for wedges. If you cut wood differently or leave the pith inside you should be prepared for some twisting/ bending or cracks.

Drying wood too slowly can ruin your wood. Maple really needs some boost of initial drying - well ventilated place or even fans to remove the free water ASAP are essential otherwise it will become moldy (blue/green stain). Been there and did that mistake... Spruce is not so supectible but reasonable speed of initial water loss will protect it from mold or fungus - especially the heartwood.

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44 minutes ago, HoGo said:

Unfortunately, drying the wood outside or in a shed is not controllable. It will dry on it's own pace depanding on local humidity and air circulation. Drying wood is simple if you know what happens during drying. The end grain loses water MUCH faster than the split faces or bark side so the wood at the ends will shrink before the wood further away will and so it will crack if the thickness of the piece is large (unsplit one violin top wedge is just so-so and can split so cutting to halves is preferred). By sealing the ends you equalize the shrinking rate along the whole piece and the end grain will not crack as easily. This works for wedges. If you cut wood differently or leave the pith inside you should be prepared for some twisting/ bending or cracks.

Drying wood too slowly can ruin your wood. Maple really needs some boost of initial drying - well ventilated place or even fans to remove the free water ASAP are essential otherwise it will become moldy (blue/green stain). Been there and did that mistake... Spruce is not so supectible but reasonable speed of initial water loss will protect it from mold or fungus - especially the heartwood.

Yup.

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The PL glue in the caulking tube looked like a good product for sealing the end grain because it can be spread easily with a putty knife, won't wick deeply into the end grain, forms an air / water tight barrier, and uses moisture to cure.

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