working with oak logs

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Forum topic by hinspeter posted 06-09-2011 04:38 AM 1192 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 2656 days

06-09-2011 04:38 AM

I have a piece of Oak about 8 feet long 18” diameter. It was taken down about 18 months ago. I want to cut it into lengths of about 24 – 32 inches and then shape it into a cube. It will become a stool or stand about 14×14 x 30… or there abouts. My question is, do I need to wait for it to completely dry or can I cut and shape it now. My concern is checking. Any advice is much apprecieted!!!


3 replies so far

View HerbC's profile


1566 posts in 2276 days

#1 posted 06-09-2011 04:50 PM

A couple of issues:

1. Wood in log form takes a VERY long time to dry since it has a very small suface area through which to lose the moisture.

2. Wood cut into thick cubes will take quite a bit of time to dry since the moisture still has a relatively small surface area through which to evaporate.

3. The wood will almost certainly check due to the stresses induced as the wood pieces contract more in some areas than others during the drying process. Slower drying will help. Using endseal products such as AnchorSeal will help but will not gaurantee prevention of checks.

Good Luck with your project.

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2375 days

#2 posted 06-09-2011 05:30 PM

Oak is one of the most troublesome woods to dry without cracks. You need to slice the log up as soon as reasonably possible, then let the pieces air dry for a few months before putting them into a slow kiln (couple month or so) or for a year to year and a half (I am assuming it will be sliced at least 1 1/4”, all up to you) in an indoor type environment. Good idea to read up on the processes involved in air drying. Slice it 1/2” or so too thick and a few inches too long to allow for cupping or cracking. Once it is done right, oak is a wonderful wood to have and work with. Best of luck!

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2491 days

#3 posted 06-09-2011 06:15 PM

If you leave this wood in log form or in the form of a big cube, it will almost certainly crack as it dries. Is that such a bad thing?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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