Wax seal endgrain for bowl blanks

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Forum topic by Tom Coster posted 08-02-2012 10:39 PM 5078 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tom Coster

120 posts in 3077 days

08-02-2012 10:39 PM

Hello all,
I just received my first lathe and am new to turning. I scored some short wet pecan logs from a tree that was blown down. My predicament is that as a newbie I do not have the confidence to rough shape the bowl yet. Plus this wood is literally dripping wet. I want to seal the ends as cheaply as possible. Or should I split the logs prior to sealing? I was told by an old timer to get wax intended for sealing mason jars from the supermarket. Melt the wax to a liquid and wipe on the end grain. How is this process compared to latex paint? Or is there an alternative method that is as inexpensive? Thanks in advance for the help!

-- Tom, MI, SC

5 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3237 days

#1 posted 08-03-2012 01:00 AM

I say go for the latex paint. It does the same thing that the expensive stuff does. The paraffin (sealing wax) would be fine but would be a pain to apply.

Some people pre-turn the piece when it is wet just to rough it out and put it in a plastic bag. The logic being that the thinner wood will dry faster and more evenly. They also spritz a little lysol or something in the bag so it doesn’t mold.

Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with just going ahead and turning it. Wood has been turned green as long as they have had lathes. Yes, some might check. You also are not up to your ears in drying wood.

If the pieces are too big for you to use, go ahead and split them to a size you can manage. The smaller the piece, the easier it dries.

Don’t worry too much about “wasting” the wood. You are going to make 1000 mistakes. Go ahead and get them out of the way. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to turn green wood. It is a lot of fun and cuts easy.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2427 days

#2 posted 08-03-2012 03:49 AM

Old latex paint works well and it’s often free from recycling places. You should seal the wood as soon as possible as it may develop very fine cracks (hard to see) almost immediately. Personally, I would cut the logs into blocks and half them, sealing the ends of each block immediately. I make the length of a block a bit more than the log’s diameter as even with sealing you may get a little cracking.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Tom Coster's profile

Tom Coster

120 posts in 3077 days

#3 posted 08-03-2012 01:05 PM

Thanks for the help! I’m going to rip in half and shape with the band saw, than seal with Latex paint. I will probably store the half logs until my skill level improves.

-- Tom, MI, SC

View Adrian A's profile

Adrian A

169 posts in 3141 days

#4 posted 06-12-2013 03:00 PM

well Tom, how did the sealing go? did they split?

View Tom Coster's profile

Tom Coster

120 posts in 3077 days

#5 posted 06-12-2013 07:20 PM

Well let’s see: I turned one wet and dried it with the denatured alcohol technique and it worked perfectly. I coated two other blanks with the wax. I have turned one since with no problem. The other blank is sitting on a shelf with no cracks. I did invest in a gallon of anchor seal. I believe this product allows the wood to dry faster than a fat coat of wax. I applied two coats anchor seal on a few large logs of wet silver oak. They cracked a few inches in. The one that I waxed did not crack but I think it is still pretty wet these many months later. Anchor seal is easier. Wax is cheaper but hard to work with out in the field because it hardens when it cools. Wax may be a better choice if you are drying with DNA because you’re probably not as worried about drying rates with that technique. But there is one caveat to DNA drying: I have had great success with DNA but have had a few blanks that have badly cracked and warped during drying after the DNA process. I am trying to figure out if this is just certain species of wood that do not dry well by the DNA process or should the blank dry a little before the DNA process. E.g.. rapid moisture loss. Two weeks ago I cut up a fairly large crepe myrtle and immediately applied anchor seal to the very wet end grain. I plan on roughing one blank this weekend. I guess I’ll wait and see what happens.

-- Tom, MI, SC

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