black walnut fireplace mantle

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Forum topic by imnotcasey posted 10-15-2012 03:23 AM 2753 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2072 days

10-15-2012 03:23 AM

I just harvested a black walnut that i’ll be making into a mantle for my fireplace.Before I stump cut it. it measured 8 in. diameter.While it was still on the stump.I ripped 2 in. from the edges to make a rough finish. I would like to know the best way to cure this. I already know about getting it kiln dried (not an option) Has anyone heard about putting salt on wood to help it cure (like bacon) Thanks for any info.

-- casey,paradise,ca

7 replies so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3131 days

#1 posted 10-15-2012 03:34 AM

Salt curing, as I understand it, was more used to prevent decay (kind of like pressure treated wood for exterior use). It isn’t really used to speed up the drying process.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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14940 posts in 2712 days

#2 posted 10-16-2012 02:09 AM

Salt is very hygroscopic (attracts water) so I agree that would not be a good plan to dry it.I dry my wood in the shop attic where the summer temps get to 135 degrees.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View WDHLT15's profile


1747 posts in 2498 days

#3 posted 10-16-2012 03:12 AM

If you dry it too fast, it will split and check as it is thick. Keep it outside under cover like a shed for at least a year at the very least. Not an instant pudding kind of process.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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2 posts in 2072 days

#4 posted 10-16-2012 03:35 AM

thank you all.i’ll keep it in a shed on walnut stickers, no salt and post the finished product this time next year.i’m new to the website and to working with wood(for the most part. I’ve got experience, but I’m not in your class)I’ll be reading and learning. Thanks again.

-- casey,paradise,ca

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726 posts in 2980 days

#5 posted 10-16-2012 05:05 PM

If there is any sap wood on it I recommend spraying on a bug/rot repellant as sap wood is open to both; if it’s all heartwood, no worries. It will check, crack, mildly split, whatever, it will look great no matter what you do. I recommend installing it in a manner that will be able to continue to move as it dries, as drying will likely take a couple years; and it will move all along that time. It will likely shrink 1/8 to 1/4” between the long grain sides as well.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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1747 posts in 2498 days

#6 posted 10-17-2012 02:20 AM

The good thing is that thick walnut is pretty easy to dry without a lot of defect. Just be glad that it is not an oak!!!

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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84 posts in 2175 days

#7 posted 10-19-2012 08:40 PM

Just a couple of thoughts… I would immediately seal the ends with a product like AnchorSeal (a parafin-based product that won’t affect the wood). It does wonders keeping the ends from cracking. You also need good air circulation around it while drying. If the shed is enclosed and damp, the wood never will air dry (around 12% moisture content). Even that is not as dry as conditions above a fireplace inside a home (around 6% moisture content). What are the final dimensions? Use a pin type moisture meter, if you can. Design the fireplace so that the mantle won’t cause problems if it shrinks in width and thickness by 3% or so.

-- Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

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