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finishing wet/green wood

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Forum topic by shelly_b posted 542 days ago 1961 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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shelly_b

841 posts in 714 days


542 days ago

So I finally started my first log project. I figured I should start small so I am making my daughter a step stool. I cut the tree down that I am using about a week or 2 ago so it is still wet. (I have been told it is cotton wood) Are there any restrictions to putting a finish on green wood? It has been peeled for a few days so the outside feels pretty dry but if you cut into it at all you can feel the moisture. I plan on just doing some type of clear coat but I wasn’t sure if I should go with a water based sealant…or if oil based would go on ok. Hopefully it will be done in the next day or 2:) Thanks!!


9 replies so far

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Dallas

2854 posts in 1084 days


#1 posted 542 days ago

Unfortunately I don’t think it will survive.

Green wood will shrink as it dries and if it can’t shrink evenly will split, warp, bend and crack.

How large are the individual pieces of your stool?

I have been known to take small individual green pieces of wood and put them in the oven for a day or two @ 170° or as low as it will go.

I have also dried green wood in the microwave although that is more labor intense.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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shelly_b

841 posts in 714 days


#2 posted 542 days ago

the longest is 18 in…i had heard somewhere that the finish would slow the drying process making it less likely to crack…i was hoping that was the case but your explanation sounds more logical. i would like to do larger projects too so i’m not sure what i will do about drying those….maybe i should find someone to allow me to use their kiln for a price. i had a big oak log that was sitting in the garage drying and it literaly split in half so i’m starting to worry about my log furniture capabilities lol.

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GrandpaLen

1465 posts in 869 days


#3 posted 542 days ago

...oohhh nnooo Shelly, excess moisture is not our friend, unless you’re turning green wood on a lathe.

...warping, checking, cracking, bowing, cupping, twisting, shrinking, splitting just to name a few of the FAILS of milling lumber when the moisture content is too high, not to mention if you were able to coat it with a finish, other than some type of oil, the finish will flake off as the wood shrinks as the moisture evaporates.

Would be best if you research ‘Kiln or Air Drying Lumber’.

Best Regards.
Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len

[Edit] While prepping this response Dallas had already brought you up to speed on the pitfalls of milling green lumber.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

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Dallas

2854 posts in 1084 days


#4 posted 542 days ago

One thing to mention….
When I dry in the Nuke or the oven I usually put in twice as much as I need and hope I’ll get enough usable wood back to make the project.

Always cut oversized so you can trim to correct dimensions later, it not only gets smaller around, it will get shorter as it dries.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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JesseTutt

795 posts in 707 days


#5 posted 542 days ago

The couple of times I have used naturally air dried logs I usually end cutting off several inches off of each end. These were whole logs that were allowed to season with the intent of becoming firewood and I rescued them from the file.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

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Don W

14606 posts in 1164 days


#6 posted 542 days ago

Shelly, if you want to build with green wood, do an internet search for phrases like “building furniture with green wood”. There are folks that have special techniques for it. There is a lot of splitting instead of cutting and use of joinery like draw tenons so they can be tightened as the wood dries.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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shelly_b

841 posts in 714 days


#7 posted 542 days ago

ok, thanks! i was worried about cracking, shrinking, but not so much warping, bowing ect since they are still in log form. i guess i will just glue it up, maybe put some oil finish on it and see how it goes!

View NormG's profile

NormG

3985 posts in 1601 days


#8 posted 542 days ago

Use your oven to dry the wood, about 4 hours at 210 degrees. Check and then another 4 hours if still green.. Use your drying racks, put parchment over them and a cookie sheet under them

-- Norman

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TopamaxSurvivor

14587 posts in 2273 days


#9 posted 542 days ago

Check how they did it with rived wood. Roy Underhill has shown some green ww on Wood wright’s shop. I do not remember the details.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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