drying slabs....

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by yellabret posted 02-26-2013 04:01 AM 890 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View yellabret's profile


56 posts in 2167 days

02-26-2013 04:01 AM

i have a thick slab of red oak – bad wood for movement i know, but i got the wood for free and i am not going to wait 5 yrs for it to dry. if nothing else its a learning piece.

the wood has sat out in the Houston heat for 8 months after milling, and was on the ground as a whole log for and undetermined amount of time, but long enough for the sapwood to be spalted and well-populated with the grub worm looking insects, but the heart wood was unaffected. the last 1/4 to 1/2” or so of spalted sapwood was still hard enough to leave on in places, giving it a nice look.

equilibrium around here – judging by small pieces of oak/pecan in my garage for a few years, is about 12%. in the photo you can see a bech/table/stool i am making. the legs are the an 8” log milled in half off of a log of similar age and history – semi round. when milled, last month, the MC was 19 to 23%.

you can see the cracking in the slab, i am not too worried as this is rustic furniture and i am never going to be able to dry this stuff perfectly. the slab has a jillion teeeeeeensy radial cracks that fill in with grain filler.

so my question – i know i should wait for best results, but how much or what should i expect if i finish it with grain filler followed by urethane gel coat? wont that seal in everything so no more cracking? if i left the bottom unfinished, my guess is it would still crack some. either way, is that all i have to worry about? the legs are attached with lag screws – very sturdy – it wouldnt move enough to ruin the joinery would it? (legs were not evened up when pic taken, it is not that unlevel)

i have already made several others that i did not use grain filler on and finished with danish oil, so if anything would move or crack more – how long would it take? they are indoors. i figured i’d just make these things different ways and see how they are in a few years. so if they look good in 2 or 3 yrs, am I home free?

i know i am going against the grain with standard tried and true woodworking protocol, just wondering if anyone else has done silmilar and their results….

2 replies so far

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2075 days

#1 posted 02-26-2013 04:17 PM

“i have already made several others that i did not use grain filler on and finished with danish oil”
I doubt if wood filler would have any major affect on how the wood dries. If your previous pieces were of similar size and age I would expect this one to behave the same.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28921 posts in 2303 days

#2 posted 02-26-2013 05:12 PM

General rule of thumb, if you put your hand on it and it’s cool to the touch – cooler than room temperature -then it probably has too much moisture in it. If it feels like room temperature, then it’s probably as dry as air-drying will get it.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics