how to prevent splitting?

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Forum topic by mark4345 posted 12-27-2013 10:29 PM 1914 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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71 posts in 2420 days

12-27-2013 10:29 PM

So i am getting married on feb 1st. As part of the center pieces to the tables she wants a slice of wood with bark still on it to set vases on. She was all prepared to order these online spending about $450….i said no way ill work it out.

I made a few calls to local firewood places found me a few logs with a 15-16” diameter, sliced them into roughly 1-3/8” slices and put polyurethane on both sides right away to seal them up. brought 3 in the house and they now have a giant split and one is cupping pretty badly.

the rest of the slices i have yet to put any polyurethane on and are still stacked waiting to go through the drum sander first. these are still flat no checking cupping or splitting. they came out of the same log at the same time, only difference was no poly, and they were left in the cold shop.

i plan on replacing the split ones, how to i prevent this from happening again and prevent it with the remaining ones in the shop. was it the temperature change that did it? the wood is still pretty green definitely not dried. good idea to put them in the oven to dry them first? or will this cause me more grief?

Any help or thoughts would be appreciated, at this point i am thinking i will leave them in raw slices in the cold shop till the last possible minute, then poly them and take em to the wedding. they really only need to last a day, and they were fine in the house for about 3-4 days after they were cut.

9 replies so far

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2016 days

#1 posted 12-28-2013 01:08 AM

I think the only thing that will stop would cut in that manner from cracking is a miracle. I would put a couple butterflies over the crack and see if they get your wife’s approval.

View mark4345's profile


71 posts in 2420 days

#2 posted 12-28-2013 01:34 AM

there is definitely no saving that crack now. i am hoping to prevent it from happening to the others which arent currently cracked and sitting in the shop.

is making these up at the last possible moment so they arent cracked on the wedding day my only option?

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2016 days

#3 posted 12-28-2013 01:48 AM

You could maybe recut them at an angle, that might help out. Possibly cut a whole out of the middle where the vase will be. You could soak in alcohol when it’s green and try putting it in a paper bag…works (sometimes) for turnings, so maybe worth a shot. I personally think butterflies look great, so it may end up being a great looking “oops”

View verdesardog's profile


160 posts in 2608 days

#4 posted 12-28-2013 01:51 AM

You would have had to get DRY pieces to start with, there is nothing you can do to prevent unseasoned wood from spilitting when cut that way… could try controlled drying but that would take months.

-- .. heyoka ..

View bondogaposis's profile


4727 posts in 2348 days

#5 posted 12-28-2013 02:18 AM

Soaking it in PEG right after you make the slices before they begin to dry. You can get it at Rockler.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3645 days

#6 posted 12-28-2013 02:26 AM

sounds like you started working with green wood and completely sealed the ends from releasing moisture (drying) so all the moisture had to go through the bark causing uneven drying and splitting.

you need to work with dried logs for that – logs that have been seasoned for several years (for that particular size). after that you would want to trim off the ends as they are still likely to split, and only use the center of the logs for your project(s).

$450 – doesn’t sound too bad (considering time, finishing materials and labor)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View mark4345's profile


71 posts in 2420 days

#7 posted 12-28-2013 04:28 AM

I have never seen PEG before. that looks promising, how long would they soak for? And thanks for the tip on that one i will have to look into this more

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2381 days

#8 posted 12-28-2013 05:10 AM

You’re getting married Feb. 1st? How to prevent splitting? I’ve found the following phrases to be helpful:


-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View WDHLT15's profile


1741 posts in 2473 days

#9 posted 12-28-2013 05:35 AM

There is no real practical way to prevent round “cookies” from splitting. Too much stress from uneven drying, and the cracks relieve the stress.

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

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