Log checking (cracking)

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Forum topic by MalcolmLaurel posted 01-17-2014 10:51 PM 941 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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300 posts in 1820 days

01-17-2014 10:51 PM

I know that when cut logs are dried, you often get checking (radial cracking). Sealing the ends helps, I’m told, as does sawing the logs into boards while green… if you want boards.

I want to make some tables using circular (or whatever interesting shape) sections through the log. I know people make tables like that, and I’m wondering what’s the best approach? Seal the ends? Or dry the log whole, then hope only the ends are checked? In either case, how much drying time before I can cut into the final slabs and not risk further checking? Most likely oak, but I might find maple, birch, or even hickory, and I’d prefer to leave the bark on. Just wondering how this kind of thing is normally done, if anybody around here has done it.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

5 replies so far

View WDHLT15's profile


1792 posts in 2673 days

#1 posted 01-18-2014 03:34 AM

Logs don’t dry, hardly at all. Almost all round cut-offs (wood cookies) will develop a crack or split. Oak is one of the worse for cracking, splitting and checking. End grain cut-offs do not dry well as it relates to cracking and splitting. Not a whole lot that you can do about it.

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

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2465 days

#2 posted 01-18-2014 03:52 AM

Here logs do dry fully gues it depends on your climate.if i cant cut them green i seal the ends and leave them out of direct sunlight

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3299 days

#3 posted 01-18-2014 08:18 AM

Logs don’t dry, hardly at all. Your kidding, right??

Here is some info on “checking” in wood.
Often “checking” in logs is used as a design element and does not present a structural flaw in the wood.
If you can see the beauty in it, you can make some great furniture. As for your desire to keep the bark on, I think you will struggle with that. Go for it and post the outcome…..................

-- mike...............

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


300 posts in 1820 days

#4 posted 01-18-2014 01:15 PM

Well, I know it can be done as I often see endgrain slab tables for sale without checking… or not much, I never looked closely before but I wasn’t as interested then. I guess I’ll just have to experiment. I wonder what would happen if I cut a slice and then somehow covered the outer portions but left the heartwood exposed so it would dry faster? I’m leery of putting any kind of paint or coating on the final slice because I think it’d be tough to keep it from soaking too deep into the endgrain.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View bigblockyeti's profile


5285 posts in 1917 days

#5 posted 01-18-2014 06:52 PM

I have a few ~ 18” log slices that I was able to dry and flatten with my router and a sled. They were cut about ten years ago and flattened about five years ago, long enough that I can’t remember the species. Based on what trees I remember helping with back then, it’s likely pin oak as there was a lot of it after taking the tree down. They were but about 2 1/2” thick and left in the corner of the garage for the first five years, so no real effort put into drying them at a specific rate.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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