Getting rid of sap

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Forum topic by JADobson posted 02-10-2015 02:39 AM 1037 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1071 posts in 2137 days

02-10-2015 02:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sap pine christmas tree

I had the idea to use the trunk from last year’s Christmas tree to turn a snowman or something similar as an ornament for future Christmases. (and make a new one each year). I know the wood is not ideal but I’m not looking to make masterpieces here.

Today I went out and cut 12” from the base of the trunk and brought it in to thaw. I suspected there would be a lot of sap and I was right. Its oozing out of everywhere. So much so that I’m hesitant to put it on the lathe because it will go everywhere.

My idea was to put the wood back outside and let it freeze then turn it so the bark and first couple of layers of wood are stripped. Then I’ll sweep this up into the bin and hopefully avoid a sticky mess.

Anyone tried this? Did it work? Any other tips for dealing with sappy wood.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

9 replies so far

View Paul Miller's profile

Paul Miller

33 posts in 3480 days

#1 posted 02-10-2015 03:24 AM

I’ve used pine that has air dried for years and still get sticky hands from it. I think you will need to heat it to set the sap, similar to kiln drying. Depending on the size of the piece, I would experiment with putting it in the oven at around 150 degrees for a few hours. Maybe coat the ends first.


View mpax356's profile


72 posts in 2518 days

#2 posted 02-15-2015 03:29 AM

Just forget green pine and save the aggravation. “Life is too short for turning crappy wood.”

-- MPax, Atlanta

View Wildwood's profile


2322 posts in 2161 days

#3 posted 02-15-2015 01:57 PM

All conifer trees exude gooey resin in addition to sap. Some varieties of conifers exude more resin than others. Most not all conifers do a great job of end sealing them when cut into logs depending upon resin/sap ratio.

Have no idea if dealing with spruce, pine or fir tree. Without a picture not sure if dealing with excess resin or sap coming from that piece of wood. Just assume seeing little bit of each.

If you want to turn that piece of wood, bring that piece of wood inside and allow reaching EMC that could take weeks or months. Putting it out side to freeze not going to help bring down MC.

-- Bill

View johnstoneb's profile


2940 posts in 2199 days

#4 posted 02-15-2015 02:01 PM

Evergreen have sap running year around. Not sure that the cold will freeze anything enough to do what you want but its’ worth a try.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View JADobson's profile


1071 posts in 2137 days

#5 posted 02-15-2015 02:12 PM

So I tried my idea of freezing and it didn’t work. It was only around -20 C though. Should have waited for a cold snap (around here that is -40 – -50 C) to see if it really works. But I think Bruce has a good point about evergreen sap.

Today, the wife is at work for 12 hrs so I’ve commandeered her oven and I’m trying Paul’s idea.

Bill, I’m not worried about moisture content, in fact, I’m hoping that the finished turning will warp and crack. I just don’t want sap flying everywhere while I turn.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View Graywalrus's profile


3 posts in 1223 days

#6 posted 02-15-2015 02:24 PM

How do you plan to get the smell of pine out of your wife’s oven?

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1299 posts in 1756 days

#7 posted 02-15-2015 02:33 PM

How do you plan to get the smell of pine out of your wife s oven?

- Graywalrus

Hi Hon, I just finished cleaning the kitchen . I love that forest smell, don’t you? .... ........... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View fuigb's profile


491 posts in 2984 days

#8 posted 02-15-2015 03:03 PM

Because I’m a sentimental SOB with some things I, too, save the bottome foot or so from each yearr’s tree for an “ornament.” I just plank the trunk, sticker it, and let it air dry. I’m in the middle of a years-long project to construct a miniature diorama.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Wildwood's profile


2322 posts in 2161 days

#9 posted 02-15-2015 05:49 PM

I would not put that piece of wood you have in the oven. Just put it out of the way for awhile and let air dry.

This roughed hollow form came from bunch of Long Leap Pine growing next to power lines in local park. Drove my pick-up to stack in the park and picked up several sections of 3 to 4 foot long by 10-12 inches in diameter logs could lift myself and brought them home around the first of the year.

Had to wear my wind breaker to stay dry while rough turning the outside shape. Have had to wash my hands & face shield several times while turning. There was some bubbly resin/sap on the outside until finished hollowing.

Think have seven or eight roughed hollow forms in various stages of drying. Still have bunch more logs to rough turn sitting outside in the back of my shop.

Much easier to rough turn hollow forms while wood still wet verus dry. One pictured will eventually have a PVC internal threads and PVC external threaded top once dry.

-- Bill

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