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What to do with fresh bits of trunk ?

  • stephane
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stephane created the topic: What to do with fresh bits of trunk ?

Hi there,

This morning after driving the kids to the school I came across workers cutting trees along the road.
So I stopped and asked them if I could take some with me.

So now I have 20 bits of trunk - unfortunately pretty short, about 40 cm.
I am not sure about the wood : thin light green bark.
So now I wonder how to treat them.
They are fresh cut, so I suppose I have to make them dry, but how long ? Is there a wait to see them the wood is dry enough ? Can I leave them under the sun / rain or you I have keep them dry ?

After that I will have to figure out how to make them usefull, but first thing first :)

Thank for any advice

  • Posts: 486

colin replied the topic: Re: What to do with fresh bits of trunk ?

Good for you !!! ... Someone who also salvages wood like me. You will be surprised how handy this wood will be once it dries. What you will want to do with these short logs is to prevent them from drying out too fast to help reduce checking. We do that by treating the ends with something that slows down that release of moisture. There is a special "paint" for this but you can put whatever you have on there (thick if it is latex) will work the same. Also, if the logs are still round you might want to split or even quarter them. I know this sounds drastic but the problem with rounds of wood splitting and checking as they dry is caused by the heartwood of the tree, which has little water (which means it won't shrink much), and the sapwood which has LOTS of water (which means it will shrink LOTS) this is what cause checking and cracking. TO help prevent this, it is advisable to at least half the round, quartering them if they are large enough might be necessary.

Best to let them dry slowly outside under cover until summer, then bring them inside.

As for the species ... hard to say without seeing some pics.

Have fun :)
  • stephane
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stephane replied the topic: Re: What to do with fresh bits of trunk ?

Hi Colin,

Ho yes I salvage. It is just amazing how much wood are around.
The issue is to find place to stock them, but I manage :)

I am afraid my English reach its limit here, so sorry about that but I will repeat your advices here just to be sure I understand correctly :

First : what does exactly mean "checking" for wood ?

Yes it's round logs.
So it is better to cut then in half or -even better- in 4 pieces. Correct ?

If I don't half / quarter them, I can paint the part at each side that was cut (not the bark :) ). And I can use any paint I have even no wood specific paint. Correct ?

Sorry again about my -not so great- English, and thank again for your help !


I will take shots tomorrow. It is too dark now.
  • Posts: 486

colin replied the topic: Re: What to do with fresh bits of trunk ?

No Problem ... happy to help
"checking" is when the wood cracks or splits down the grain
Yes, if the logs are bigger than about 10" across you are probably best to quarter them (4 pieces). Less than 10" cut them in half (2 pieces).

If you do not half or quarter them they WILL split, if you half or quarter them there is less chance they will split.

You only need to paint the ends of the logs, not the area that was halfed or quartered.

Yes you can use any paint that will stick to the ends, put it on thick.

Great to have you with us Stephane :)

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