Best way to handle sap before finishing - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 04-03-2017, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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Best way to handle sap before finishing

So I'm still a beginner in my wood working journey, and have used mostly pine boards from the hardware store or old pallet wood for all my projects, until now. I wanted to make a sleek, modern computer desk for my husband, and was ready for some more interesting piece of wood. The plan is for a natural piece of wood with copper piping for legs. I found a local man selling Larchwood. I picked a piece that I really liked the color/characteristics (it's mostly heartwood, quite possible the very central piece of the tree, as it was the widest board he had...and he had basically the whole tree for sale). I noted some sap (or pitch, I'm not sure what the difference is), but assumed I could just wipe it off and the rest would come off in a final sanding. Well! Now that I've done my homework about using softwoods, I'm a little worried. i should note both these spots still weep when I give them a firm press. The other side of the board (first pic) has some minor splits running the length of the board with dried sap inside, right down the middle, just like the cuts pictured (pics 2-4).

I asked the dealer and he said the wood was air dried then "technically dried" for two weeks. We live in Germany, so that is a direct translation. I believe that means kiln-dried, but I'm guessing, my German isn't great. He said I could bring this board back and exchange if I needed to. So, here's my question(s): 1) Is this going to be a long term problem, and was the wood not properly, or only partially dried? It's a little less than 4cm thick. 2) Should I be worrying about warping and twist in this wood over time? It's going to stay indoors, but there's no central air, or air conditioning here in Germany, so the windows are always open in the summertime and there are often humidity and temperature shifts. 3) Am I over thinking this? Will some mineral spirits and shellac solve my problem and I can go about attaching the legs to this? I could exchange the piece, but it was the widest board and I liked it the best, so I'd like to keep it if it's reasonable to do so. Actually, my husband wants the table to be wider, so I was planning to go buy a second board if it's a reasonable endeavor to use this for the table. 4)This is going to be a simple office desk. Computer work, some writing/drawing, maybe a cup of coffee in the morning. I want to preserve the coloring as much as possible. The last project I used resin to finish, and the wood absorbed so much it really affected the coloring, and didn't give the shiny/polished finish I'm hoping for here. Perhaps polyurethane? Will oil or water based make a big difference for my purpose?

Any insight is helpful! Like I said, I live in Germany and do not have the language skills to seek out help from experienced locals. Every trip to the hardware store is a linguistic journey :) Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 2 Old 04-03-2017, 08:50 PM
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Really you should cut around and avoid wood with such sap pockets. If you have them in your project about all you can do is wash the wood down with acetone and seal the knots with Zinsser Sealcoat and go ahead and finish it. The sap could still ooze out through the finish though. Eventually it will stop. It will just be messy until it does.
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finishing, sap, shellac or poly

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