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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

I'm a complete newbie to the entire woodturning process and I hope that I'll be able to get some answers from the experts who are on this site!

My father-in-law has some downed pine trees on his property and I want to cut the trees into some slabs to use for centerpieces or cake stands.

We cut a couple off last weekend and I placed them in the garage hoping they would air dry on their own. To my dismay - looking at them today it looks like they a dark ring of what could be mold along the edges. I did some google searches and found a bunch of things saying that I need to soak them in Pentacryl or Alcohol or even Dish Washer soap and let them sit for over a year.

I apologize for being so green about the topic but here are my questions: if I cut some more of these slabs (roughly 2 inches thick, 15 inch in diameter) how long do I have before I need to preserve them?
-What is the best way of doing this? (Pentacryl, Alcohol, or the soap).
- Do I really need to have them sit for a full year or will using the preservatives speed up this process (some forums I've read say just a month, some say multiple months to a year plus)
- If I buy a large 5 gallon container, can I put multiple slabs in at once?
- Some forums say that you only need to soak them for 3 days, some say months ... what is the correct consensus?

Thank you to all those who take the time to read this post, and thank you so much for those who answer!
 

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Not sure what the dimensions of the slabs are, or how you want to turn these.

Pine is not a wood I consider good for turning. Potential for resin or pitch.

Search on this forum for "green wood" and you should find a number of threads, perhaps many.

Some folks seal green wood until they are ready to turn the piece, then rough turn, allow the piece to dry and change shape, then turn again to final shape.

Some folks will attempt to replace the water in the wood with PEG (Polyethylene Glycol). Not cheap, but it can replace the water with the PEG molecules and then be "stable" and not crack as it dries out.

I think your choices are to seal and wait until you are ready to turn, then do the two step process, or turn immediately and then allow to dry, change shape, then final turn when dry.

It is not easy to turn immediately, since it takes too long. Better to harvest, seal then plan how you want to turn.

Sealing can be latex paint, paraffin wax, or Anchorseal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much Dave! Maybe "turning" is the wrong choice of word. I simply want to preserve (wrong choice again?) the slabs in their natural state as pieces to use as centerpieces for the kitchen table or modify them for cake stands for birthday parties for the family. From what it sounds like you're saying - sealing them is exactly the route I need to take!

I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question - thank you again!

(The dimensions are 2 inches in thickness, 15 inches in diameter ... think a large serving platter)
 

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Thank you very much Dave! Maybe "turning" is the wrong choice of word. I simply want to preserve (wrong choice again?) the slabs in their natural state as pieces to use as centerpieces for the kitchen table or modify them for cake stands for birthday parties for the family. From what it sounds like you're saying - sealing them is exactly the route I need to take!

(The dimensions are 2 inches in thickness, 15 inches in diameter ... think a large serving platter)
With your clarification, you can either attempt to seal to maintain the internal moisture, or slow down the drying process to minimize cracking.

If you want to seal these items for display, consider shellac. Easy to apply and should keep the moisture in the pieces. We normally refer to these as "cookies".

Shellac is available in flake form where you mix with denatured alcohol. Flakes have different colours, from clear to amber.

One source and all the information you may need on the product.
http://www.shellac.net/

Shellac is also available in spray can, look for the brand Zinsser. Only available in clear.

http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2004210/21/Bulls-Eye-Clear-Shellac-12--oz-Spray.aspx


Shellac does not hold up well with water. If you left a soda can on the shellac coat it will show water rings. So if you need the coating to be water resistant, the shellac needs to be top coated.

Zinsser also sell a dewaxed version called "SealCoat". This can be top coated with water based or oil based polyurethane which would then be a water resistant coating.

http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2004758/7876/Sealcoat-Universal-Sanding-Sealer-Quart.aspx
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great! I'll definitely go with the SealCoat just to be safe. Is this okay to apply to green wood?

As for the application - would just a basic brush work best to coat the entire thing (bark included)? Or do I really just need to coat inside the bark.

Thanks again Dave!
 

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Great! I'll definitely go with the SealCoat just to be safe. Is this okay to apply to green wood?

As for the application - would just a basic brush work best to coat the entire thing (bark included)? Or do I really just need to coat inside the bark.

Thanks again Dave!
A brush works fine. It should work on the green wood. I have not tried this. May need a few coats.

This is the product I use on green wood to seal in the moisture.
http://www.packardwoodworks.com/Mer...de=packard&Product_Code=157201&Category_Code=

Woodcraft also sell this stuff. Very easy to apply. Milky in the container. Dries clear.

The bark is not wet. You can seal or not seal.

The only item to watch for is whether the bark maintains its connection with the wood. Not easy to predict. Some species the bark will hold, other species it just falls off. Sometimes it is the time of year when the tree was harvested. Fall is meant to be the best time.

Good luck.
 
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