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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys
I just came into a BIG chunk of really nice sycamore. I know that sycamore is usually fairly white and bland, but this stuff has a lot going on. It's about 36" in diameter, and only about 2' long, so I need to seal it in such a way that I minimize loss length-wise. I don't have anchor seal at the moment, though I hope to aquire some soon. Could I just brush the end grain with a thick coat of paraffin? It's starting to check in the heartwood already(nothing too serious, so I'm going to most it with some warm water. I have one end sitting on the ground, and plastic wrap on the other. Being a newbie, this is my first big piece of free wood, so I have a somewhat sentimental attachment. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Nice find. :thumbsup:
I would get the paraffin on it as soon as possible, or it not available left over latex paint for the short term.
What do you plan to make with it? As big as it is I would defiantly slab off two and maybe four quartersawn sections about 3-4 inch thick. Not much better to me than quartersawn sycamore. You would still have a lot left or platters and bowl or lots of small items. The sooner you can process it to get the pith out the more you will be able to save as it will be able to shrink back on itself with very little checking.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Is there any chance that paste wax would be effective if applied very liberally? I understand that it is not a wax in the pure sense of the word, but it isn't very water-permeable, from my understanding. My only concern would be deep penetration of the log, as it was cut VERY recently. The figure of this stuff is startling, considering that it's just boring ole sycamore, and I'd like to capitalize on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good deal. Pretty sure I've got some old latex paint around here somewhere. As soon as it stops raining, I'll get it done. Thanks guys. Can't wait to see what's hiding in this chunk.
 

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Camden, first chance you get, cut the log into blanks the size you want to use and then seal all the cut edges. Cut a small slice out of the center to get rid of the pith in the middle and then go from there. You don't want the pith in there.
Mike Hawkins;)
 

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Reread your initial; don’t worry about loss length as there will not be enough to measure.
The problem is cracking. From wet to dry logs shrink about 10% in circumference. At 36” diameter it is about 120 in circumference or cracks with a total width of about 12 inches.

This is a picture of about a 12" log split through the pith. It was straight.
If you lay a straight edge on it you can see how much it shrank back. If left whole that is the amount the one side would have in total cracks.

click on the sealing a log - lumber cuts for a pic of quartersawn and other cuts if you are not familiar with them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is where I was getting a lot of mixed ideas: some people say to leave wood in log form for as long as possible, whereas I was under the impression that like Mike said, it should be cut into desirable blank sizes, sealed and stored, or quarter sawn, which is what my family has always done with logs not bound for the firewood pile. I know that the heartwood or pith is my greatest enemy on this one. In fact, it's already checking. I need to get a loaner chainsaw( mine is busted, and I can't afford a new one till next month) and break it down into manageable sizes regardless, as the thing must weigh 500lbs. I think I'll quarter saw and re-evaluate at that point. I'm probably going to use paraffin, as it's cheap and available. Thanks again for all of the advice/ encouragement, etc. You guys are the best!
 

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I leave larger logs as is until I can get to them but once I cut them down to shorter lengths I get the pith cut out ASAP. Cherry will check in a couple of hours if you don't as will some others. I use latex because it is cheap and works for me. Just got a new gallon the other day for $5.
 
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