Friday, July 17, 2015

Woodworking: Sumac Drying Experiment Part 3- Peeling and Storage

Now that all of those painted logs are dry, it's time to take on the last step in this process of wood drying. This step, simply enough, involves removing the bark from each log. You can use a utility knife to slice the bark underneath, where it attaches to the end of each log.

Pretty simple stuff- the bark just peels off in long strips once the cut starts. The log will probably be quite sticky with sap, though, so be careful with how you handle it.

Make sure that the paint covers the entire flat cut side.

The main reason that the bark should be removed is to inhibit mold growth. It's a problem to have any sort of change like that happen in the wood while it dries, for obvious reasons. Nobody wants a moldy log. (Or a moldy garage or basement, depending on where you put the lumber.)

Removing the bark, a natural moisture barrier, creates the side effect of a higher likelihood of checking along the grain along the outside of the wood. This is due to the exposed surface's drier conditions. This could be avoidable with woods that have thin barks- you could just leave the bark on and not worry about moisture as much.

Nice, long strips of sumac bark. I got rid of them, unfortunately... I had no good ideas for their use.

Progress! Sticky, wet strips of bark everywhere.

That's all of it. The sap is seriously tough to get off of your skin. I recommend using dishwashing soap and hot water to help remove it, but I'm not even sure if that's effective enough to get it completely off. If you are afraid of an allergic reaction, or you don't want to get your hands messy, then I would wear rubber gloves.

This piece was a part of an interesting prong-shaped joint in the wood. I didn't paint the ends of this one, just to see what would happen. It looks like some beautiful natural staining has already occurred after only a couple days.

And lots of cracking has occurred on the unpainted piece as well! I guess it's pretty important to paint the ends...

Lots of lumber chunks. I made some that have no paint (none of the logs, however) to see what happens to them as they dry. I also put too much paint on one piece to see what would happen.

These pieces of wood aren't just going to sit on my workbench, though. They need a proper home.

The garage probably has temperature fluctuations that are too large for this to dry safely. I'll put the lumber chunks in the crawl space instead.

I raised the pieces up because I want air to circulate around each side, drying the logs evenly. (As a side note, the logs are also sticky. Raising them up helped fix the problem of wondering how to de-stick the carpet.

Fantastic! These logs are all done. I'll report back in two months- we'll see how the lumber chunks are doing then.