Friday, September 11, 2015

Woodworking: Sumac Drying Experiment- Progress

It's been nearly two months since I first started the sumac drying project, and I wanted to check on how the wood was drying.

The wood has been resting in the cool 70 degree Fahrenheit basement, where it has been drying on scrap wood pieces, raised off of the carpet.

Let's start by taking a look at the unpainted 1 inch thick rounds. There are some small (1-2 inch long) shakes (i.e. cracks with the grain) in the flat surfaces.

Not a great outlook.

There are also some large checks (across-ring cracks). Overall, not painting the small rounds caused the wood to fail the drying.

Did the painted 1 inch thick rounds fare any better? Disappointingly, not really- they also had checks and shakes. So the painted 1 inch rounds also failed to dry correctly.

Did the 3-pronged chunk that I painted one side of survive the drying process?

On the bottom, there are some large cracks that show pretty clearly.

The wood has also begun to split badly at the three unpainted ends.

Painting half of a part, instead of the whole thing, was also a failure.

The large, painted, 2 inch slice survived without cracking (maybe because there was not very much moisture in the thin piece of wood) , so that was a pass.

The large 1-foot long (7-inch diameter) trunk section had cracks, and it really isn't an acceptable piece of wood any more. This piece failed the painting test. It still had the proper number of coats of paint, though, just like the other painted parts. For some reason, the checking is much more severe here.

Another shot of the 1-foot-long section.

The checking here most likely started at the end of the log, and spread down.

This is what the end of one of the 3 ft long (3 inch diameter) sections looks like- no cracks! The 3 ft long sections were some of the most important parts of the project for me, and their forms offer lots of options for the final product, so I'm glad they worked out.

The end of one of the 3 ft long sections. Clean, and free from cracks!

Looks great!

No shakes occurred, but this broken limb has a large check in it.

A closeup of one of the 3 ft long branches, with a small branch that was broken off and painted over. The 3 ft parts were in great condition.

Looking good! This wood is going to dry for a couple more months, and then we'll check it again!