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Using a sealer to slow the drying



Containers and shavings slows the drying process but can take up extra space in the shop, especially if you have a bunch of blanks in different stages of drying.


Another method of slowing the drying is to put a sealer directly on the surface of the blanks. This can work for the rough CUT blanks and the rough TURNED blanks. The sealer slows the transfer of the moisture from the wood to the air. The majority of the moisture is lost through the end grain pores. Sealing those areas is really important to reduce checking and splitting. For freshly cut logs (blanks) checking can occur within hours. Sealing immediately can reduce wasted material.


If you have purchased precut turning blanks (pen, bottle stoppers, bowls) you probably noticed the blank had wax covering at least part of the material. Dipping the end grain (or entire piece) in molten wax seals the pores and slows the drying. This method does require a way to melt wax in a large enough container to dip/submerge the blank.


Using a sealer that is already viscus, reduces the prep time and equipment needed. There are several commercially available products for sealing by painting the liquid onto the blanks.


One that has been around for a long time is Anchor Seal- a wax based emulsion. It is available from many places and is the choice of a lot of turners.



A similar product is available from Craft Supplies USA. Theirs is called "Tree Saver" and it’s a special blend of poly vinyl acetate.







Turners are typically "thrifty" individuals. Many have turned to using already available materials for sealers. One very popular substance is latex paint. A heavy coating (or two) can seal the end pores. In addition to sealing, using different colors can pretty up your wood stash!  



My favorite sealer is good old TiteBond II wood glue. Did you notice the Tree Saver product is a "PVA" based material. Well, TiteBond is a PVA glue. I paint the glue on the ends of logs to keep them from splitting/checking. I honestly haven't used it on rough turnings, yet. 




A little different method, but having similar effect, is to cover rough turned blanks with stretch wrap shipping material.







These methods have all been about slowing down the loss of moisture. But, as we know, woodturners are an impatient lot. What about speeding up the loss of moisture? Stay tuned.


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