How to Stop Wood from Splitting when Drying

Wood is essential in our day-to-day activities. They’re likewise used for different projects ranging from carving to furniture etc. It is, however, vital that you have your wood dried without getting cracks in it. However, having split in woods when drying is inevitable due to the expansion and contractions of the wood.

This article on how to stop wood from breaking when drying is the right stop for you as it details various methods of preventing splits in wood, including green woods. Most times, sealants, linseed oil, stabilizers, salt paste, and wax are some methods used. Each technique is discussed extensively and outlined in basic guidelines. All methods are highly efficient and proficient.

How to stop wood from splitting when drying

How to Stop Wood from Splitting when Drying

When wood dries, there’s a high tendency for it to split because as the moisture content dries up through evaporation, the wood contracts and expands, making it crack. There are various ways of stopping wood from splitting while drying. You can use some of the following methods, which are

  • Use of sealant or stabilizer
  • Use of salt paste 
  • Use of varnish

 1. Use of sealant or stabilizers

 Step one: Get a suitable container.

It would help if you found suitable stainless steel, fiberglass, or plastic container to occupy the wood comfortably. Using metal containers might discolor the wood. After getting your desired container, clean the container thoroughly till it’s free from dirt.

Step two: Fit the wood in the container

First off, place wood pieces at the bottom of the wood and then arrange them well with the exact sizes put together.

Step three: prepare your stabilizing solutions.

It would be best if you used rubber gloves before you use your stabilizers. Ensure the gloves fit your hands well. This will protect your hands from being exposed to chemicals. Perhaps your hands get in contact with the stabilizer. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water to avoid getting sick.

Step four: Apply your stabilizer,

They’re various wood sealants that work for various types of wood. If your wood is still very fresh, you can soak it up in a wood stabilizer, and for partly dry woods, sealers are the most suitable.

To apply, pour in either the sealant or stabilizer halfway into the container, then cover it with a plastic wrap. The plastic wrap prevents evaporation and also gives the wood ample time to soak in the solution. Leave the wood in the container for at least 24hours for easy penetration. Then you can remove the wood and leave it to dry.

 2. Use of salt paste

 Using salt paste is one of the simplest methods of preventing splits in drying wood. When applied to the wood, the salt paste absorbs moisture, which eventually prevents the wood from splitting.

Step one: prepare a salt solution

Get a bucket, and fill it up with fresh, cool water. Add salt to the water and then mix thoroughly till it gets incorporated. Leave the solution for about four hours.

Step two: Add cornstarch

To get the salt paste, add cornstarch and be careful not to add excess she eventually. If you do, and it becomes hard, add water to it.

Step three: Add eggs,

Add in three egg whites and mix thoroughly till all the egg white vanishes. This is to avoid the wood getting flakes.

Step four: Apply the paste

get a paintbrush and use it to apply the paste evenly over the wood till it forms a layer of coat over the wood surface. 

Step five: leave to dry.

Place the wood in a warm area and leave it to dry.

 3. Use of varnish

The use of varnish is another way of stopping splits in woods by reducing the rate at which moisture content escapes from the wood.

Step one: prepare your varnish.

Get a big plastic bucket and pour equal amounts of aluminum paint and spar varnish in it and then mix.

Step two: mix your sealer.

Pour equal parts of white wood glue and warm water inside a plastic bucket and then mix.

Step three: Apply the varnish.

Use a paintbrush to apply the solution on all ends of the wood. Next, thoroughly apply varnish on the ends of the wood and use at least two coats.

Step four: Apply the sealer.

Apply the mixed solution of wood glue on the ends of the smaller logs of wood. Keep applying till it stops soaking in.

How to Keep Green Wood From Splitting

Greenwood are freshly cut woods, and during the process of storing them, if care is not taken, they’ll crack and hey split. Therefore, it is also necessary to protect the wood from fungi and wood-infesting bacteria. In addition, this will protect the wood from rotting.

Also, to avoid unnecessary stress, it is advisable to dry your wood in the form of boards instead of wood logs. This will enhance drying with fewer splits.

There are various methods of keeping green wood from splitting, but we’ll intensively discuss three methods which are

  • Use of boiled linseed oil
  • Use of sealant
  • Use of paintable wax

 Use of sealant works so that once it touches wood, it comes in contact with the moisture content of the wood located at the rear parts of the wood. You can make use of a high-quality sealant that consists of plant-based polymers and wax

Step one: Clean the wood.

It is essential to clean the wood before applying anything on the wood. Clean the entire surface of the wood and make sure it is free from dust or any form of grime.

Step two: Apply the sealant.

Always make use of a solid and high-quality sealer. This will protect the wood and prevent it from splitting.

There are various ways you can apply the sealant. You can use a brush or a sprayer. You can use a brush to gently apply the sealant along the edges of the wood and the wood.

Furthermore, you can also use a sprayer with a 0.55 mm tip to apply sealant on wood with a thickness of 24″/60 cm in diameter. If the wood is thicker than that, you can use two coats to be on a safer side.

Another method of applying is the dipping method. You can do this by getting a tub, pour sealer into it, dip the logs in it, take out the wood, and dry it.

 3. Use of paintable wax,

 Any good DIY wax will work effectively to protect green wood from splitting.

Step one: Prepare your wax.

You can also prepare your way in the corner of your home without having to rush to the DIY store. Get a considerable amount of wax candles and put them in a plastic bag. Use a hammer to break the candles into tiny bits.

After hammering the candles, get a food scale, measure the plastic bag with candle bits, and take it in ounces. Then bring a saucepan or any other pot and then place all the candle bits into the pot. Heat the pan or pot till all the candles completely melt.

Get a canning container, and then add a paint thinner. The measurement of the paint thinner must be the same as one-fourth of the candles in the plastic bag. Then pour the melted wax into the container and shake lightly to get the mixture. Always be careful not to get thinner near fires as they might explode.

Step two: Apply the wax to your wood.

Use a brush to apply a light coat of wax on the greenwood along the edges and the wood surface.

 Use of boiled linseed and teak oil is often used to preserve green wood, but teak oil takes longer to dry, making linseed more preferable to use. Linseed protects against rot, splits, and cracks in greenwood. It is an easy and effective method of application.

Step one: sand the wood,

Sand the entire expanse of the wood. You can send the entire surface for boards, the whole you sand the open ends for logs. Ensure you sand the wood in the direction of the wood fibers. After sanding, clear the wood of its dust.

Step two: Apply the oil.

You can use a brush to apply the boiled linseed oil on the wood and leave it to dry in an open area with little or no sunlight because too much sunlight will be too hard on the wood.

Pro-tips on how to keep wood from splitting

  • Avoid storing your wood in the basement. It spoils and reduces the life span of the wood.
  • Keep the wood away from unnecessary heat and fire.
  • Keep furniture out of sunshine.
  • Greenwoods should be used even though they’re still fresh 
  • Keep wood in the form of boards instead of logs
  • When working with aluminum or stabilizers, use rubber gloves to protect your hands from direct contact with the solution.
  • After applying linseed oil, keep it in a cool place instead of direct sunlight.

Materials and equipment needed

  • Stabilizer or sealant
  • Containers
  • Plastic bucket
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paintbrushes
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Eggs
  • Paint thinner
  • Wax candles
  • Hammer
  • Canning jars
  • Food scale
  • Aluminum paint 
  • Spar varnish
  • Wood glue

Conclusion – How to Stop Wood from Splitting when Drying

Moisture contents getting out of the wood sometimes makes the wood shrink, and the environmental conditions also make the wood contract which eventually results in splits.

However, the discussed methods above have proved effective over the years, and all you have to do is follow the basic steps, and you’ll have your wood good as new.

Sealants, varnish, stabilizers, and natural oils are easy to use, but it is advisable to wear rubber gloves when working with stabilizers and aluminum paint. This will protect you from health hazards.

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