Preparing a stump for studio use

Is anti-freeze not polyethylene glycol? PEG (wood preservative) 

Automotive anti-freeze is ethylene glycol (no "poly). The difference
is one will dry and become a resin type material in the wood. The
other is primarily formulated to stay liquid at thermal extremes.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL

Thanks to certain other Possum Lodge habitues,

Further consultations have yielded a brilliant solution - well
within anyone’s resources.

No electricity, expensive devices, noxious chemicals, exotic skills,
nor abuse of home appliances required.

Cover the entire stump with several layers of overlapping, tightly-
wound duct tape.

I can think of numbers of other problems, objects, and nuisances for
which this might be helpful.

Marty in Victoria where helpfulness is a way of life.

Marty, I too am an affecionado of the Possum Lodge (although they do
NOT accept women into their esteemed ranks…what’s up with that!?!)
and I do believe you have floated the ultimate solution for, yes,
MANY of life’s challenges, not the least of which would be those
pesky bugs.

Cori in Wisconsin where we remember that although duct tape hold’s
’em tight, clear packing tape is hard to spot from a distance and
then they just look well behaved…

A couple comments from a part-time metalsmith, full-time museum

  1. A simple freezing will probably not be enough to kill any bugs in
    the stump. Most insects must be able to withstand winter temps
    (depending on where you live of course). With something with the mass
    of a stump, it will take quite a while, especially in a regular deep
    freezer, giving the little buggers time to develop the "anti-freeze"
    in their blood to survive. I’d suggest you set your deep freeze as
    cold as it will go, freeze it for at least a week but better yet a
    month, pull it out for a day in a warm place and then back into the
    freezer. The “shock” will make it far more likely to kill any insects
    that may call the stump home.

  2. Anoxic treatment (ie. putting it in a oxygen free environment)
    along with freezing are both common methods used for pest eradication
    in museums. (since pesticides are now for the most part a no-no and
    generally avoided). This would be quite difficult to do in a “home
    setting”. Common plastic bags such as zip locks and trash bags are
    not air tight and therefore, will not work. You need something like
    Marvel Seal © or Mylar ©, that is thermally sealed (or otherwise
    sealed completely air tight) to work. (A vacuum packer commonly sold
    for food storage will work on small objects as long as they don’t get
    crushed from the vacuum) Then, the oxygen is replaced with an inert
    gas such as Marty suggested or oxygen scavengers are placed in
    container to remove the oxygen. While highly effective, I don’t think
    this is pratical in a home setting.

  3. A borate treatment is a good idea. It is far safer (yet still
    effective) than antifreeze or the other common wood treatments. We
    use it as a part of the regular maintenance program on our outdoor
    totem poles. (it is also an effective fungicide) I’m not sure how
    the borates might react, however, with stakes, stake anvils, etc that
    are driven into it. Someone out there might have knowledge and
    comment on that.

Hi Marty:

I never did ask the person who sent in the original query what she
was going to do with the stump. But I assumed it is meant to be
used as a heavy lump of wood to bang hammers on or stick anvils on.
It does not have to be treated like a Louis XIV gilded armchair. 

I’m not the original person but, what a good laugh! I really enjoyed
your post. On the day of the first post of advice on this subject, i
went to my husband and said “guess what, I’m not going to be able to
use my tree stump yet…I have to remove the bark…maybe treat it
with antifreeze to kill larvae and bugs that may be inside…and then
coat it with a sealant…just in case”

His reply, “or, you could just use it. If we see any bugs in the
future, we can take care of it at that point”

Since my stump is in the garage, I’m ok with this. It reminds me of
when I say to myself, “I’m going to make things today…as soon as I
vacuum, do the dishes, make the beds etc etc…then I’m going to

Thanks Marty

Many years ago I purchased a TREATED pole from a lumber yard that
specialized in lumber for marine and outdoor use. 

These are poisonous. My building contractor husband will not let me
burn any of this material, and we are careful to wash our hands
after handling it.

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA

Hi Everyone,

I want to thank everyone who responded to my post. Sorry it took so
long to get back to you, I was away and then really busy and haven’t
checked my e-mail in a while and for some reason I wasn’t getting
the digest. It is back in my inbox again.

I have learned so much about chemicals and woods from this post. I
don’t have a big freezer…I don’t want to use poisons…I cant pick
the darn thing up…So, I am thinking about the buying solution. I
covet the post of a friend and might just wait until he retires.
Marty in BVC really has been fun to listen to and I particularly
love the duct tape solution. I once made a handbag out of the
precious stuff.

Kim, you forgot the great excuse of reading your Orchid Digest
first! And Hratch, I don’t know how to contact you off line.

Esta Jo Schifter
Philadelphia PA


PEG is a very large polymer molecule and is considered a water
soluble wax wax. Search PEG or Carbowax for more. It has a lot of
uses other than as a wood stabilizer. 

Thanks for explaining what PEG is. I’ve been looking for water
soluble wax to use as support material for rapid prototyping. This
stuff seems ideal; it’s common and nontoxic (they use it in skin
cream). It looks like PEG has a variety of different melting points,
depending on molecular weight (how long the polymer chain is, for us
non-chemists), so it’s anywhere from a viscous liquid to a hard solid
at room temperature.

I’ll have to pick some up; I’ll see if I can hit up an obliging
manufacturer for a sample.

Some quick links via google:

a manufacturer (not known for being obliging):

MSDS: Not Found | Avantor

Sebastien Bailard - self-reproducing 3D printer project

I don’t believe PEG is appropriate for stereo lithography- rapid
prototyping. I suggest you look at: materials. There is
list of materials currently used – you should be able to dig up more
info easily.

Carbowax was a Union Carbide development and product before Bopal.

Research samples are not hard to get if you have some credentials or
a recognised qualified employer.



I’m doing filament deposition manufacturing (FDM) - moving a little
glue gun around using a home-built three-axis postioning system. Much
easier than STL - shining two laser beams into a tank of liquid
monomer and solidifying 3D pixels of it where the beams intersect.

I was planning on using PEG for support material, as a temporary
structure to hold up a thermoplastic like ABS or similar.
(Polycaprolactone, actually, which melts at 60C, similar to ThermoLoc
or Jett-Sett.)
Then mechanically remove the PEG in a cool water bath with a brass
brush, or something.

It might work. It’s too good a possibility not to try.

I wonder if PEG is the basis for the water-soluble wax used in
jewelry fabrication?


(Hi Seth,

You are probably already aware, but in case not, I am commenting here to give you an example to look at…

I noticed while searching, that the links posted in many posts just take me back to the “all categories” main page of this new forum…I realize the top of this thread is very old, but figured I would use it as an example since it was occuring here…

(see the top of this thread, where it has some archive post links)

Thank you!


@wldlzrd1 Yes, I am aware of it. I will explain it below.

First an ask.

Please do not bump old threads in the jewelry discussion category to provide site feedback. The best way to bring something like this to my attention is to either flag it, private message me with a link, or start a thread in the site feedback category. If you reply to it without any intention of discussing the topic at hand, everyone on Orchid assumes new “Jewelry discussion” is ensuing.

It is no problem to reply to an old thread if you want to continue that discussion.

Second… the issue of old links to the archived messages. The short answer is, yes, it is an issue we’ve known about since the beginning of the import project. Unfortunately, the solution (301-redirecting all old the old discrete message URLS to their corresponding new thread URL), while technically feasible, required a whole bunch of extra engineering work and a lot of manual work. There are 50,000 threads and 250,000 messages. It is possible to go back and do all of this work later, when budget allows.

Whether and when we do so depends,

  1. on how many paying members and advertisers we have supporting us, and therefore how much budget we have available
  2. how many competing projects on Ganoksin/Orchid are in our backlog
  3. how convinced I become, looking at actual usage statistics, that this is a problem worth the meaningful expense to solve :slight_smile: moreso than the other projects in our priority list that may have more community impact.

The best thing to do in the meantime is add links where relevant (contribute to bring the thread current), or simply search for the relevant threads.

Hope this helps…

Also… keep the site feedback coming - I don’t mean to discourage you! We need the feedback to spot issues.

Here is another thought. Look to a demolition company that has salvage. You can get parts of beams from buildings they pull down. Some of them can be as large as 12 by 12 or 8 by 12. These are usually bug free. Lookup recycled timbers in your browser. What you are looking for would probably be an end cut and waste.
Steve Ramsdell

Haha… and just like that, a decade old conversation brought back to life.


yes, I was actually searching the forum to learn how to prepare a stump, or build and anvil stand, and also how to determine the proper height for an anvil, to be used while seated…

Anvil Height:
For use while standing, the advice seems pretty consistent…stand with arm down and hand in a fist…top of anvil should be at knuckle height

For use while seated, there seems to be a few different suggestions…

1- bend arm at elbow to 90 degrees…top of anvil should be at forearm height…
2- bend arm at elbow to 90 degrees, while holding a hammer…top of anvil should be approx 2 inches lower than hammer face…

I am trying out the anvil set up the for above heights, temporarily, to see which one works best for me…in terms of trying not to use/ raise my shoulder…

I had collected a stump, but did not prepare it properly, and it became buggy, Instead of acquiring another stump, I am contemplating building a stand out of 4x4" lumber.

Anvil Stand:
for my temporary set up, I am using a 9.5 inch high Rubbermaid stepstool with a 300lb load rating, with two pieces of 4"x4" laying across (actually 3.5x3.5")…the anvil is 7.5" tall, so the anvil face is about 20.5 inches above the floor…(my anvil is only 65lbs)

I will eventually make an anvil stand using 12 pieces of 4x4, making a cube with the endgrain up…I just have to figure out the length of the pieces…probably 13 inches… (which will be glued and screwed together)…
any further advice would be greatly appreciated!