Hello everyone, I found a tree in my neighborhood (Brooklyn, NY)
that has been cut down. The tree is not really green - or is
that just a descriptive term for a tree that has been recently
cut? It was a very large, tree, if the base were hollowed out I
would fit inside of it, and I am not a small person. It was a
deciduous tree, although I don’t know what species(?). There are
mostly oaks around it so I assume that’s what it is.
I brought home a piece of a branch that is approximately 10"-12"
in diameter. I want to go back to get a larger diameter piece (I
need help to get it home), and want to know if I can age/season
(correct me if this is not the right term) so I can use it in my
workshop for stakes, hammering, etc.
How do I prepare this for use, or where can I acquire a stump
that would be suited to my intended uses?
A Tree Grows (grew?) in Brooklyn!
Hi Gail, Lucky you, a nice big stump. The trick is to slow the
drying process so that the stump didn’t develop big cracks.
Leave the bark on if it will stay on. Coat the cut surfaces
with melted wax. And just leave it be for a year or two.
I did that over 20 years ago and my birch stump is still fine.
Now, an OAK stump, whoooooaaaa, what a find.
Seal the ends with hot paraffin wax or heavy paint and allow to
dry slowly. This will minimize checking (cracking) There is a
way of soaking the log in PEG, polyethylene glycol but that is
not as easy to find and will cost more. This is the treatment
used to prepare wet wood for turning into fancy bowls etc. They
also preserved the long sunk Swedish ship Vassa by slowly
pumping a PEG solution over it. The PEG replaces the water and
eliminates cracking. Jesse
Dear Ms. Middleton,
I’ve done the same with a section of tree trunk that I use as a
base for a large anvil. The logger who gave it to me told me to
polyurethane the circumference of the trunk, but NOT the two cut
ends. This is to allow the wood to dry out without cracking,
which it would normally do. A winter indoors dried it out nicely
and it hasn’t a crack in it. By the way, once the polyurethane
dries, put it on its side so both cut ends can air. If the bark
comes off easily, then pull it off. But I just polyurethaned
over the bark. Good Luck
Gail, “Green wood” is from a tree that has recently been cut down
and has not dried out yet. I got a green stump about 10 years
ago and had the same questions. What I was told was to paint the
cut ends of the wood with linseed oil every few weeks to reduce
the rate of drying out. If you do not do this it will crack and
become useless. If the the bark starts to come loose and expose
the wood on the side of the trunk then paint those areas with
linseed oil as well. This worked well for me my stump only had
minor cracks and dried out in about a year.
James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601
Gale, If you have some acrylic or latex paint, paint the cut
ends to slow the moisture evaporation from the cut ends. Then set
the block on a couple of sticks so that the air can get all
around it, top and bottom. This keeps the block from cracking on
the cut ends by not drying out faster than the bark covered
sides. Then set the block in a airy and dry corner for about two
or three years. OR, if you can find a Sawmill, that has a dryer,
that would dry the block for a moderate price, have him do it.
The mill could probably dry the block in about a week, if he
could get it right into the dryer que. You shouldn’t get any
splits this way either. Good luck P.S. There should be some small
mills around the mountain areas that handle hardwoods.
Gail, Your post reached out and grabbed me. I live in the ozark
mountains where they lap over into Oklahoma and can see nothing
but trees in any direction. A tree is green if it has green
leaves which you can look at at a distance and say, “That is a
green tree.” A tree is also green if it is a growing tree with
healthy sapwood even though it has been cut down. Your description
did not give us the critical dimension, the length of the piece,
but it must be stovewood size as it is ten or twelve inches in
diameter and you can still lift it. Green wood splits rather
easily, say with a meat cleaver and a pounder, so you can split
the pieceas large or small as you want. You can split and use
immediately but it will get harder and tend to continue
splitting as it dries. For permanence let it cure (dry) and then
prepare for use. For fun split and use immediately and cope with
the changes. Probably a good idea would be to put the piece in
the corner of your shop to admire and go the hardware store or
lumber yard and get a billet of wood six or eight or ten inches
square and a foot or two long. You can then split out stakes and
stuff as you need them and they will remain stable. Use the meat
cleaver and a pounder. A foot long, square sawed piece of
sufficient size would also make a good pounding surface that
would not harm metal finish. Ken Clark