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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving New to carving, wood sealing drying question. BIG logs.
New to carving, wood sealing drying question. BIG logs.
Mister Sparkle

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 9
Posted: 2004-11-15 10:45 am   Permalink

Ok peeps, this is my first tiki, and I need some more expert wisdom. The first photo of a piece of wood that was on the side of someones lawn (Chicago area), I sealed the ends with some sealer, waited about 30-60 days, and started to strip the bark with a chisel. (this is my practice log), soon after, the wood started splitting big time.

I found a bonus this weekend of some fresh cut wood down the street, (can anyone tell what it is? My friends think the one on the left is walnut, and the one on the right is oak.). I dont want to make the same mistake on these two humongous gems, what do you people suggest? Should I immediatly seal the ends? And how long do I sit on the logs until I can start the strip the bark? Finding these logs, at this size and having a pick up truck available at the time is extremely rare and I cannot afford to mess these up! Please shower me with your wisdom tiki people!

[ This Message was edited by: Mister Sparkle on 2004-11-15 10:47 ]

For a size reference, note the verticle 2x4 on the right side of the right log, they are both about 4-5 feet tall, and _heavy!_

I do plan on sharing this whole carving experience too for the forum, so expect to see this whole progress.

[ This Message was edited by: Mister Sparkle on 2004-11-15 10:49 ]

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Nov 04, 2004
Posts: 12
From: Virginia, USA
Posted: 2004-11-27 4:23 pm   Permalink

I think the faster the log dries, the more likely to crack. Also, real sappy wood like pines and maple will crack easier. Direct sunlight or dry air from indoor heating seems to make them split. actually, I am only going on experience with storing firewood, but same difference. I know that improper pruning of a tree by removing too much foilage can cause sunscald, in which the trunk or branch will crack or split.
I found Olympic makes an outdoor clear waterproof sealer with linseed oil and poly, it's for decks and stuff.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10397
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2004-11-27 7:48 pm   Permalink

Throw the wood into the wood pile and cover it with a tarp. Whenever you are ready to carve a piece. go to your wood pile and pick a log, then strip it and begin making it lighter,and thinner and don't forget to make it look like a tiki.

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Lake Surfer
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 21, 2002
Posts: 3414
From: Milwaukee, WI
Posted: 2004-11-27 11:22 pm   Permalink

Those cracks in the first one are nothing... carve away! All wood will crack... as the water leaves the wood contracts and pulls apart on itself. I don't start carving until the wood is fully dry... then find the best side that isn't cracked the worst....

The first piece looks a soft wood like willow or basswood which dries super quick and cracks quick... was the area where the log was found low lying and wet? Basswood doesn't burn, so that could be the reason it was tossed aside and not used for firewood. It also has that milky white look to it after debarking. Your third one does look like an oak or a maple...

This time of the year around here wood will dry out quick with the low dew points... and if you leave it outside to dry the water and moisture inside will freeze...

Keep them in a dry basement at around room temp with the bark on if you intend on carving them soon... they may mold a little bit but that's happened to me a lot... having a dehumidifier nearby will help dry them out too...

[ This Message was edited by: Lake Surfer on 2004-11-27 23:36 ]

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Mister Sparkle

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 9
Posted: 2004-11-29 2:53 pm   Permalink

Thanks for the tips, I have the logs in a heated garage (detatched from the house, whoich is great for I can make all the noice I want), so Ill put a humidifier nearby to keep some moisture around.

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8FT Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 30, 2003
Posts: 1406
From: Kansas City, MO
Posted: 2005-07-23 6:58 pm   Permalink

I just got a can of this Pruning sealer from the local Ace Hardware for less than $6. It coats as easy and as fast as spray paint. I just applied it to the 3 new fresh cut hog sized logs I brought home. Hopefully that will help slow the drying and prevent a lot of cracking.

By the way Mr. Sparkle, if you're still around, that second log appears to be a Maple. Show us what you did with those.

I once was lost............but now I'm found

[ This Message was edited by: 8FT Tiki 2005-07-23 19:01 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 05, 2002
Posts: 156
From: ATL
Posted: 2006-03-19 05:01 am   Permalink

Just another question about drying logs as I have just come into a bunch of them. About how long do you need to let them dry before stripping the bark and what (if any) product should I look for to put on the ends while they dry? Thanks for the help.

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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3601
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2006-03-19 5:47 pm   Permalink

I agree with Lake and Ben...It's wood. It splits. It cracks. It checks. Just go with it...A tiki without a crack somewhere just doesn't look right in my book. I like them. Sometimes I'll even turn a log a certain way to strategically position a crack or cracks in a carving. Like part of the carving..They look really cool on the side of the forehead or through an eye....says "Look at me- I'm old-Bought at Don The Beachcomber's Yard Sale!!" Common pruning seal on the ends will help reduce the size of the splits (logs lose 70 percent of their moisture through the cut ends) but the more I see the more I think it's just prolonging the inevitable.

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big daddy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 02, 2008
Posts: 325
From: houston
Posted: 2008-10-02 2:36 pm   Permalink

hello everyone,
i'm new to tiki central but Formikahini got me carving tiki's about 2 years ago. i've been using pecan(lot's of it here in houston) but scored on 3 big logs of a palm tree and have a 15 ft palm for carving that will be mine shortly . my question, if someone can help is how do i dry the logs (4 ft x 18 in) and how long should i wait? any help will be greatly appreciated.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 1513
From: Houston, Texotica
Posted: 2008-10-02 2:47 pm   Permalink

Somebody help Big Daddy, 'cause I plan to make him make one of these for me!!

Ike may have knocked a helluva lotta trees down here, but that doesn't mean we can't find a silver lining: free wood!! EVERYwhere!!

Already salivating,
"Zazz captivates felt."

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2004
Posts: 1976
From: Omao, Kauai
Posted: 2008-10-02 3:13 pm   Permalink

The first thing I suggest is to find out what kind of palm you have. Not all kinds are good for carving.

I like to let palm dry for a couple months, but I have carved pieces that have sat for 4 years, and pieces that were cut the day before.

Fresher palm wood equals softer easier carving, but greater chance of serious splitting and cracking.

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