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Long term log/stock storage?

Randy Anderson

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I sell almost all of my items at local craft show markets and events. Haven't cracked the code with online sales yet although I have a web site and Etsy. With things the way they are now all of them have cancelled until next year. So, I've slowed down final production quite a bit but want to keep my bowl blank and rough log inventory in good shape with different species. I live in the country on 4 acres so have space outside and some in my storage barn but, you can only store so much. Once I rough something out I have an inside area to put them. Putting sealed logs on pallets with a tarp is OK for a while but doesn't take long before mold, insects, etc start to be a problem. Plus I have to cover, uncover, etc based on rain, weather, etc. Uncovered under big trees for shade means they get rained on and some sun exposure. Covered with the tarp means they get very damp and moldy over time. I don't have room to put all the rough logs inside. I usually gather more than I need expecting some failure rate over time.

Any tips on storing log stock, usually cut in half with corners rounded with the chain saw, outside over time? Seal with two coats? Seal ends and faces? Just an awning for sun and rain but lets in air flow? Raised open air racks? Getting quite a bit of honey locust in a week or two so need to figure something out before I put it on the pallets with the rest of what I have out back now.
 
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I am a self proclaimed wood hoarder and also have entire logs laying around waiting to spault as well as tons of stuff already cut up and sealed.
The best thing I have found for long term storage is the blanks sealed with paraffin. They seem to hold up much better than anything that was sealed with anchorseal or the equivalent. I have some that were both done at the same time while I was experimenting and there is no comparison. I still use anchorseal all the time but if I have a piece that really means something to me and I know I'm not going to get to it soon I'll use wax.
Paraffin is a pain to use unless you plan to do several at a time but then it's pretty fast and efficient of doing several.
I print a small tag with the date and specie and staple it onto the end. Heat the paraffin up in an old garage sale high sided skillet and dip each end. If I'm cutting rounds I seal the entire surface by simply rolling it thru the paraffin. You want the wax to be pretty hot so it soaks into the grain before cooling. If you have a piece of heavy plastic or tarp on the floor you can let them cool on that.
If you are processing really wet green wood it helps to let the ends air dry for several hours or overnight after cutting before sealing with paraffin. That way the wax has a chance to really soak into the grain. How long to wait depends on whether you live in colorado or louisiana.
If you search eBay and or amazon you can find some big blocks of paraffin that are much cheaper per lb than the normal stuff sold and used for canning.
The one thing I've wanted to try and just haven't is to seal the ends of longer logs with paraffin to see if it helps with end checking etc as they are stored outside in the shade.
 
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a test between monetizing vs just doing it
I feel your pain.....exhibitions are opening back up but with strict guidelines and limits.....plus the buyers are focused on new paradigm
 

hockenbery

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Wood has a shelf life. The use by date on having white sapwood on Cherry and walnut is a few weeks.

The heartwood in a walnut log can last a long long time. I got permission to cut a walnut 30” diameter windfall that had been on the ground for at least 3 years near Annapolis Md. the main bole was off the ground as it fell uphill. The heartwood was in great shape. No cracks and still about 20% - 25% MC.

Probably the best way to store the wood is as full logs 8-12 foot long if you have the equipment to move them.
A turner I knew in MD got a developer to stack a bunch of logs behind his house. Mostly Cherry, maple, beech, poplar. The Cherry logs were producing good classroom blanks for over five years. The poplar, maple, and beech maybe 3 years.
 
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It sounds like you are talking about storing chained-sawed blanks. If so, I have had some really good success with storage of blanks in a barrel of water with some Dawn detergent added. You can get quite a few blanks in a 55 gal. plastic drum. How long? I'm not sure. I roughed out some blanks that were soaked 14 months and they did fine...a little bit of stain, a little bit smelly...but cracks were under control. You might recall that the old log mills always had an adjacent mill pond to keep the logs soaked until they could be processed. I think that the same reasoning works on turning blanks.
 
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Biggest issue for me has been powder post beetle. You should get some borate preventive insecticide and apply it to everything! Pronto! Nothing breaks your heart like burning 26" wide 8/4 curly soft maple due to an infestation.
 
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Biggest issue for me has been powder post beetle. You should get some borate preventive insecticide and apply it to everything! Pronto! Nothing breaks your heart like burning 26" wide 8/4 curly soft maple due to an infestation.

I suspect that infesting one's house with those little buggers may be a slightly larger heartbreak :D. Good advise...I am going to dust around the walls of my shop with Boric Acid and Diatomaceous Earth.
 
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I print a small tag with the date and specie and staple it onto the end. Heat the paraffin up in an old garage sale high sided skillet and dip each end. If I'm cutting rounds I seal the entire surface by simply rolling it thru the paraffin. You want the wax to be pretty hot so it soaks into the grain before cooling. If you have a piece of heavy plastic or tarp on the floor you can let them cool on that.
they are stored outside in the shade.


Don I will have to disagree on one point, Paraffin has too high a molecular weight to go into the grain . I will go in slightly on open grain wood but does not penetrate. Yes I agree it is a good method.
 
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Gerald I agree about how little it soaks in but the point I was trying to get across is that if the log ends are slightly dried the wax would soak into the grain enough to bond. If you try it on a fresh cut, very wet end the wax turns white because of the contact with the water and doesn't have anything to grab to. On the ones I tried fresh the wax wouldn't bond and could easily be chipped or broken off over time.
 

Randy Anderson

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Thanks for the info guys. Have not tried paraffin and not sure I want to start heating up enough to seal my logs. Many are way to big to be picking up and dipping. Guess I could use an old stiff brush and maybe one of those burners to deep fry a turkey. Worth considering since anchorseal is not cheap as you know and I go through a fair amount of it. That said, easy to take with me and just slap it on in the field as I'm putting them on the trailer. Here's my current setup for stuff I haul back. Once I rough it out it goes inside a closed shed or garage storage. Problem I think is really just all of it close to the ground, damp a lot of the time and tarps just make it worse. Think at least for now I'll build some knee high racks out of treated lumber. Some elm and maple.
 

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Randy Anderson

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I've seen people use it for sealer. It's certainly a lot cheaper than anchor seal. My hesitation is water resistance. My logs stored outside will likely get a bit of rain from time to time based on how well I can keep them covered. Not sure if it holds up or washes off.
 
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Thanks for the info guys. Have not tried paraffin and not sure I want to start heating up enough to seal my logs. Many are way to big to be picking up and dipping. Guess I could use an old stiff brush and maybe one of those burners to deep fry a turkey. Worth considering since anchorseal is not cheap as you know and I go through a fair amount of it. That said, easy to take with me and just slap it on in the field as I'm putting them on the trailer. Here's my current setup for stuff I haul back. Once I rough it out it goes inside a closed shed or garage storage. Problem I think is really just all of it close to the ground, damp a lot of the time and tarps just make it worse. Think at least for now I'll build some knee high racks out of treated lumber. Some elm and maple.


You have the pallets so just attach 2x4 to edge as legs and with one above and one below will be the shelf. On the glue if TB II is water resistant but even at that would not want it to sit in water. I really do no believe even carpenters glue would wash off enough to reduce coating.
 
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Germantown, NC
I've seen people use it for sealer. It's certainly a lot cheaper than anchor seal. My hesitation is water resistance. My logs stored outside will likely get a bit of rain from time to time based on how well I can keep them covered. Not sure if it holds up or washes off.
For outdoor use exterior latex paint works the best. Most paint store usually have a gallon or two that’s been mistinted you can get for a few bucks. Habitat Restore is another good source. I’ve seen it hold up over a year with very little checking. You want to really put it on thick. If it isn’t running you need more on there, like all you can get to go on.
 
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When I use discounted latex paint I usually apply one coat and when I finish coating all of the log ends I go back and apply a second coat to get a good thick coat applied.
When I use hot wax if the pieces are small enough I dip them right into the oil cooker with the hot liquid wax several inches deep in the pot I dip it several times to get a good seal on the wood blanks, these are usually the spindle blanks I process for turning in a year or two or when retirement finally roles around.
 
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One of our guild members applies paraffin by melting in place with a propane torch when sawing blanks. Dollar store candles are cheaper than canning paraffin. I use anything I can get my hands on but prefer to use an electric frypan, skillet in USA, heated to 225 so water sizzles out when wood is immersed. That produces a good bond and is much thicker than using wax emulsion end coat. I use 3/8"to 1/2" in the pan and can easily do spindle material and roll bowl blanks, either round or corners sawn off with chain saw. You mentioned honey locust. It likes to split when stored. I would at least saw log sections in half and eliminate the pith if possible. I did this to a bunch of ambrosia Silver Maple years ago and never got to a lot of it. Powder Post Beetle got to it before I did. Had to burn it.
 
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Hey Randy, Have you considered building a small pole barn. With 4 acres there would be room. I'm sure there are plans on u tube. People who burn a lot of wood erect wood sheds for a reason. pmk
 

John Jordan

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The wood keeps much better in whole logs, or the largest pieces you can get. Cut them only as you use them. I keep them covered with a tarp if they are really valuable to me, but most of the time they just lay under a tree, and if they get too stained up, take them to the pile. Cutting and sealing is a lot of work, and as you have found, not ideal. I keep a freezer in my garage filled with primo pieces wrapped in plastic, so I have a variety of special woods pretty much all the time. Not practical for some things but works well for me. It keeps the sapwood white, light-colored woods from staining and no bugs.

John
 

Randy Anderson

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Thanks for the tips. I've gone back and forth on how to store. Since I have to go load it up in my truck I do have to cut to a size I can at least get into my truck or roll onto my trailer but as you know, a green log is very heavy and I'm not 25 any more. Some I split and knock off corners with the chainsaw when I get home. In the field if I can't manage it to load it safely. Some I leave in manageable log sections and split later. All ends get sealed as soon as I get home. For now I've simply raised my racks up 24" off the ground. They're under a shaded area so no real direct sun. I have several sheds and small barns now out back but of course full of tractors, lawn gear, equipment, etc. One shed is dedicated to smaller stuff, cut ready to turn and sealed or wrapped. Outside are logs and rough blanks that need bandsaw work to turn but I can at least lift them onto my buggy and haul to the shop. Funny, when I started a couple years ago I never anticipated the amount of manual labor work it takes to gather, process and store a good backlog of log blanks.
 
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It sounds like you are talking about storing chained-sawed blanks. If so, I have had some really good success with storage of blanks in a barrel of water with some Dawn detergent added. You can get quite a few blanks in a 55 gal. plastic drum. How long? I'm not sure. I roughed out some blanks that were soaked 14 months and they did fine...a little bit of stain, a little bit smelly...but cracks were under control. You might recall that the old log mills always had an adjacent mill pond to keep the logs soaked until they could be processed. I think that the same reasoning works on turning blanks.

I think I'm going to go by BJs and get a few large blue barrels.
 
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