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Jerry-Rig
Wood Finishing and Painting

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  #1  
Old 02-05-2003, 02:10 PM
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Default How do I stop my carvings from cracking

I carve large pieces of wood usually the whole log. Some woods crack more severly than others. I understand the theory of how wood cracks with the inside of the log dying out and contracting pulling the outer layer into cracks. Is there a way to stop the wood from cracking other than to drill out the entire core of the log. I have tried Raycrete to fill the cracks but it doesnt take stain very well so the crack is very visable. Does any one know of a product or way to stop the wood from checking.
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Old 02-05-2003, 02:41 PM
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Default Re: How do I stop my carvings from cracking

You can run a chainsaw down the back of the carving into the heart from top to bottom.That will reduce alot of the cracking,because the inside is drying out at close to the same rate as the outside.I learned this trick from the carvers at Dollywood.I hope this is of some help to you.
groozier
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: How do I stop my carvings from cracking

I have heard of using wax on the ends of the wood, but have never tried it myself and don't know if it works.
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:34 AM
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Default Re: How do I stop my carvings from cracking

There are two treatments that I am aware of (never tried them, but have friends who give them a thumbs up).

Pentacryl and PEG (polyethyline glycol) they may be the same stuff sold under different brand names. They are a mite pricey, but if you want to prevent the cracking you might try one of these.

On the other hand (are different fingers) part of the charm of large log carvings is the cracks that develop; maybe you're fighting the wrong battle, here!

Al
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:56 AM
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Default Re: How do I stop my carvings from cracking

Want to thank you all for the quick responses to my question I am really glad to be a part of this group. I will surf in every day to see what new things are happening in the carving world. I really like the response about leaving the cracks. I was talking with a real old timer (not that I am that young) and he told me this. 'Just let it crack and call it character' I think this is the best advice I have had although I will try the other methods, thanks again to all of you
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Old 02-06-2003, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: How do I stop my carvings from cracking

All good responses, I have a number of aspen poles I am going to carve into walking sticks, some I found dead and still standing were dry with no cracks, the others I cut, I sprayed the ends with clear coat...and haven't carved yet, but don't see any cracks.
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Old 02-06-2003, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: How do I stop my carvings from cracking

Not to sidetrack this thread, but I have a large chunk of basswood that cost me $42.00 many years ago. It has many cracks in it. That is the day when I learned the definition of a 'board foot.' :'(
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Old 02-07-2003, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: How do I stop my carvings from cracking

Several years ago while in Italy, I examined several very old woodern statues of saints *. they wwere about 3 feet high and dressed in robes. Down the back and out of sight the carver had cut a deep recess about 3/4 to 1 ' wide *There were only very small cracks in the front. These staues were over 200 years old. Hope this helps
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Old 02-07-2003, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: How do I stop my carvings from cracking

I like carving the crack. I've been doiong football helments, asize that you could put your thumb inside the helmet. When I get a crack, I work aroujd so it looks like the wearer took a big hit.

Recently I was about to cut out the inside of the helmet and ran into some dry flakey dark wood. Turned out to become a head inside the helmet, the thing looks like the Cleveland Browns 'junk yard dog' and I'am the ultimate 'BUCS' fan. Currently carvin the Super Bowl design on a ball cap.

Cracks are a good thing!
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