Preserving tree slices

Doug doug at
Thu Sep 20 19:20:10 EST 2001

The following is folklore. I do not know how good the information is.

The splitting is caused by differential drying and water absorbation
as the humidty changes. Sap is water soluable until the first time it
dries, and then is no longer soluable. The cells close to the surface
dry and shrink first causing splitting. The inner cells are prevented
from breathing beacuse of the dried sap. I have been told that the
trees used for the mast on early sailing ships were submerged in a
river for a year before using. The idea was to wash all the sap out of
the wood before it dried, to prevent splitting. By keeping them
submerged and away from air, the year in the water did not rot the

Good Luck

On Thu, 20 Sep 2001 09:52:15 GMT, dr_smug at (Ken Baker)

>I'd like to preserve a slice from a large tree which was just cut
>down, and I wondered what the best way of drying the slice was to
>prevent cracking? 
>The tree was a Horse Chestnut (conker) tree, if that makes any
>Any dendrochronologists (or anybody) able to give me advice?
>Many thanks in advance..

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