Preserving tree slices

Doug Stowe dstowe at
Sat Sep 22 10:01:34 EST 2001

In article <3babb67e.140930592 at>, 
dr_smug at (Ken Baker) wrote:

> That's all interesting advice, thank you. 
> The slice in question is about  1m in diameter, and 10cm thick, and I
> only have access to domestic equipment, so drying in a microwave or
> conventional oven isn't on the cards. Soaking something that size
> would be a bit of a pain, and I'm not sure I could afford that much
> sugar, or PEG. 8-)
> I think I might go for the slow drying approach, and (regularly)
> painting it with oil would slow down evaporation as well as being
> absorbed. I'd like to varnish it afterwards, but I'll cross that
> bridge when I come to it.
> Thanks again, all, for the advice,
> Ken.

Ken, a leather store here in Eureka Springs, Arkansas used to sell 
cutting boards made from birch tree rounds and belt buckles cut from 
tree limbs  both with the bark still intact.  It mystified me that they 
could be made without severe cracking.  So I did some experimentation.  
I noticed that if I took a green tree branch and cut thin slices off the 
end, the slices would dry without cracking.  The same tree branch, left 
in tact would crack severely.  Evidently the cracking is at least in 
part from a differential in shrinkage from the end of the wood toward 
the middle in the process of drying.  There are other factors involved 
as well, particularly the difference between radial and tangential 
shrinkage factors.  I think you are right in going for the slow drying 


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