Have you ever decided to turn that beautiful piece of wood you’ve been saving for a special project only to discover it has checked and cracked.  Maybe you forgot to end seal it before putting it away to dry?  I’m sure every wood turner has experienced this at some point during their turning careers. 

This is the unfortunate way many new turners learn about the importance of sealing green wood to prevent end grain checking. There are several different methods of doing this.  

One of our favorite methods for end sealing wood turning blanks is to use hot paraffin wax. It is easy to remove when you need to use the wood and it’s inexpensive compared to some other methods. For smaller quantities of wood you can use food safe paraffin wax. It’s available at most grocery stores in the canning section for just a few dollars. You can use a coleman or camping stove if you have one available and a pot wide enough to fit the end grain portion of your wood. Melt the wax completely before you dip your wood in it. If the wax is not hot enough it won’t penetrate the wood and will just peel off.  It’s also a good idea to melt the wax outdoors, as it has quite a strong odour and can smoke a little.  NEVER cover the pot while you’re melting the wax as this can and will cause the fumes to collect in the pot and combust, causing a fire!  

For larger pieces of wood that won’t fit in your parrafin wax pot, try using a wax emulsion sealer, such as Anchorseal from UC Coatings.  Some wood supply stores carry their own brand of sealer which is usually similar to Anchoseal.  It’s easy to apply with either a paint brush or a small paint roller and washes up with soap and water.  We like to use two coats of anchorseal before we kiln dry our wood as it offers a little bit of extra protection… just remember that if you’re going to use two coats, you need to let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat.

If you can’t find a wood supply store that carries wood sealer, UC Coating will delivery it to your door.  They have operations in Canada and the USA.  You can check them out online at www.uccoatings.com.

Make sure to seal your wood as soon as possible after cutting. If you see any visible checks…cut them off before you apply the sealer. This may seem like a lot of extra work, but believe me it will save you a lot of grief (and a lot of wood) in the end. 

Yet another way to seal your wood is to paint the ends with regular household paint. This method is not food safe, but is known to work well for end sealing logs.  It’s both cost effective and convenient, as most people already have a can of paint in their garage.

If you know of any other wood sealing methods that are not posted here, please leave a comment so we can share them with our other readers.