In prepping blanks for bowl turning, I cut them out of logs for face turning. I am using a freshly felled American Elm stump and a year old Walnut trunk for stock (felled a year ago). The blanks range in size from 6-8″ inches round and 4-6″ thick.
Both the Elm and Walnut blanks are cracking against the grain as they sit in my garage. It’s been very humid and rainy since I’ve cut these out. As a test, I put half of them in my basement (50-60% humidity) and they cracked the same as the garage-stored blanks.
I don’t even have time to rough them out, they crack so quickly. What is causing this cracking? How can I prevent it?
Submitted by TroyMAnswer:
The problem is that the wood is drying. If the drying is not controlled very carefully, the blanks will be prone to cracking. This is especially true on thick pieces such as you’re probably cutting for your bowl blanks.
The best way on how to stop wood from cracking is to seal the blanks as soon as you cut them. A commercially made product such as Anchorseal is the perfect answer for this problem. It’ll completely seal the blank and keep it wet until you’re ready to work with it. You can brush it on or, if you want to make it really easy, pour the Anchorseal in a tub and dip your blanks. This is my approach. Brush off the excess, let the sealer dry, and you’re blanks will remain sound for a long time.
You can purchase Anchorseal from woodworking specialty stores like Woodcraft.
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