George Vondriska

Preventing Cookies from Cracking

George Vondriska
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Duration:   10  mins

Woodworkers love working with cookies, also called log rounds. These cross sections can be beautiful, and the tree’s rings often tell a great story about the tree’s life. From tables to centerpieces to trivets, cookies can be cool. But, there’s a problem. Cookies are very prone to cracking.

What’s the deal?

Any piece of wood can crack as it goes from green (wet) to dry. But cookies have lots of internal stress—way more than plain sawn or quarter sawn planks—so they have a much greater tendency to develop huge pie-shaped splits. The techniques talked about in this video may not completely eliminate splits, but should minimize them.

It starts with stacking and stickering

As you would with any lumber you dry, cookies need to be stacked and stickered as they dry. Stickering wood for air drying allows air to move around it so it can dry uniformly. Be sure you take this step.

Location, location, location

You need air flow over the cookies, but they shouldn’t be out in the open in direct sunlight. That can cause them to dry too fast, which increases the likelihood of cracking.

Chemical solution

George has had great success with Pentacryl. It’ll help stabilize any wood as it dries, and is very helpful for reducing cracks in log cookies. Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions.

Give it time

A general rule of thumb is to allow one year of drying for each inch of thickness, so be patient. Invest in a moisture meter to monitor the moisture content.

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