Walnut Wood Rounds - Firewood and Woodworking Projects - Storage and Preservation - November 2023
Our neighbors to the West were having a Walnut tree limb taken down recently and the tree guy who was doing the work was the same one that gave me a bunch of Ash firewood almost three years ago to the day. At that time - and in this post - I called it all Ash. But, now that I look back, it is clear that they included some Walnut in the mix, too. They tossed (just like last time) a number of rounds of wood over the fence and I stacked them up in a spot to figure out what to do with them. You can see that pile above - and you can also see that some of the pieces required a little bit more cutting with my chainsaw.
Now...knowing that this is Walnut gave me pause. Sure...I could store it, process it, split it and burn it. But, it also has woodworking value as Walnut. So, I decided to select a few pieces to pull out and store separately. I texted with my brother-in-law (a woodworker and carver) about if he'd want some of the Walnut and he said he would. I grabbed about a dozen pieces - some tall and straight, some short and fat, and threw in a couple of crotches (as I understand they can be turned into bowls) and then stacked the rest to be split as firewood.
I brought them over to the side of the garage and was going to just stack them on the racks and wait for my brother-in-law to get around to picking them up. But, then I went online and read about storing hardwoods like Walnut in rounds. Everybody says that one of the keys is to try to 'slow down' the drying process. To do this, they recommend 'sealing' the ends. Some call for paint on the ends. Others say that you can use anything. Here's my stack of pieces I was going to try to preserve below:
I looked around the garage and found a couple of things that I figured I'd try: a can of Spar Urethane (oil based) and a spray can of 'Clear Topcoat'. Why not try them both, right?
I got busy spraying and rubbing on the sealers to the ends. I did a couple of rough, sloppy coats and called it 'good enough'.
I went back about 10 days later and looked at the pile that was still out back - drying on my racks in the rear of the yard with the rest of my firewood. Here's what I saw (below): Checking and cracks forming on the ends:
And, when I went to look at the rounds that I sealed? Here (below) is what I saw: no checking, no cracks formed.
Remember...I said that the goal for this is to simply SLOW DOWN the drying process. I think that's to avoid those cracks, but also the twisting/torque'ing that comes with it.
I'm calling this a minor victory: They appear to have been 'slowed down'.