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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last year when I came to work on some seasoned shanks, one or two had bad cracking on the cut ends. I have them stored outside but under cover in my log store so not in direct sunshine either. What do you chaps recommend for sealing the ends as an inexpensive sealer please? I know latex paint can be used but I can't buy that locally here in the UK. I also plan to use a little boron treatment to keep out worm, that I also found in two shanks as well.
 

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Almost anything will work. You're just trying to slow the escape of the water down a little so the wood dries evenly. The checking happens because the ends dry out faster than the middle.

Wood glue like Mark said works. Regular brush on paint-either oil or water based-will work. So will shellac and varnish and even wax. A lot of bowl turners use Anchorseal. It's a product made for the purpose but it's expensive. I haven't experienced any severe checking on my sticks' ends even without sealing. Larger pieces of wood get more benefit from treating the ends.

The other thing you can do is cut your sticks long. It's the method I use. That does two things. The checking (if any) happens where it can be trimmed off and you can decide which part of the stick you want to use for your finished stick.
 

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Paraffin was works well. It is cheap and easy to use. Heat it in a old pan or I have used a old food can after it is melted just put each end in to the wax .
 

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I know a fellow who made his living carving mantles . . . lots of mantles! One time he did an experiment; coating the ends of some blanks to dry and leaving others uncoated.

It turned out over all that the coated logs had fewer cracks, but they were deeper. The uncoated ones had more cracks but they didn't go as deep. I believe that the idea of cutting your branches extra long is a good idea as well. Also, leave the bark on until they are dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you Gentlemen, very helpful. I'm also concerned not to lose too many to wood boring insects. What's your take on that please? I have come across UK stickmakers who use Boron or similar to discourage the little blighters. And being water soluble, not affecting the final finish / preparation. Is blackthorn attractive to these pests? The others I had to throw away with holes in them were hazel.
 

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That is something I've had a bit of an issue with, but only with sticks which have been left sitting for quite a few years. I wonder if maybe an old blanket sprayed liberally with a repellant of some sort and draped over the blanks would help. That way you get the repellant effect plus it isn't actually on the blank itself. Just a thought.
 

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Storing your sticks outside under cover isn't ideal. Even though the sticks aren't directly in the weather there's still too much moisture present which helps make the wood attractive to pests. An unheated garage or outbuilding with a floor would be a much better choice if it's possible for you. Most of the bug damaged wood I've seen has been stored in damp areas like under a cover or in dirt floored outbuildings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Interesting Rod thank you. Yes I do have an unheated brick built garage, so I'll put them in there. Should solve the bug problem too.
 
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