Drying Thick Oak Slabs

      Advice on drying six-inch-thick crosscut slabs from a large oak stump. October 29, 2008

I have 12 large cross sections of a water oak log. Each is 6 to 7 feet across and 4 to 6 inches thick. They came from a huge tree and they show about 150 growth rings. I have them racked up. What else should I do to manage the drying process? I hope they will work as table tops.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
Seal the ends with two coats of Anchor seal. Then put one coat up about 6 inches from both ends all the way around the boards to slow down drying so the ends will not bust out. Stack on 2 inch "H" stickers and give good air flow out of direct sunlight.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Very slow drying is required. Very slow. Even then, it is likely that you will develop some cracks that one might find unsightly. We seldom dry oak thicker than 2", so you are really pushing the limits of drying. Check the archives here using the words "drying discs" for some suggestions on other species and thinner stock.

From contributor B:
I did the same thing with this 50" live oak. I have three 4" slices about 40" x 50" with 4 trunks grown together. I put 3 heavy coats of Anchorseal on all surfaces of two of them. The third is the one in the picture and I put three coats of epoxy on all surfaces of it and am using it as a coffee table. I put the epoxy on in July of 2004 and about 6 months ago I got my first crack about 1/8" across and about 10" long on one of the trunks. It is indoors and has to dry to a lower MC than the two in my woodshed that are Anchorsealed. The one on top still has no cracks in it. This is what the Good Dr. is referring to when he says... "Very slow drying is required. Very slow. Even then it is likely that you will develop some cracks that one might find unsightly." Seal them up real good and see what happens.

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