Wax to Seal Turning Blocks

Thoughts on selecting and applying wax to preserve turning blocks during storage. February 8, 2008

I want to seal fresh cut turning blocks and bowl blanks. Would Anchorseal work, or would melted wax be better? If so, what kind of wax? Would it make a difference if it was going to be subject to freezing temps six months later?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
Go to Rockler or Woodcraft and purchase Green Wood End Sealer. It brushes on and does well in colder temps.

From contributor B:
If you plan on using any amount of sealer, you should really look into getting some Anchorseal. Buying sealer from a retail outlet is very expensive. The last time I bought a 5 gallon pail of Anchorseal it was around $60 including shipping to VA. Be sure to get it with antifreeze added.

From the original questioner:
What about storage? Say for instance I cut 400 bowl blanks 3x3x8. Could I stack them (after coating with sealer) directly on top of each other 5 or 6 high and 5 or 6 rows wide, or would I still need to sticker them like you would do boards?

From contributor B:
Are you a turner or are you cutting them just to sell? I sticker the ones I put aside to sell. Be aware that they will only stay good for a limited amount of time depending upon the wood, environment, etc. Even with two heavy coats on the end grain and one on the rest of the blank, eventually you will get radial cracks. I always cut the blanks long to allow for some cracking. If you are a turner, go ahead and rough out the bowls. The wood will dry better.

From the original questioner:
Cutting them to sell. If it grows here in NC, I would like to keep a good supply.

From contributor T:
Paraffin wax is substantially better than Anchorseal, and I highly recommend it. You just melt it over a heat source outdoors and remove it from the heat if it starts to smoke.

From contributor J:
I have used paraffin to seal blocks - I have always used a double boiler to melt the paraffin. There is a very real potential for fire when melting paraffin directly on a burner.

From contributor W:
I recently bought a five gallon pail of Anchorseal. Unfortunately I got the summer mix without antifreeze. Does anyone know what I can add to the mix to make a winter mix out of this pail? Antifreeze might be a great solution.

From Professor Gene Wenger, forum technical advisor:
You can use the summer mix in the winter, but must let the mix stay warm in storage and not allowed to freeze before application. I would add emphasis to heating paraffin in a double boiler, as it is extremely flammable. Paraffin wax is the best sealer, but two coats of Anchorseal will be very close. However, Anchorseal will melt at 130 or cooler, but paraffin will not.

From contributor T:
In looking for paraffin wax, I found that its melting points range between 130 degrees to 160 degrees. How much of a concern is this to a kiln operation?

From contributor O:
When wax coatings are used and the wood goes into the kiln, it will eventually melt, but by the time it reaches the melting point, the wood should be past the stage where end checking would occur (if the proper kiln schedules are followed). It's basically designed to stay on the wood until it is no longer needed, and then it melts away. In low temp drying, or perhaps solar drying, the melting point may never be reached, but that isn't really a problem.