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First timer here (to forum and woodworking). I have two, 2" thick tree slices ("cookies") that have a diameter of around 20". I'm trying to turn them into end tables as a gift for my girlfriend. My plan is to dry them, take the

Questions:

  1. Will coating the fresh cut slices in polyurethane keep them from drying and cracking over time? They were cut a few days ago. I see that Pentacryl might work for this, but others I've asked are saying that polyurethane will work fine and keep slices from cracking?

  2. For an end/side table, is epoxy or poly better as a finish? Does it matter?

  3. Is there a good way to remove the bark from, and seal, the edges of the slices?

Thank you for your help!

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  • Hi, welcome to StackExchange. I've voted to close as your main query here has already been covered (and actually more than once) and SE doesn't allow duplicates. In case you have difficulty in locating some of the previous Q&As let me cut to the chase for you — there's every chance that you'll lose one or both of these slices, regardless if you seal them properly now. Even sealed almost directly after cutting (within the hour) log slices are notoriously difficult to dry without at least one major crack, and sometimes multiple cracks. There appears to be no way of guaranteeing the outcome :-( – Graphus Dec 22 '20 at 9:31
  • Also for future reference, please make Questions about one major thing only. Your 2 and 3 are separate queries and should have Questions of their own (again, assuming there aren't already Q&As on each of the topics). – Graphus Dec 22 '20 at 9:32
  • I agree that this is a duplicate and should be closed, but I'll hit the other two points real quick since you're new here =) 2. Epoxy is a lot more durable but harder to work with and more expensive. It is also limited to high gloss. 3. Chip off the major loose parts with a beater chisel or anything generally pointy and then hit what's left with a wire brush – SaSSafraS1232 Dec 22 '20 at 16:36
  • @SaSSafraS1232, the finish of any high-gloss finish can be modified at will after hardening, to any level of gloss from satin/semi-gloss to pretty much full matt (although that's a little harder without specialist stuff). This is why I have consistently recommended for years to just buy gloss; excluding the BLO all I have on my shelf are high-gloss varnishes, shellac and lacquer. – Graphus Dec 23 '20 at 8:57
  • The chosen duplicate doesn't seem like a duplicate at all, as that one deals with how to dry wood and the primary point of this one as I read it is how to prevent drying and cracking. If it were open I'd write an answer that points out the necessity of drying and explains that the usual goal is to just slow the drying process down enough to minimize cracking. I might also try to explain why cracking is so hard to avoid and suggest that the OP instead consider options for working with the cracks. None of that is covered in the answers at the suggested dupe. – Caleb Dec 24 '20 at 7:28