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I just got a freshly cut slice of a big tree trunk from my friend. Thinking of using it as a table. Sanding it down etc. Now I know there's all the drying etc to consider, but the first thing I need to know before I even take this home into my house is: is the bark/tree slice a risk to bugs damaging other furniture/things?

I did some research and one SE post (https://diy.stackexchange.com/a/14371/32148) said certain beetles like power post beetles live and lay their eggs in the bark. Is this true?

Are there other things I need to consider/treat it with? I'm wondering whether I should remove the bark, to be on the safe side from any bugs infesting my new apartment/furniture, but he bark looks really nice! (Yes, the slice in the photo is currently indoors but at the office, as my friend dropped it off at the office)

the freshly cut free trunk slice

  • I too have freshly cut wood circles with bark on it, can I slow the drying process down by keeping it in my outside refrigerator? Or could I rub with wood oil? – Karen Apr 28 at 23:06
  • Welcome to StackExhange. SE isn't a conventional forum, if you read through the Tour you'll see what the format is here and how you've tacked on a query where only a formal Answer to the original Question should go. You can self-delete this, do that first and then ask your own Question about your slices/rounds. – Graphus Apr 29 at 5:54
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First off the bad news, that's almost certain to crack on you as it dries out. You might get lucky in which case you dodged a bullet, but the wood already has natural defects radiating from the centre and it is from there that many natural cracks arise.

To help lessen the risk of cracking the first thing you should do when you get it home is coat the flats with something to slow moisture loss. And the best thing you could use for this is melted wax. Doesn't matter how you get it on there, just apply it in a thick layer to both sides (one side at a time will keep the mess to a minimum). I wouldn't use a brush for this because it might be impossible to clean the wax residue from the brush, so improvise something else — a wad of paper towel held in tongs will work perfectly.


It's very difficult (sometimes impossible) to preserve the bark on wood. It depends on many factors, the species being one of the major ones, but there is a lot of variation possible even with one type of tree. As a very rough rule of thumb the thicker the bark the more likely it is that it'll want to flake off or crumble.

It is safest to remove it now because of the risk of wood-boring insects, but some people do retain the bark on this type of thing.

  • thanks for the fast input. 1) If I slow the drying time down, wont this take forever? I heard its 1 year per inch of drying time. This is 3 inches at one side, down to half an inch on the other (Poorly cut yes). 2) If it does split, how bad would it be, I dont mind cracks that dont break it in half, can add character... hopefully....? 3) Not quite sure what wood it is, other than its a type of evergreen from my friend's land. – redfox05 Dec 5 '16 at 22:00
  • 4) Hmm, if its safer anyway, I might remove the bark (especially if its hard to keep anyway. You say thick bark, well as seen in the photo it seems pretty thick). how far should one remove the bark to protect from the insects? Can I take it down to just on the dark ring? Is that safe enough? I've never done it before :P – redfox05 Dec 5 '16 at 22:02
  • " If I slow the drying time down, wont this take forever?" Yes, but that's how you air-dry wood. Slow and steady wins the race here. Only small pieces can be force-dried at home without risk of major cracks forming. On a round like this the splits that you could get from it drying fast could literally split this into two or three pieces. Do a Google search and look at some images, you'll see the type of cracking that can occur. Hate to say it but at only 1/2" on one side and 3" on the other I don't really think this is usable. – Graphus Dec 6 '16 at 8:06
  • Yeah im wondering if this is more hassle than its worth. I mean even an inch or 2 takes about a year to dry from what I read? Oh, and its already split in two now. So it will be 2 small side tables at best. Apologies for accepting your answer so late, I had no idea I forgot to do it. Thanks again. – redfox05 May 18 '17 at 17:58
  • No probs about the late accept, happens all the time. Sometimes you get an accept but no upvote, which is worse :-) Sorry to hear it split on you. Just to check, was it roughly along the wavy line visible in the photo above? – Graphus May 19 '17 at 5:32
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Your picture looks like Douglas fir bark. I have built 3 tables with Doug fir bark with great success. I simply air dryer the slabs to 15 percent and handled the wood very gently as the bark will separate easily when it is dry. I used resin to finish the top as it helped with the bark staying on good. Tables in use for over 3 years with no problem. Doug fir sometimes has pitch pockets that bleed which is a bigger problem. Never had any issue with bugs.

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I live in the Pacific Northwest. If I leave bark on air drying green Douglas Fir slabs inevitably I have bark beetles digging holes and leaving frass (sawdust) behind.

If your round is green, I would worry about beetles. But if it's already quite dry then I wouldn't be too concerned.

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Remove the bark. I have heard so many people complain after the table is finished and within a yrs time they are gluing pieces of bark back on only to have it break off again. Sometimes the bark gets stepped on and then it is impossible to get it back on.
It will look nice even without the bark on it.

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Try to completely coat the entire piece in 2 part epoxy using at least 3 coats. The idea is that it will retain moisture until epoxy has penetrated.

  • Welcome to WSE. Your answer is very brief and not clear regarding the process you recommend. It is quite possible that the community will close this answer unless youi expand it. For instance how does the epoxy penetrate over time. If you have done something like this before, please clarify how you did it and how it worked. – Ashlar May 5 at 22:59

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