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Our tree was cut down, I've asked the guys to save me a few of slices.

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They are about 3-4cm thick. Is there any simple way to dry them without having them crack and fall apart?

  • Hi Shachar, welcome to Woodworkers! It's usually a lot better to include the picture right in the post, rather than rely on some other site to store it. I've made an edit to achieve that. You should be able to figure out how to do it in the future, but if you have any questions, feel free to post in chat. Nice question, by the way. – drs Mar 30 '15 at 22:15
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Splitting usually occurs as the wood is drying out. Because the end grain exposed to air loses moisture much faster than the inner wood, it splits to release the stress between the two.

Cookies (such as you have in your picture) have it rougher than slabs (pieces of wood cut along the long axis of the trunk) as none of the stress of a growing tree has been relieved. A board will cup across its short axis as the tree rings relax and straighten. That can later be planed flat. But a cookie has no other option but to crack as it releases stress.

To prevent checking or cracking after being sawn from a log, the end grain of boards is covered with wax or paint (I use simple latex paint) to handicap moisture release and allow the long grain to keep up. It may not work as well on a cookie, but you could try it.

Another option would be to embrace the cracks as part of the beauty of the wood. I fill knots with two-part epoxy colored with airbrush paint. Assuming the crack forms a pleasing shape, it can really add to the character of the piece:

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When you have slices across the grain like that, your best bet to not split would be to seal the whole thing and don't let it dry out, or at the very least slow the drying process down dramatically. Any kind of normal air drying and they will get at least one split in them, like a pie with a piece missing.

On top of that spruce and fir tend to get brittle when that thin and cut in that way.

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