Wet Wood Doesn't Char

materials
ornament

#1

… as much, anyway.

So the other day we got our xmas tree, and of course the stump was about a foot too long, so I cut it off before bringing the tree into the house. And then I had an idea.

Compound miter saw, sharpish blade and a little ignoring of safety rules led to about a dozen pretty smooth, damp slices of tree.

As you can see, the engraving and scoring quality is variable, politely speaking, depending on how much water/sap is in the particular section being zapped. The central half dozen rings or so were pretty dry. But all things considered I’m pretty happy with the results – they have a nice sorta rustic look to them.

And the edge char is pretty minimal, even cutting through 1/8"-plus, e.g. the star on top of the tree and the hanging hole… To the point where I’m thinking that if you could figure out a way to get wood to dry flat this might be a useful technique.

[Attributions: the tree is a slightly modified svg from the Noun Project, and the ornament is based on a file generated by the snowflakerator in Openscad.]


#2

Nice! I like the varied effect of it - looks natural! :grinning:


#3

Do people think that spraying a very fine layer of water on the surface of dry wood (and then rubbing it in so that there are NOT any actual drops on the surface) might have a similar effect of preventing charring?


#4

It’s possible. I am also wondering whether wood kept in a freezer and then zapped immediately might do the trick. Only experiments will tell.


#5

keep in mind that most wood slices, AKA wood cookies that contain the pith (the very center of the tree) will very likely split, eventually. there are a bunch of ways to reduce the likelyhood and extent, but keep it in mind!


#6

A bunch of the ones I cut have split. Lots of others have domed up. My guess is that if you cut something with a fairly open shape but an exterior ring you might be able to get a compression effect that would hold things together. (You’d need to put enough pressure on to keep it flat while drying but not enough to impede shrinkage.) Or not.