Recommendations for seasoning a holly log

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furnace

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I've been donated a holly trunk that arrived this morning. It's about one metre in length and 16-20cm across. I asked the donor to seal the ends with melted wax as soon as it was felled, and it was then couriered in pallet wrap. I've now removed the pallet and am wanting advice about the best way to season it that will minimise the extensive checking and splitting to which holly is apparently susceptible. I'd like to use some of it for stringing but I'd also like to be able to make maximum use of a proud tree. I'm not much keen on spalted stuff. I would typically leave the bark on, saw it into 25mm boards, sticker it and stack it under cover in the barn.
All suggestions most welcome. Please!
 

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Nice ruler
If you're going to mill it into 25mm planks there's no way to stop it splitting. If you were to leave it in the round for a couple of years with the ends waxed you stand a better chance of keeping it intact. If you're intending to use it for stringing or other decorative needs you should be able to live with some splits.
If air drying in stick make sure it's off the ground and in an airy place to maximise airflow.
My experience of holly of this sort of size is that it can be disappointing with much of it being a milky grey colour but you'll get a good preview once it's milled.
Brian
 
I think that to keep the whiteness, you have to store it standing on end.
I think you're referring to the Acer family which shouldn't be stacked with stickers as they induce a permanent discolouration deep into the timber.
Brian
 
Achieving a nice, white holly, by dint of careful seasoning, seems to be a lost art in this country. When I was looking for some a few years ago, all the best suppliers seemed to be in the USA.
Luckily I did manage to get some eventually, simply by buying much more than I needed, and selecting the whitest pieces.
 
If you're going to mill it into 25mm planks there's no way to stop it splitting.
I'm happy to leave it in the round for a few years if that's likely to work better. I also have access to a kiln on a neighbouring farm. I just don't know what best practice is?
 
I was given a Holly log years ago that had been laid flat for a year. When I finally cut it the whole timber was a horrible grey colour. I was later told that it should have been dried upright, the same way up that it grew. Hope this helps.
 
I was given a Holly log years ago that had been laid flat for a year. When I finally cut it the whole timber was a horrible grey colour. I was later told that it should have been dried upright, the same way up that it grew. Hope this helps.
I'll bear it in mind. Many of the tales surrounding holly seasoning sound like a secret society's initiation rites...
 
I had a holly log that I stole from a local common, where they'd done some serious tree cutting. Having kept it for 5 or 7 years, in the hope of making a cribbage board, I eventually made a bandsaw reindeer, as the splitting was really bad. It's still a lovely creamy white, though. I found it hard to work, but not at all grainy. Wish I'd taken home a few more logs... I also made a couple of napkin rings, without access to a lathe, but I expect they're long gone by now.
 
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My dad had some Holly in his collection, he just quartered a log took the bark off & waxed the ends, chucked it in the rack in his workshop. It warped a bit but didnt check at all, and it was white.
 
I've got a small stack of pieces, mostly about 2ft long ranging from 2 to 6 inches diameter, all sealed with wax, a couple of the bigger ones have checked where the wax seal has separated from the surface of the wood and most has discoloured, probably because its stacked horizontally.
 
Thanks for all the replies. I'm going to try slabbing into 1" boards, kiln half of them and store the others on end in the barn.

I'll also periodically chant incantations and sprinkle unicorn tears on the exposed surface when the moon is full 🙏🏻
 
I would quarter or rift saw it and wouldn't bother sealing the ends as it'll dry quicker. The quarter/rift sawing will prevent it from splitting as well.

The longer it stays above 18% mc, the more chance fungi will stain it.
 
I would quarter or rift saw it and wouldn't bother sealing the ends as it'll dry quicker. The quarter/rift sawing will prevent it from splitting as well.

The longer it stays above 18% mc, the more chance fungi will stain it.
I've ordered a fresh blade from Ian and will quarter saw it as best I can. Then I'll try different approaches and expect them all to fail.
 
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