Tree Slices: preserving bark

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CaptainBudget

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Hi all,

I want to build a standing lamp out of stacked wood slices; I have salvaged these from a tree that came down ~3 years ago. This tree came down in my parent's garden, and I've previously turned the trunk into a nest of tables with wood-slice tops cast in resin. It turned out the rest of it had been cut into sections and stashed in the back of a very dry workshop where it has been drying out ever since.

Tree was some form of maple, the slices are ~50-60mm DIA (varies) and ~35mm thick. These come from a continuous section ~6ft long (it was a small tree taken out by a storm in winter), and it has (to me) very interesting bark shapes/lines/etc. I want to preserve if possible.

The plan is to stack these in sequence, each one slightly staggered to create a "stacking" effect and to remove bends/curves from the original section. A 10mm DIA tube will act as a conduit for the electric cable, and form the "spine" of the piece. Slices will be have a 10mm hole drilled and then glued one at a time to build up the height & shape as I go.

Some of the bark is a little looser than I would like, but most of it appears to be fairly solidly stuck. In a couple of areas it has very locally started to come away, but the rest would need effort to remove (I don't want to). What can I use to treat/finish this project to ensure as much of the bark as possible stays on the discs for years to come? I was initally thinking some form of Matt Polyrethane or Yacht Varnish and apply liberally so it "soaks in" and forms an armour-like layer? The looser stuff I can apparently patch with superglue, but I'm open to suggestions here...

Internet has thrown up a very mixed bag of advice on this one, a lot from sources I wouldn't generally use for project work (craft blogs by non-woodworkers, etc.), I figured someone on here would know...
 

Terry - Somerset

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Not sure about the bark, although for woodturning superglue is often used to stabilise bark and spalted/soft wood.

A separate point - rather than glue the slices which end grain to end grain (not very strong), you could consider a piece of tubing up the middle to carry the cable, ensure alignment and provide reinforcement. Drill the wood slices so they slide over the tube.
 

CaptainBudget

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Hi Terry,

Thanks, I hadn't thought to look at woodturning sources....

separate point - rather than glue the slices which end grain to end grain (not very strong), you could consider a piece of tubing up the middle to carry the cable, ensure alignment and provide reinforcement. Drill the wood slices so they slide over the tube.

That was exactly my plan precisely for that reason.
 

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