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How do I slowly dry a juniper tree trunk without it cracking?

Blue Oaks

Blue Oaks

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Guys,

I am removing a very old juniper tree and would like to repurpose the trunk. I'm thinking about using it in the construction of an outdoor bar, either as a header above the bar or maybe even to support the bar top. I've cut all the limbs off the juniper and the trunk is currently standing as shown.

Should I leave it in the ground for a year, take it out and put it under my deck so it doesn't get direct sunlight, or something else? I'm in Nor Cal and we get hot and dry summers, but we're heading into the rainy season where I can expect temps in the 50's and 60's and 20-30 inches of rain between now and April.

 
buzz sawyer

buzz sawyer

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I'm not familiar with Juniper but in general, wood always moves - always trying to straighten out the rings so at some point it will crack. Do I see several stems coming up or is that typical for Juniper? People soak wood in PEG so it is absorbed into the cells so they never shrink but it takes a log time and for a whole tree, a lot of PEG. I used it once to stabilize a piece of figured silver maple - soaked for days in a heated tub of PEG and it worked.
 
paco_06

paco_06

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Nov 17, 2017
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I'm not familiar with Juniper but in general, wood always moves - always trying to straighten out the rings so at some point it will crack. Do I see several stems coming up or is that typical for Juniper? People soak wood in PEG so it is absorbed into the cells so they never shrink but it takes a log time and for a whole tree, a lot of PEG. I used it once to stabilize a piece of figured silver maple - soaked for days in a heated tub of PEG and it worked.
This... wood will always move. I think you have the right idea of removing from sunlight though. Maybe an outdoor polyurethane evenly coated after a few months help prevent cracking. I would go ahead and cut it though. Leaving it standing will only encourage rotting.

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Blue Oaks

Blue Oaks

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Thanks for all the advice guys. It'll be a pretty big piece, and just a single trunk- not a collection of trunks coming up. That's part of its charm, IMO. I think it's 12 feet long so it's too big to submerge in anything I have around here. Would it help to paint the ends with PEG?
 
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