dead wood for sculptures

by Mariah
(Hedgesville, WV)

I encounter a lot of tree trunks and dead wood on my property that I would love to use for sculpture/furniture making. How do I dry it out and for how long. Also how do I rid it of termites?

Hi Mariah, depending on the type of wood, and how thick it is, if it's under cover with plenty of air movement it may take a year or more to fully dry.

A wood shed with a good roof, and open on the sides will work to allow the wind to blow through. Don't put the wood in an enclosed space.

Depending on your climate, it could take longer still to make it dry enough to work with. Stack it with spacers between the pieces to make sure they don't start to rot, and move them around periodically.

Keep in mind that termites generally move in to wood that has been dead a while; getting rid of them may be a real task without using chemicals (I'm not a big believer in any kind of toxic pesticides) so you may want to investigate other methods.

If the piece is small enough to wrap in plastic, you may be able to use this method to your advantage.

In spring and summer the termites are most active, and if they're anything like ants, which I have a lot of, you may be able to kill them by sprinkling corn meal inside the plastic, which they then take back to the hive to feed to the young.

Result? Dead termites...which may or may not be an issue, depending on the craft you want to use the wood for.

Furniture might not be terribly pleasant to build or use with dead bugs in it.

Freezing is another option, if you have access to a walk in freezer or a large chest freezer. I'm not sure I would use this method if I was planning to use the freezer for storing food in!

Hope that gives you some ideas - I would love to see your finished projects, when you get them done.

Happy Crafting!

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