How long to dry so Arbutus wood doesn't split?

Hi Ron,

Wow, you make some beautiful things! i was searching arbutus wood as i got some 3-4" diameter branches from a local area after this winters storms (im in Cobble Hill, btw, south of nanaimo and north of victoria).
i am volunteering to make medals for a little triathlon race that is going on in mid august and offered to make them. i wanted to use arbutus and cut the rounds from these lovely branches i found on cobble hill mountain. my friend mentioned about the splitting, tho and so i am asking your advice on how long do you let your dead wood sit before you cut it? i think my branch was from sometime this winter or spring (latest march or april?)
do i have to cure the wood some way? Or if i cut the rounds 1/2" thick or so, can i put some type of shelac or clear coat on it to prevent the cracking?
cheers, and thank you for your advice! i'll check out your work and might order a few items. like the butter knives.
cheers, steph B


Ron here...

I cut thee wood right away to prevent cracking and then seal the ends with log seal or old paint... but even so it will often split.

You could also start working some right away and you may be lucky avoiding splitting, BUT splitting happens otherwise there would be no more Arbutus trees as woodworkers would want the wood. So splitting is nature's way of keeping us away!

Good luck!

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