Madrone wood cracks


My 8 y.o. son is totally in love with Madrone trees. He brought a big branch at home after a hike with the intention of carving it into something. It came out a cup, a spork (spoon and fork) and a knife.

The cup is hollow with a rim of about 1/4 of an inch all around and a bottom of 1 inch tick. Unfortunately when it dried it started to show cracks. We soaked in water and the cracks are gone, but I would like some suggestion on how to avoid cracking in madrone tree, or any other tree.
Please let me know.

Thanks a lot,


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Sep 28, 2015
Cracking Madrone Wood
by: Arbutus Ron

Very tricky to avoid cracking especially if you have used the whole round of the piece.

As the wood dries it shrinks and thus cracks happen.

Some wood turners dry the wood after turning it green in plastic bags with wood chips slowly over a month or two. Some use a microwave! Best to find wood turner experts for these secrets!

My daughter who used to help me sand left a not on a scrap of wood one day after sanding:

"Did I tell you I hate cracking? It drives me crackers!"

Apr 05, 2011
Madrone wood cracking
by: Arbutus Ron

Hi Sara,

Arbutus or Madrone wood is real tricky. That's why so few woodworkers use it.

If it is dry, add some walnut or mineral food safe oil to protect it from cracking.

If it is not dry, put it in a brown bag inside a plastic one and let it dry slowly allowing air to get in every few days. Then add oil.

It's tricky. I loose lots of pieces to cracking. As my daughter who used to help me says "It's driving me crackers!"

Good luck!

Arbutus Ron

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