How to Prevent Log Slabs From Splitting

Written by kimberly johnson
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How to Prevent Log Slabs From Splitting
Use sealant to prevent logs from checking. (logs image by Igor Nikolayev from

The splitting that occurs at the end of wooden log slabs is called checking. This occurs as the wood logs dry, which causes the wood grains to contract. In addition to being unsightly, the splits can weaken the structure of the log and allow pest problems and disease to infect the wood. Applying sealer to newly cut logs will prevent splitting.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Chainsaw
  • Cloth
  • Wax emulsion sealer
  • Paint stirrer
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller (optional)

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  1. 1

    Cut 1 inch off each end of the log slabs, using a chainsaw. This cuts off the portion that has already dried and further prevents checking. If you cut the log within the past one or two days, you can skip this step.

  2. 2

    Brush off all cut sections of the log slab, using a cloth to remove the sawdust and dirt from the surface.

  3. 3

    Open a can of wax emulsion sealer and mix it thoroughly with a paint stirrer. When properly mixed, the consistency should look like white craft glue.

  4. 4

    Insert the tip of a paintbrush into the wax emulsion sealer and brush it onto one end of the log slab, using vertical brush strokes.

  5. 5

    Apply additional sealer to the paintbrush and apply it to the same location, using horizontal brush strokes. Continue brushing until the end of the log is completely covered in sealant and there are no visible air bubbles.

  6. 6

    Re-dip the paint brush into the sealer and extend the sealant over the end of the log so that 1/2 to 1 inch of the side of the log is covered as well.

  7. 7

    Repeat the process to apply sealant to all remaining cut areas of the log.

Tips and warnings

  • For logs larger than 12 inches, use a paint roller rather than a paintbrush.

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