View Full Version : Use of antifreeze?
01-03-2004, 12:28 PM
I was making a small box and the lid split. A friend of mine said "Oh a wood carver told me you can prevent or stop that by soaking it in anti freeze.." Really? What does it do to the wood? My antifreeze is yellow green... wouldn't that alter the color of the wood?
01-04-2004, 01:06 AM
I've thought about that, since folks used to use PEG (PolyEthylene Glycol, an alcohol) to soak wood to keep it from splitting. The PEG displaced the water in the wood, but did so pretty gently. PEG's a little hard to come by these days.
Antifreeze is either Ethylene Glycol or Propylene Glycol, the latter being the supposedly "safe" antifreeze. Both are actually poisonous, the former being more so than the latter, and both are also found in store-bought soft cookies. Neither is quite the same as PEG, but either might (MIGHT!) do a similar job. It might (MIGHT!) be worth experimenting with... on a NONFOOD project that will NEVER be handled by children, on which the color of the wood can be observed before & after to compare with untreated wood.
It'll only help on green wood that's cracking as it dries. If the wood's cracking because of internal stresses, there's not much you can do.
-- Tim --
I have not helped bring a smile
To at least one face,
Was a wasted day.
01-05-2004, 10:40 AM
01-19-2004, 08:01 AM
Antifreeze is the wrong form of PolyEthylene Glycol (PEG) to be using in woodworking. It's molecular weight is way too low. PEG2000 is the stuff used by woodworkers who work with green wood.
(If a piece checks after working, it had too much moisture in it, and when new wood was exposed, it dries out, shrinking and pulling away from other fibers, causing the crack.)
PEG2000 is a very thick compound that needs to be warmed up to be used. It works, not by displacing water, but by locking it in the wood fibers. PEG and water are interlocked molecularly and so the wood never shrinks because it never dries out (cures).
That is a mixed blessing because you need to be aware of the nature of wet wood. Turners will have a spray of water coming out of the work, and finishing requires water friendly finishes.
I don't even know where PEG is available. If I were you, I'd work with well cured wood. Don't assume that wood from a supplier is cured, and even if it has been kiln-dried it needs to acclimate to condition in your shop. Cut the material to slightly oversized pieces and let it 'air out' for a couple of weeks before working it to dimension.
01-24-2004, 06:40 PM
If your looking for PEG check out Lee Valley