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Hi all, picked up a great slab of poplar that I would like to turn into a coffee table. I'm not sure how to prepare the wood to prevent cracking as it ages. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Joe
That is a wide open question Joe. It will depend on several factors.
1-Is the slab plane cut, quarter cut, or rift cut?
2-was the slab properly dried either air dried or kiln dried.
3-what is the current moisture content of the wood.
4-how wide is the slab.
Ditto the above. You can't make wood do anything; all you can do is reduce it's tendencies to do what it wants to do. Regardless of the cut, proper drying is going to be critical with a project like this. It's best to air-dry slabs in a controlled environment slowly as this allows the moisture content to remain as equal as possible throughout the drying process. The minimum for air drying is one year for each inch thickness with twice that being better for slabs. Based on location, outdoor ambient temperature and humidity might be OK but you don't want excess heat or really low humidity, especially with a slab.
Nature puts time into growing the wood and to get the best nature has to offer from using it, you need to put time into the drying process.
Phil (who is not a fan of kiln-dried wood!)