loading

How to deal with sap in christmas tree trunks you want to use

I had an idea to re-use the trunks of Christmas trees my neighbors are throwing away. I sawed off the thick part of the trunk and removed the branches from it. But now I have lots of oozy sap that makes the wood sticky and unpleasant. Any suggestions on what to do? If I stain it or coat in polyurethane will that prevent more sap from oozing out?

Ideally i want to slice one trunk into coasters/trivets, keeping the exterior bark intact. The other trunk might become the base for a side table or something similar. Or maybe I'll just hollow it out like a cup and use it as a pencil holder.

Thanks for your help!
Josh

sort by: active | newest | oldest
joshme (author) 4 years ago
Not being very patient, I decided to start my first project with the tree trunk - hollowing it out to make a pencil holder. I put the piece of trunk I was using in the oven, ~200 degrees F, laying on a piece of aluminum foil. Rotated it after 30 minutes, and after an hour I let the oven cool off (didn't take the wood out until the next morning).

That hardened some of the sap, although some of it actually oozed out more before hardening. There was still some stickiness, so I did it again, and even now there is still some stickiness, but it's a lot better! The wood did crack a little bit, but not too much. Seems like this might be my best option for drying sap. Oh, and it makes my apartment smell pine fresh!
Cut them up and soak them in a bucket or pale of water to get rid of sap and to stop shrinkage, rough wood splits as it shrinks and dries.

You might want to rethink about cutting off the branches they make good handles if you want to make a ladle or a dipper.

If you are going to cut them thin to turn them into coasters drill out the centers or as they dry the wood will split and your coasters will look like a pizza with a missing slice.

A friend of mine makes ladles spoons and cups out of old Christmas trees he keeps the wood wet until the piece is shaped then he lets the wood dry.

Joe
joshme (author)  Josehf Murchison4 years ago
That's awesome, thanks Joe! The look of a cracked coaster might actually be cool. Perhaps I'll try some each way.
Kiteman4 years ago
I think the solution is time - you need to leave the wood somewhere to season for several months before you start using it.
joshme (author)  Kiteman4 years ago
Thanks Kiteman. It'll be hard to hold off using this wood, but I'll let it sit for as long as I have patience :-)
vanweb4 years ago
It is very hard to remove the sap, I have even has the issue on some pine boards that I bought at a lumber yard oozing sap and they were kiln dried and processed. Even sealing them in poly will probably not help as when the tempurature chages the sap will create "pockets" behind the poly and if touched or rubbed it will open like a sore...

To reuse them you can try something like a bird feeder or anything else that could be used outside....