How To Keep Wood Carving From Splitting

How To Keep Wood Carving From Splitting

Time ages the living and the dead, and when anything ages, it tends to change its feature.

When it comes to wood carvings, splitting is the main issue the projects face, and on how to keep wood carving from splitting, I will share with you some of the ways you can prevent this from happening.

You can keep the wood from splitting when drying by applying a sealant, using a salt paste, using varnish, paintable wax, or boiled linseed oil.

As wood regulates humidity conditions, the outer rings lose moisture faster than the inner rings and this is why at times splits start developing unexpectedly. Some carvers think in the perspective of the splits adding character to the projects but if that is not how you view splits, there are some ways to prevent your wood from splitting.

Ways to Preserve Wood Carving From Splitting

Apply a Sealant

Applying sealant is one of the ways how to keep wood carving from splitting because it stops the wood from drying and also avoids shrinking. This method of preserving wood protects the wood in a way that there is no contact with the outside air and the moisture inside the wood to the outside and this prevents the wood from splitting.

The sealant prevents up to 90% of drying splits, improves yield with less waste, is non-hazardous, it is also available in summer and winter formulas and you can clean your projects with soap and water and your projects won’t be affected.

This is the easiest method to preserve your wood carvings and the equipment you need to have when applying the sealant includes.

  • Sealant or stabilizer-This is what you use to protect your wood from splitting
  • Paintbrush-You use a paintbrush to apply the sealant.
  • Wood Carving-The piece you want to protect from splitting
  • Protective Rubber gloves-Gloves protect your hands from reacting with the chemicals in the sealant compound.

The best sealant to use for greenwood is the anchor seal you can use polyurethane, lacquer type sealant with good waterproofing ability with hardwoods.

Before applying any kind of sealant this is what you are required to do for it to be effective on your projects;

  • Clean the wood before applying the sealant to remove the dust and debris.
  • Sand the projects with 220 grit sandpaper and avoid using finer sandpaper because they might scratch and ruin the wood grain. When you sand, the surface will be smooth and it will take the sealant very well.
  • Make sure you apply the sealant evenly throughout the surface without missing a spot, and this will stop the direct contact between open ends of the carvings.

Apply Salt Paste

Applying the salt also qualifies to be in the list of how to keep wood carving from splitting content dries the wood by absorbing the moisture content inside the wood which causes wood splitting and this will prevent the wood from cracking. This is also one of the easiest methods of protecting wood carving from splitting without using chemicals that might harm your hand.

This is what you need when applying this solution;

  • Salt-Pour a table salt into a bucket of fresh water and stir well until it’s fully mixed. The more salt you use, make sure you use enough water to mix otherwise, the salt will oversaturate and won’t mix well with water.
  • Cornstarch– Leave the solution for about 4 hours and then add cornstarch to the solution and mix it well. Remember that when you also add excess cornstarch, you also add more water to the solution to get the salt paste as you want.
  • Eggs-After mixing the cornstarch with the salt solution, add three eggs to the compound and mix well until the eggs disappear into the salt paste. By not mixing the eggs well, you will face issues like displays of flakes once the wood carving dries after applying the paste.
  • Paintbrush-Use the paintbrush to apply the paste all over the wood evenly without missing a spot and at the end of the application, make sure the salt paste makes a uniform layer. Make sure to cover the whole surface including, edges, corners, and the paste won’t come off easily after it fully dries.
  • Leave the paste to dry in a warm area. The drying period varies with the amount of salt paste you’ve applied.

Use Varnish

Varnish can seal the wood carving and this is another method on how to keep wood carving from splitting. This method reduces the amount of moisture evaporating from the wood, and that’s why it is also one of the successful methods to keep wood carving from splitting.

This is what you need when applying this solution;

  • Fresh can of varnish– Apply the varnish solution that which is a mixture of the varnish and aluminum paint all over the wood using a paintbrush, and make sure to apply thin coats to make the wood dry quicker. To get the protection you want, apply 2-3 coats of varnish to your wood carving.
  • Wood glue-Wood glue acts as a sealer by mixing it with warm water and giving it a good stir, and once the final coat of varnish is dry, apply the sealer all over the wood until it soaks well into the wood.

The sealer helps cover up every small spot of the wood and avoids cracking splitting of the wood under the harshest climatic conditions. The sealer acts as extra protection to the varnish layer to stop the evaporation moisture and prevent wood shrinkage.

Apply Paintable Wax

Applying paintable is among the cheapest ways on this list how to keep wood carving from splitting.

You will need;

  • Wax candles-Wax candles will save you the trouble of buying was from a store. Place the candles in a plastic bag and smash them with a hammer until you get small bits of wax candles.
  • Hammer-hammer will be used to crush the candles into small bits.
  • food scale– You will need a food scale to measure the weight of wax candles.
  • Canning jar– take the canning jar and enough paint thinner which should be equal to one-fourth weight of a plastic bag filled with wax. Add the total weight of wax into the canning jar and gently shake to make a blended mixture of wax and paint thinner.
  • Paint thinner-Using a paint thinner will reduce the thickness of the wax making it easy to paint the wood.
  • Paintbrush-Use paintbrush to apply the wax all over the wood carving and don’t miss a spot

Apply Boiled Linseed Oil

Boiled Linseed oil is another efficient way when looking at how to keep wood carving from splitting, working as a safeguard, and also has high workability and it is easy to apply.

Beginners prefer using this method because of its ease to use and here are some equipment you need when using this method.

  • Sandpaper-Sand the wood carving before applying the oil
  • Linseed oil-After cleaning the wood, take a paintbrush and apply boiled linseed oil all over the wooden surface without missing any spot. Apply 2-3 coats thin coats to your wood carving for quicker drying, and make sure before applying another coat the previous one is dry. Adding another coat of linseed oil before the first one dries, will cause surface blotchiness, which will ruin your wood carving.
  • Paintbrush-Use a paintbrush to apply the linseed oil evenly without missing a spot.


Before using this method of preserving wood carving, make sure you clean and sand the project to remove dirt and fuzzies on your wood.

And that’s how to keep wood carving from splitting.

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