Carving Care and Treatment
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There is not any one product or any single thing that can be done to a chainsaw carving that will keep it from aging, (drying out, cracking, checking, etc.) but there are a number of things applied together that will significantly delay this aging and preserve the carving for generations to come.
All my log carvings are controlled dried for 2 to 3 weeks after they have been created. Next I apply multiple coats of Boiled Linseed Oil mixed with Mineral Spirits to help penetrate the wood. After several coats are applied and allowed to dry, 3 to 4 finishing coats of exterior Helmsman Spar Urethane by Minwax are applied. Now my carvings are ready for purchase.
After purchase it is important to keep up with maintenance of the carving to ensure it last for generations. To reduce the rick of checking, keep out of direct sunlight. If this is not feasible it is important to treat the carving with Spar Urethane one or two times a year. Thompson Water Seal can also be used. (Make sure the carving can dry for 48 hrs after application) Indoor carvings require less maintenance; they can be dusted and waxed just like wood furniture. In the winter, homes can become very dry with heating systems. A humidifier can help reduce the risk of checking.
After taking proper precautions and a carving still checks or cracks, it can be repaired with wood filler and either stained or painted to cover up.