How to Keep Logs from Splitting (5 Methods Explained)

It’s no wonder that you can not turn green woods into boards immediately. For a number of reasons, you have to store them in a place where it will be for a few months.

While this sort of storing takes place, a number of potential threats come up and attack the logs. And one of the major threats of such sort is crack buildup.

If you hover into woodworking forums and carpentry communities, you will see a lot of methods to come up as suggestions. But not all of them are equally effective when it comes to how to keep logs from splitting.

We have taken over the task of researching out the best methods for keeping logs from splitting and below is a thorough listing of each of them. We would urge you to go through them carefully, as each section will offer new information that may come in handy. 

5 Methods of How to Keep Logs from Splitting

how to keep logs from splitting

Method 1: Let the Logs Dry As Boards Instead of Logs

The items you will be needing is cutting tools to turn logs into wooden boards-


This is the first and the most intelligent idea of not to let your logs get wasted due to cracks and splittings. And this method says to preserve your logs in a board state instead of storing them as merely logs. 

This method involves cutting the green logs imminently into boards and let it dry in the environment. As a matter of fact, boards are less likely to develop cracks. 

And even if they do so, you can make essential cits to make them usable over again. It’s rather labeled as a method of how to keep green wood from splitting.

Method 2: Apply Sealer Paints on the Open Ends

Here are a few of our recommended best paint sealer for wood that you can stick to for your next purchase-


In case you don’t like the first method, this method might be a perfect fit for you. Sometimes, you don’t have the option to reverse them into greenwood and go with method one.

And that’s when you have no way left but to preserve them as round logs.  This is a very good way if you don’t have any idea on how to keep logs from splitting while drying

To protect the two ends of the logs from cracking and splitting, you may want to apply any sealer material on the two sides. This will prevent any direct contact between the air and the open ends of the logs.

And as there is no direct contact between the open ends of the logs, there will be no dryness. In short, your logs will be safe from crack development.  

Eventually, you can store your log without cracking for a few months in this way. But if you seek for higher durability of crack-free logs, you have to go with more expensive sealers like the ANCHOR SEAL. But despite the high price tag, you will find that it’s a solid wood sealer.  It will certainly get the job done. 

So, if you want the solution to the question of how to keep old wood from splitting, you should certainly not cheap out.

Method 3: Applying Roofing Tar

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It’s possible that you find the sealer products way too expensive. On the other hand, you have got a handful of logs to keep them crack-free. 

So, you should lean on roofing tar to solve the matter. Roofing tar, although not as effective as a sealer, will certainly get the job done. As a matter of fact, if you want the answer to the question of how to prevent timber from cracking, roofing tar will certainly help you out.

Roofing tars are usually used to provide a coating of protection against environmental odds such as heat, rain or so. So, if you want to protect your logs from direct contact with these environmental issues, using a roofing tar is an excellent idea. 

So, what sorts of roofing task would be perfect for a wood log preservation? Usually, all standard roofing tar that comes in a can is good to go. But unlike sealers, they are not supposed to stay there with the surface for a long time. 

So, you have to initially ensure a solid layer of roofing tar, and you have to keep the log on vertical direction until the tar dries off. Also, you have to make frequent replacements of the layer, as roofing tars dry off pretty quickly. 

Method 4: Finishing and Sealed with Linseed Oil

In this method on how to preserve wood logs and the items, you will be needing is- 


This is another fine method of preventing the wood from cracking or creating splits. All you need to do is apply linseed oil after you provide a nice finish to it. It also works for tree stumps from whom barks are peeled off. If you look for linseed oil uses, then you will find woodworking to be one of the categories. 

For that method, you have to sand the wood along with the direction of its fibers. Take sandpaper with a decent grit rating and stand to sand the wood gently. If it’s wooden boards, then you gave to sand the entire surface. If it’s the log with barks on, you have to sand two ends only. 

Either way, make sure that it had been sanded with proper care. It’s an important initial step of wood preservative treatment.

After you are done with the sanding, apply some boiled linseed oil (wood preservative oil) or a sanding sealer on the sanded surface. Make sure that the sanding specks of dust and debris are taken off before applying this sealer. 

After applying this sealer, let it dry for a while under the non-sunlight, open air. Putting it directly under the sunlight will make it too harsh. 

Method 5: Bathing the Wood in A Teak Oil

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Another effective method to preserve and protect cracks from taking place on your wooden piece is to soak it well into teak oil. 

Teak oil is very rare in some places in the USA. But if you can manage a few liters of it, it will be super effective to protect the wooden surface and logwood from splitting. 

However, there is a downside of using teak oil as a medium to store your logs. It takes quite some time to dry off. Unlike other protective mediums, it takes about a few weeks to dry off, and that’s what the biggest disadvantage of this method is. 

But once dried up, it’s super effective to protect the fibers of the wood and learn how to preserve the wood

Bottom Line

So, these were the 5 methods that you need to go through if you want to master how to keep logs from splitting.

Based on what sort of logs you are dealing with(boards or raw logs with barks), you might choose the right method. Also, the availability of the products that you are going to need is another concern. 

Happy Woodworking!

Kevin Smith

5 thoughts on “How to Keep Logs from Splitting (5 Methods Explained)”

  1. If roofing tar works, why wouldn’t driveway sealer have the same results while perhaps being more effective since its thinner and may be more penetrating?

  2. I have long logs I’ve sectioned a few weeks ago into the board length I want for 2.5″ x X live end slabs. I did not seal the original cut ends, nor the recent cut ends.
    Using an Alaskan mill, my two middle most slabs split a few feet from the end along the heartwood. Probably due to the vibration even though I used a new chain.
    Should I cut a cookie off each end of my next block to get a fresh end and seal prior to milling, should I seal the ends of the already split slabs I’ve already cut? Will sealing it as is (1 month with the log end unsealed) stop these rather long splits from occurring?
    One wonders if painting a coat of highly penetrating wood rot repair fluid (varnish in acetone?) offer a “deep seal” prior to normal sealing methods, especially on ends that were not immediately seal within hours of the cut?
    I’ve read kils waterproofing paint, elmers glue, and others work well…which I have already “in shoppe”. Its ‘disheartening’ to get they 1′-2′ splits while milling after the amount of effort it takes to do the cut properly. A speedy reply would be appreciated as I’m ready to start log 2 today/tomorrow

    1. 2 suggestions
      1. Fell the tree in the winter so it will have no leaves less water

      2. Immediately seal the logs I’d use any oil even motor oil new or used also olive oil works.
      Store logs Flatt indoor on the rack if possible.

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