how to stop wood from splitting

How to Stop Wood from Splitting: Expert Tips for Prevention

Most woodworkers would agree that splitting wood is one of the most common incidents in the workplace. There are several reasons why it happens, including screwing carelessly, storing wood in a bad place, using inappropriate products and others. Splitting wood may also happen while nailing, screwing and drying. This is why it is very important to learn how to stop wood from splitting. 

Splitting results to a weaker wood, causing some problems later on. The good news is that there are a number of methods and techniques to implement in order to avoid this problem. There are also some products that can be used to provide protection to the wood. In this article, we will discuss some of them, including the effective techniques on how to use them. 

What You Need

  • Sealant/Stabilizer
  • Varnish
  • Salt paste
  • Anchor seal
  • Paintable wax
  • Linseed Oil

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Apply Wood Stabilizer or Sealant

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A wood stabilizer is a product that is applied to make wood less prone to potential cracks, making it more durable. It is usually water-based. Wood stabilizers are otherwise known as wood sealers. The process of stabilization reinforces any weak part of the wood. It also stops the movement of wood which results to contraction, thus making the wood stronger. 

Applying wood stabilizer is one of the easiest ways to prevent wood from splitting. To do this, clean the wood surface first, especially around the area that has cracked. Sand it well before applying the stabilizer or sealant. Make sure that it is applied on the surface evenly, without missing any portion. If you miss out on any part, it may be causing some problems and cracks later. Allow the area to dry thoroughly for around 48 hours. 

Step 2: Apply Varnish

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Varnish is another way to apply coating on wood. It is a transparent substance that provides protection to the surface of the wood, similar to what paint does. An added transparent finish will still allow you to enjoy the original surface, while giving it a more attractive, shiny finish. It combines resin and drying oil, along with solvent or thinner. 

By applying varnish, you can effectively stop wood from splitting. To apply varnish, make sure to clean the surface of the wood first. Next, combine varnish and aluminum paint together evenly. Create a sealer by mixing together warm water and wood glue, then apply varnish to the entire surface. After the final coat of varnish has dried, apply the sealer fully and allow it to dry.

Step 3: Apply Salt Paste

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Another effective product that you can use is salt paste. It works by naturally drying wood, thus restricting shrinkage. By nature, salt is a drying agent, helping wood to get rid of moisture while reducing the speed of wood shrinking. The paste also does not have harmful chemicals, and is considered as one of the most effective and easiest ways to stop cracking and splitting. 

To make the salt paste, mix a full water buck with salt, at a 1:1 ratio. Four hours later, add cornstarch, followed by three eggs. Combine the mixture well. Apply the paste all over the surface of wood. Allow it to dry in a warm location. 

Step 4: Apply Anchor Seal

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Anchors are considered as premium and classic product which serves as a was emulsion sealer. It is also an effective product to stop wood from splitting and cracking. As it dries, the end splits to softwood and hardwood. It serves as a more effective form of sealer. 

Applying anchor seal is very easy. You need to start by cleaning the surface, and applying the seal using a roller, brush or sprayer. Spread evenly throughout the entire surface. You can also purchase ready-made seals for a more convenient option. Allow it to dry completely. 

Step 5: Apply Paintable Wax

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Paintable wax is a combination of paint thinner and melted wax. This DIY wood sealant is effective in protecting wood from splitting. To make this, you need to use paint thinner, candles, a measuring scale and a caning jar. Note, however, that paintable wax is only ideal for green wood. 

To make paintable wax, make sure to use a scale to effectively measure all ingredients. Melt the candles inside a canning jar. Add paint thinner to ¼ of the candles and mix well. Apply a thin coat of paintable wax into the wood using a brush and allow it to dry completely. 

Step 6: Apply Boiled Linseed Oil

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There is no doubt that Linseed Oil is considered as one of the most effective wood finishes available. It penetrates into the wood deeply, giving the needed protection against humidity changes, scratches ad splitting. Despite the name, there is no heating or boiling involved in the application of boiled linseed oil. It effectively serves as a protective coat for the wood grain, making it stronger and less prone to cracking and splitting. 

Applying boiled linseed oil is also an effective way to prevent wood splitting. To do this, sand the wood properly and clean the area where the linseed oil will be evenly applied. Apply the linseed oil to the end of the wood, giving it time to dry completely before applying another layer of coat. Make sure to keep it away from direct exposure to sunlight, as it may cause damage to the oil. 


In this article, we have discussed some of the most effective ways on how to stop wood from splitting. They have been tested by actual woodworkers, and have been found effective to stop wood splitting, which can be very annoying in any woodworking project. Some tips have also been mentioned on how to select the best products to use. By applying the tips and using the right products, you can skip one of the most annoying things that any woodworker could face – wood splitting. What methods and solutions have you already tried? Share with us your experiences below! Feel free to share this article if you like!



One response to “How to Stop Wood from Splitting: Expert Tips for Prevention”

  1. […] Screw selection and quality play a significant role in preventing wood splitting. […]

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