End coatings are products that can stop or minimize end checking on logs and lumber. It is important to understand that end coatings cannot reverse checking that has already occurred. Most commercial end coatings consist of paraffin wax or micro-crystalline wax, water, and a surfactant. Many people confuse end coatings with paint. End coatings will reduce the moisture loss from the ends of logs and lumber. Paint cannot do this.
End coatings can be spray or brush applied. To increase the effectiveness of the coating for logs, it should be applied immediately after the tree is cut (bucked) into logs. The greatest benefit from end coating is when logs will be stored for a prolonged period before processed. The value of end coating will vary based on the season. The hot summer months will facilitate rapid drying of logs and lumber so end coating during this season is especially beneficial.
End coating will certainly help to maintain the value of logs and lumber. However, not all producers use end coatings. The decision to use any end coating should be based on a cost/benefit analysis. For example, I would be more inclined to use an end coating for high-quality hardwood logs in the summer months, particularly if the logs will be stored for long time periods. End coatings can also significantly reduce fungal stains which are problematic in the hot and humid summer months. So, the reduction of stains and checking will certainly have a positive economic effect. However, the negative side of the equation includes the cost of the product and the labor for its application.
Meet the Author
Dr. Todd Shupe is the President of Wood Science Consulting, LLC. He is a well-recognized expert on wood forensics, wood preservation, wood decay and degradation, and wood species identification. He has a broad background in new product development, quality management, and marketing and sales in both the public and private sectors. For more information please visit DrToddShupe.com.
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