Pentacryl - What Went Wrong?

As a company committed to delivering top-notch products and exceptional customer service, we recently found ourselves facing a customer complaint that we couldn't ignore. It all started with an email, one that conveyed frustration and disappointment over our flagship product, Pentacryl. This incident made us take a step back and reflect on what went wrong, how we could have better met our customer's needs, and most importantly, how we can learn from this experience to improve the way our information is portrayed to prevent similar issues in the future.

Join us as we delve into the details of this complaint and discuss the steps we took to address what may have gone wrong. Get ready to uncover valuable insights and discover the power of turning a mistake into an opportunity for growth and improvement.

The Customer Complaint

I purchased a 5-gallon of your Pentacryl back in March. I watched most of your YouTube videos and followed all the steps. I had cut a number of Black Walnut cookies, (some over 2 ft. in diameter). I have included the pictures to show that I wrapped each piece carefully and put the large cookies on their sides and put a piece of wood in between each one. I placed two untreated cookies in the front of the wrapped ones to see if there would be a difference between non-treated and treated. The cookies were kept in my garage. I took the paper off the other cookies yesterday (July 18). To my disappointment all but 8 of the 36 cookies were cracked. I took pictures of just a few of them. No difference between the untreated ones and the ones which were treated.
black maple5-gal pentacryl
wood cookie crackedwood cookies

 Our Response

Thank you for reaching out. I believe you and I may have spoken in March about treating this walnut wood.

There are 3 keys to using Pentacryl successfully:

  1. Treat the wood as soon as it is cut, before it has a chance to start drying.
  2. Complete saturation. Pentacryl needs to go all the way through the wood to be effective. Soaking is the best method, however, brushing will work too. Depending on the thickness, apply multiple coats to both sides until it goes all the way in, keeping the wood covered in plastic between applications so it doesn't start drying before you can get it treated.
  3. Dry the wood slowly in a cool area. Wrapping in paper is good for smaller pieces, but we really recommend cutting out cardboard circles and taping them nice and snug to the surface for the larger pieces. Note: a photo of this was not included.

These steps are especially important for stabilizing the challenging "wood cookies", because they are 100% end grain on both sides which is where up to 90% of the drying occurs, plus this type of cut has the most tension - it will want to crack from the outer rim in towards the pith to relieve that tension.

By looking at how much and the amount of product used, It appears that the wood may not have had enough Pentacryl on to be effective.

According to the Wood Calculator on our website, a single 48” diameter by 2” thick walnut piece will take approx. 3 quarts on its own.  If there were 36 wood cookies and you had Pentacryl left over, not enough was applied.

The other tip is that the wood may have been in an area that was too warm when drying (this is tough in the summer months).  It is best to check the wood each week. If some small checks start appearing, the wood is drying too fast and this process needs to change.  For example, moving the wood to a cooler area or applying cardboard vs. paper. 

Depending on how much moisture content was in the wood when it was cut, it could take 6 -16 months for the wood to completely dry. These cookies were dried in under 5 months, which may have been too fast. I know it is a lot of extra effort when you are treating that many pieces, but the steps above will yield more success - especially on such beautiful wood as walnut.

Conclusion: Learning and Growing from Our Customer's Experience

At our company, customer service is of utmost importance to us. We deeply value our customers and their feedback, as it helps us improve and provide the best experience possible.

In response to the customer's complaint about the cracking wood cookies, we reached out to offer our assistance in rectifying the situation. We understand the frustration that can arise from unexpected outcomes, and we wanted to ensure that the customer felt supported.

As a gesture of goodwill, we offered the customer additional Pentacryl at a discounted price. We believed that providing them with extra product would not only help address their immediate needs but also serve as an opportunity for them to try our product again on a different batch of wood cookies. Our aim was to demonstrate our commitment to customer satisfaction and to assist them in achieving successful results in future projects.

We take these situations seriously and strive to constantly improve customer education. Wood cookies, in particular, are a popular cut to use but can be challenging to stabilize, and we recognize the need for enhanced messaging and educational resources surrounding their treatment.

That's why, with each Pentacryl shipment, we include a separate brochure specifically addressing the stabilization of wood cookies. You can find the link to this brochure [here].

Additionally, we are committed to improving our customer education videos on YouTube to make them shorter, more user-friendly, and packed with essential information to ensure successful outcomes. We understand the importance of clear instructions and detailed guidance when it comes to using our products effectively.

By sharing this customer's story and reflecting on their experience, we aim to not only address their concerns but also empower other customers and enthusiasts in their woodworking endeavors. We appreciate the opportunity to grow and evolve, guided by valuable feedback from our customers. Together, we can continue to create exceptional products and provide the knowledge needed to achieve outstanding results.