Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Exotic driftwoods .

On the Thanet coast where I live at certain times of the year in certain weather conditions there is an abundance of driftwood ashore. I do find it a strange phenomenon in as far as that in some cases the wood is of a tropical origin especially during the winter gale period. The origin is unclear but given the types of wood found I can only assume the origin has to be of a groyne or pier construction. Insofar as that some of the driftwoods found are Greenheart, Teak, Ekki and Iroko, woods renowned for their incredible strength and resilience in a marine environment. Logistically the larger pieces are impossible to retrieve given the size , the weight and location on the coast. However, there are many smaller pieces to be found that can be utilised.
The exotic driftwoods however do have limited uses given the time they have been in the sea and the way the wood has been weathered. I have found that selected pieces can be turned to create items with a stunning effect. I am not a wood turner so I tend to give selected pieces away for turning of which I have some of the items made. I have also made driftwood available for carving but I am waiting on the results.To add to the provenance of the driftwood found and the items made, I GPS each piece I find ashore at Sandwich Bay, Pegwell Bay and Ramsgate .
Everything is a learning curve and there is no manual as what to do with exoctic driftwood found ashore that have been in the sea for many decades. By trial and error I have worked out a system of grading and drying the driftwood woods that seems to work.
Of the more softer hardwoods found ashore there is also african mahogany used for boat building with walnut and oak used for both boat building and other uses. I do like the oak found ashore that has been in contact with a steel bolt that has rusted in the marine environment as the reaction with the oak has does cause the oak to ebonise. This makes the oak very attractive in the artistic sense. On another point in many cases oak and walnut have been attacked by worm making each piece unique.

I have posted examples from my wood  wood archive of items found and made.

Lump of oak found ashore , note the iron staining.
Piece of oak from groyne construction, note the dark areas where the wood has ebonised in contact with iron.

A bowl made from the above that has ebonised. The hole is the original bolt hole.

Egg cup made from this piece of driftwood as seen on the left. I am not sure what this wood actually is.

A pen made from Ekki with a wood sample. Origin of the wood was the construction of the new groynes at Kingsdown in 2016. The original large piece found was at Sandwich bay at the Deal end.

Greenheart ashore on the shingle at Sandwich Bay (Deal end)

A pen made from the greenheart it rest against.

Three pens made from a small piece of African mahogany.

A block of greenheart ashore Sandwich Bay mid.

Wood drying out and cut to prevent  further splitting, it is all ready for turning. 

Greenheart ashore on the shingle at Sandwich Bay.

Walnut ashore
Oak rib from an old shipwreck , this piece was far too big and heavy to do anything with and was left as found. the tide soon took it back out to sea a few tides later.

Pieces of oak ashore from the demolition of the kingsdown groynes during the second half of 2015.


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