I have a twelve foot length of ships timber rescued from the beach a
couple of years ago. I originally registered it with Receiver of Wreck
and presented it to my local museum but they have now given me it back.
It has been identified as end of the 18th century by the National
Maritime Museum (based on the copper/bronze pins still in place), but of
no value historically as there are no identifiable features to ident it
to vessel. The NMM cleared me to use it for carving.
I cut into it last week and found that the wood is very hard and
completely black with only a faint figuring visible which looks
something like Oak. I asked Kew Gardens if they could ident the wood if
I sent them a piece - they agreed, if I pay them £100.00 plus VAT.
Can anyone one advise how I could get this timber identified without
spending a hundred quid on it please?
It would be helpful to post a picture showing the grain from a couple of
angles on alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking.
From the color and faint grain, it may be ebony (if so buy another lock for
I have no idea what chemical/color changes long immersion would have on any
Can you estimate its volume/weight?
And a Google search will reveal a few sites with photos for the purpose of
identifying wood species as well. Sorry I don't have links on this machine.
Over time a lot of wood species turn black from oxidation and become
unidentifiable by normal means.
Contact someone at a University with a maritime archeology dept, very
likely someone there could tell you what it is for free.
As mentioned earlier it is probably oak .
Perhaps this fellow could help http://www.bcuc.ac.uk/main.asp?page 29
I believe that US citizens can have this done for free (up to 5 pieces /
year) by their Forest Products Lab (the people who write the big book
that's so useful). Know any Yanks ?
I'd agree that it's probably oak. Most of it was.
This is also a good time to buy a copy of Hoadley's "Identifying Wood".
_Well_ worth it, even if it is a bit too American-centric at times..
Andy is quite right about Hoadley. And with a microscope (or even a
good powerful hand lens) & Hoadley's instructions, you could come up
with a definite id, unless it's a weird tropical timber. Of course,
between the microscope and the book, it might set you back 100 quid.
Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address
46 quid gets you a really good illuminated Luxo magnifier / lamp from
Greenweld. I've just bought a couple to give to my outsourced glass
workers who were complaing about lack of light tiring them out..
If you must have a microscope, get a low-powered _stereo_ microsocope
(maybe x36) which will cost 40-50 quid off eBay. This is also a useful
tool for sharpening. 200-250 quid gets a Russian barrel or zoom stereo
microscope which is even more fun. A friend keeps one on his kitchen
table, which can get a bit gross when the cheeseboard comes around with
the stilton on it.
Hoadley is cheap in Bath at present (10 quid?) The remainders bookshop
on Bog Island (back of the abbey, towards the river). Garret Hack's
plane book too. I almost bought myself a second copy of both, just
because I can't resist a bargain !
Hi All,Thanks for the help. I've followed ICEPICK's advice and spoken
to Dr Andy Pitman at Buckinghamshire Uni. I've just despatched a piece
to him so hopefully I'll know more next week.
I donated the timber to our local museum almost two years ago. Since
then it has sat in the Barge Workshops at Helebridge, so by the time
they gave me it back (no funding for storing/preserving) a short while
ago it was well dried out.
This is the heaviest piece of wood I have ever handled. A three foot
section. thick end 10 x 6 inches narrowing to 4 x 4, needed a careful
lift, so it is very dense. It is also hard; cutting is difficult and I
think that my Foredom will be the the tool of choice. My big problem
will be getting it down to useable sizes. Ripping a piece lengthwise
with a handsaw yesterday took an awful lot of energy and with the
foreign bodies in there, bronze pins and iron nails, I don't fancy
taking it to anyone with a big enough bandsaw to handle it.
I'm currently into stylised birds which are initially laminated from
contrasting woods before carving. I don't do individual birds at the
mo', they are all in groups doing things - trying to put a story into
each one. I sold two at our local exhibition last week so well
pleased. This wood will be particularly good as very dark and
contrasting wings, cheek patches etc.
As soon as I hear back from the Uni I will post details here, hopefully
next week as I sent the sample first class at lunchtime today.
Ian - Hmm maybe it isn't oak but some tropical wood with brass and iron
no less.... the mystery continues
If you can post a link to some of your bird carvings , I would like to
Best Wishes !
Tom " Icepick " Reiver
Correction to that - Greenweld are now supplying a hunk-of-junk Chinese
magnifier instead, for the same price. I'm distinctly unhappy about
this - the old ones were good, the new ones aren't worth a fraction of
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