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  • Driftwood Carving

    I recently scavenged some interesting pieces of driftwood deposited by the high water in the Mississippi River. Most of it, after drying, is very lightweight, some more dense. After several weeks air drying, I\'d like to try carving it.

    I\'d appreciate hearing from some of you experienced in carving driftwood as to any hints, etc., you might have. I might add that it\'s impossible for me to determine the various species, but most of it seems carveable.

    I do understand the effect ingrained sand can have on sharp edges!

    I have already tried to do a search on the forum, but you know THAT situation!

    Thanks,
    Arthur
    Arthur

  • #2
    Re: Driftwood Carving

    Kind of hard to offer tips as every piece is unique. Go with what the wood looks like and be prepared to change as any little surprises come out of the wood.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Driftwood Carving

      Try using a stiff wire bristle brush that is used for masonry, to help remove some of the sand from the exterior layer.
      James Richards

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      • #4
        Re: Driftwood Carving

        I\'ve heard that using a power washer on it will take off most of the sand and any punky rotted wood. Haven\'t tried it personally, though.

        Claude
        My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/
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        My Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/claudeswoodcarving/
        My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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        • #5
          Re: Driftwood Carving

          They guys are right!! Try to get the grit out of the wood before putting a knife to it. I\'ve got a big piece that came from Lake Michigan that I have had for about five years now, I( can get the grit out of it, so now it is a floor hugger. A pretty piece of wood and I just can\'t bring myself to get rid of it. Luck with yours
          . . .JoeB
          . . .JoeB

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          • #6
            Re: Driftwood Carving

            I agree with James....and you might use Murphy\'s Oil Soap along with the brush. You will be surprised at the amount of dark sludge it will reconstitute and bring off.

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            • #7
              Re: Driftwood Carving

              Thanks, fellas. I appreciate the tips, all good ones.
              Arthur

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              • #8
                Re: Driftwood Carving

                \"Grit Happens\"... just have to deal with it.

                I usually start with power carving to get the foundation of the carving(shape
                +form) then move to hand tools.
                Driftwood is fun to use your imagination to see things that mother nature has created and you help pull out.
                It has helped me to think \"parts of things\" rather than the whole thing. I might see a finger, a foot, a tail fin, a egrets beak. I,ll than try to let my carving help others to see it.
                I think it,s easier to do a human face and let the flow of the wood happen into the hair or beard, compared to other things. It also seems easier to see bird heads too.

                - you have to pay close attention to twist and turns, grain changes, soft and hard wood changes....sneak up on it rather than dig deep.

                Some of my driftwood carvings were too dark with a finish on them so sometimes I go without... I ordered some 2 part wood bleach to try out.
                Greg

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                • #9
                  Re: Driftwood Carving

                  My husband bought me an electric pressure washer for a birthday present a few years back and that\'s what I use to get the punky wood off and sand and dirt. I like to start carving with power tools because of hidden pockets that the washer didn\'t get off or find.
                  Be prepared to totally change your carving plan on driftwood because of all the surprises you will find in the wood.
                  Other than the possibility of dulling and chipping hand tools, it\'s fun stuff to carve. Let your imagination run free and enjoy!
                  My ETSY shop:
                  https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodforddellDesigns

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                  • #10
                    Re: Driftwood Carving

                    Oh, and don\'t be afraid to carve it when it\'s wet, it might make it easier to carve.
                    If it cracks and checks a bit while you are carving it and after, well that just adds extra character to your carving. I learned that here from carving friends after fretting over cracks in my carvings. And they were right!
                    My ETSY shop:
                    https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodforddellDesigns

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                    • #11
                      Re: Driftwood Carving

                      My take: Pressure washing is great, but for smaller, more manageable pieces, I use soapy water and a brush (non-wire.) Embedded grit? I just live with it and sharpen as necessary. I\'ve saved pithy portions with a water/wood glue mix. Depending on the rotten woods ability to absorb the liquid, several applications may be required. Apply, let dry, carve...repeat...

                      Mark

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                      • #12
                        Re: Driftwood Carving

                        Pressure washer works great.. But if you want to preserve the driftwood patina, you will blow it off.
                        Greg

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                        • #13
                          Re: Driftwood Carving

                          Thanks also to Sharon, Greg and Priddy! I don\'t think I\'ll get too aggressive with the cleaning, as I want to preserve the present look. I will probably try the pressure washer on one piece, the wire brush on another, just to gauge the effects...but then each piece is really unique, so that probably won\'t help...hmmm. Well, there\'s an unlimited supply two blocks away, so if it screws up a piece, no matter!
                          Arthur

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                          • #14
                            Re: Driftwood Carving

                            For small pieces of driftwood and roots, I put them in one of those plastic totes and pressure wash. I can do quite a few like this at one time and they aren\'t being blasted all over the yard. Just have to empty the water out of the tub/tote more often.
                            My ETSY shop:
                            https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodforddellDesigns

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                            • #15
                              Re: Driftwood Carving

                              For myself, I don\'t like leaving the rotten parts of the wood or bark if it has worm/grub holes showing because of wood eating critters left behind. I don\'t want to get them started in my house or if i sell, to spread some kind of bark beetle to some place where there aren\'t any.
                              Now if you can heat your wood enough to kill them, that\'s different.
                              My ETSY shop:
                              https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodforddellDesigns

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