Random Jottings

Winter Project 2019.....part one

Regular readers will know that I do like a Winter Project to while away the dour hours with poor vis in the winter time and 2019 was no exception!

But this year rather than a lump of brass I went for something which I thought was a little softer, that is to say some 'recovered' timber, as you will see from the photograph this was originally a ships timber from somewhere near the bow and because of where it was found, high above the tide-line at Ross sands it isn't flotsam, jetsam, derelict or lagan! 

un cut timber

I spotted this whilst walking the dogs and at the time my back was a bit 'twitchy' and I didn't really fancy a two mile walk with the wood plus a spaniel on a lead, so as the piece was well above the high-tide mark I simply marked it's position and promised to come back at a later date. Well come back I did and having picked up the wood I was subsequently stuck for several days after the blizzard conditions that were the 'Beast from the East'! Looking at the wood you can see that it had been superficially attacked on all sides by wood-boring worms before being cast up on the beach where it had fully dried out, I suspect that having been ripped apart a wooden wreck pretty much sank, certainly this oak even dry was more dense than water. Subsequently the wood has been cast on the beach in what must have been a bad storm as it was waaaaay beyond the high water mark and I suspect that it was buried under a sand dune for a considerable time drying out before being exposed by the wind eroding away the dune.

Once recovered I decided that if the wood could be split or cut into planks it would make a very interesting smallish table and that in itself was a challenge and I was fortunate, at the last minute to find that the gys at the Duke of Northumberlands wood-shed would cut wood....result!

cut two bits

The results of the cutting activity were three very nice planks, with evidence that the boat was held together with tree nails and also as suspected made out of oak, that the piece was old is confirmed by the oak starting to turn black. Also having shown the Ancient Diver what I had done with the wood he was impressed, both with the plan and the ingenuity of the original ship-builder who had used the natural shape of the wood to make this rib which would have fitted somewhere near the bow of the vessel, oh and based on what he saw he aged the piece as 17th century......I wonder if I can call the table 'Jacobean'?

cut one bit 

You must admit that the graining and colouration is very nice, well the next step is to join up the three planks to make a single piece and then cut the ends into a half circle. I did consider setting the entire thing in an acrylic block but decided that it would look better waxed with a small brass plaque set into the top surface. I have a small off-cut left and may decide sometime to send this away for testing by a dendrologist to establish a more exact date but here and now I am happy to progress in making a small table for my place in Beadnell!

The interesting thing about this piece is that the age ties up with the date of the loss of the vessel carrying the bells from Lindisfarne Abbey........ now that would be ironic especially as this is one of our major projects!

When I get to the next stage of sand and polish I will keep you updated but until then.......

Dive safe


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