When Seattle Convention Center architects first approached us about providing live-edge planks milled from former logbooms for a specialty ceiling we took them a few samples and were pleased at their enthusiasm. And amazed at the scale of the project.
The logs were obtained from local tugboat companies when they were no longer needed for containing and towing Puget Sound log rafts. They were locally milled, sawdust was washed out of the holes and tunnels dug by teredo clams while the logs were in the saltwater, then they were kiln dried and delivered to Seattle.
There are now about 3900 rustic teredo clam boards hanging from the ceiling of the 58,000 square foot Grand Ballroom at heights ranging up to 65′. We had no idea how elegant our live-edge planks could look hanging vertically among colored lights above miles of plum colored velvet! We could not stop smiling when we saw it in person. Some people are so creative!
What do you do with a 1″ thick live edge teredo board? Thicker live edge slabs have always been popular, but there was a time, before we realized that woodworkers can work magic with 1″ live edge boards, when we used to send the 1″ live edge boards to the chipper.
Even with the holes and tunnels, this 1″ live edge board is easily strong enough for a bench and makes an especially interesting and beautiful bench top.
Jon Hayes of Edmonds, WA has been adding recycled saltwater wood accents to his house and yard for several years now. Recently he brought us this gorgeous handcrafted mirror made from a recycled saltwater wood bookmatch. Jon framed the length of the mirror with matching sculpted pieces.
He raised the wood grain, using a nylon brush on his drill, bringing out the colors and curves in the grain. A wonderful feature of this mirror is that the wood grain contours on the left side of the mirror are the inverse of those on the right, making it a mirror worth getting close to and spend some time with.
Whenever we go somewhere with our wood the most common response is “Cool!” And the most common question is “What can you do with it?” Well, you wouldn’t want to build a boat with it, but other than that, recycled saltwater wood is full of possibilities. We often wonder what happens to our wood after it leaves us so we were delighted to receive these recent photos from customers.
When Bob Shanks was given some recycled teredo clam wood he made beautiful hinged-lid boxes to give to family and friends.
Our neighbor Bill Sherburn comes by from time to time to get more wood for gifts he wants to make. I believe he has made several of these beautiful tables. Recently he has been making wild animal rocking toys to delight children.
Bob and Carey selected floor boards with no teredo clam activity. Many of our reclaimed boomstick logs are old growth and the top of the log that was not submerged during it’s years of towing log rafts makes gorgeous Douglas Fir flooring. They chose to make their shelves from boards with little or no holes and tunnels.
Ed Wyman celebrates the holes and tunnels in this fabulous kitchen island.
He has also wrapped all of the beams outside with recycled saltwater wood.
Ben from Creekside Cabinets in Silverdale, WA was inspired to make this pulpit featuring a bookmatch on the center panel. He is also working on a communion table.
Sherry Richardson charred the wood to make the black border on this wonderful teredo headboard and finished it with shellac.
So those are some ideas. The holes and tunnels, and the history of the wood, make every project interesting.
We enjoyed spending April 22nd at the Handmade Market and Homegrown Fair at Second Use in Seattle. A big part of the fun for us is watching the reactions of people when they see our wood. Some stop and stare with a puzzled expression on their faces, and then they start asking questions about the holes in the wood, which we are happy to answer. The other common reaction is a big smile and one word – “Cool!” And they are right. We see this wood all the time, and it never stops amazing us with how interesting it is.
Some of the coolest boards become wall art. I (Becky) have started taking pieces of wood and combining them into art pieces. In addition to holes and tunnels bored by teredo clams, our art pieces may have small holes left by a wood-boring isopod called the gribble. Many pieces have checks or cracks, and some have dark metal stains or holes from hardware and grapple hooks. I put contrasting colors and textures next to each other then cut, sand, seal and assemble them. This specialty wood really is special. It doesn’t require stain or paint or much of anything. I am making art, but I’m not the artist. The art is already in the wood.
We love to see eyes light up when woodcrafters take their first look at our wood. Teredo wood can be inspiring. Glenn Hoopman from Grapeview, Washington has crafted some amazing bowls using teredo clam wood and some interesting techniques. Notice the burned wire indentations on the bowls, and the use of fracking. In addition to Douglas Fir bored by teredo clams, Glenn uses a variety of wood species, including Beetle Kill Pine and walnut and often laminates several species into one piece to make a bowl.
We were delighted to receive this photo from Michael Pendleton from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, who ordered a bookmatched set off the website a few months ago and made a beautiful table from an old antique hand truck.
Accent Walls from Teredo Lumber
My husband and I sell recycled lumber milled from log-raft log booms that soaked in the Puget Sound long enough to have teredo clams drill into them. When cut into lumber, the boards have various amounts of teredo activity, from none at all to lots. This really adds to the character of an accent wall – thank you clams! There are also occasional knots, the variety in the wood grain, and some variation in natural color.
I cut the 1×4’s into four different lengths, lightly sanded them, and then spent a little time on the layout before applying finishes.
I’ve been experimenting with stains, paint and natural finishes. Here are two of my favorite samples so far.
1×4″ boards of varying lengths treated with sanding sealer and satin polyurathane to preserve natural colors of the Douglas Fir.
1×4″ boards of varying lengths painted with light colored satin latex. I used less paint on some boards than others, then brushed Classic Gray stain on all of them.
The key to the rustic look, besides the work of the cooperative clams, is the rough-cut lumber. I sanded it lightly just to remove splinters so it’s still got its natural texture. If you aren’t a wood worker or a contractor you can still do all of the previous steps. Then you might want to consult with someone to help with installation since there are issues like letting the wood hang out in the house for the right amount of time before installing, and making sure you can still use your outlets and open the windows after the wall is in.
Rough-cut teredo boards are for sale at Second Use Building Supply in Seattle. We have also been known to ship heavy boxes full of lumber to other states and Canada. Contact us.
“Superset” of four 1″x12″ mirror image sets from one log.
Lately we’ve been excited to discover some “Supersets” – three or more mirror image sets from the same log that have similar coloring and features. When used together in one project they create a dramatic artistic focal point. We have some sets that would easily cover a whole wall!
Wood moves, and wood that has been in the saltwater moves even more. We recommend that recycled saltwater lumber spend several weeks inside before being installed. One of our favorite products for interesting, recycled walls is teredo clam tongue and groove V- groove wall paneling. Using tongue and groove wall paneling for walls allows the wood to move without the possibility of spaces showing up later between the boards. Customers have used a variety of finishes and layouts for the boards so each wall is unique.
The natural look is achieved with sanding sealer and satin polyurethane. The layout was done carefully to achieve a balance between few holes and tunnels and busier boards.
Vertical and horizontal sections give added interest to this wall at the KEXP main stage. Black stain makes the wood appear rustic or distressed and makes a good background for music videos.
The wall at this marine museum includes boards with white calcium in the tunnels.
Wainscot wall paneling separates the bar from the restaurant at the Port Gamble General Store and Cafe.
KEXP has been Trinity River Marine owner Bill Sibbett’s favorite radio station for decades, so when the opportunity came to be involved in the new building he was delighted that saltwater lumber from the Puget Sound was selected for the wall that surrounds the DJ booth. The wall serves as a dark neutral background for live concerts that are performed on the KEXP stage.
Staining the boards black was a two step process involving both water based and oil based stain. The boards are arranged in alternating horizontal and vertical sections.
These boards were milled from logs that were used for decades by Puget Sound tugboat companies to tow log rafts. By the time they were removed from the salt water they were full of holes and tunnels bored by teredo clams.