Worry-free Wood Walls

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.

Wormwood Wall Paneling-Recycled Walls-Trinity River Marine

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.

KEXP-recycled wood wall- Trinity River Marine

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.






The KEXP Stage

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.

KEXPgrand opening-Trinity River Marine

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.

KEXP-main stage-recycled wall- Trinity River Marine

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.


Reclaimed Creations

At a recent Handmade Market held at Second Use Building Supply our friends Bill and Aggie Wilson of Reclaimed Creations had some unique and beautiful handcrafted wood products on display. Bill has been making “lightboxes” from teredo wood. This box is about 14″ tall and has a lightbulb inside.

Lightbox-Reclaimed Creations

I was especially intrigued by the round table that Bill and Aggie created.  It is full of interesting holes and tunnels, is wondrously sturdy, and like all projects made with reclaimed wood it looks like it has a history.Reclaimed Creations - wormwood table - Trinity River Marine

Bill Wilson makes one of a kind benches. The one on the left is made with live edge teredo wood. The back of the bench on the right has a beautiful handcarved  landscape of water, a tugboat towing a log raft, trees and  mountains.

At Trinity River Marine we love and appreciate skilled woodworkers. These are the people who see the potential in the wood within minutes of setting eyes on it. They choose their pieces carefully and can’t wait to see their ideas become reality!



The Colors and Stains in Teredo Lumber

Douglas Fir

The log raft boomsticks we use are mostly Douglas Fir which is tan or pale yellow when dry, and light orange when wet or when clear finish is applied. There are  often pink tints in the heartwood, and yellow sapwood out by the outer perimeter of the log. In the photos below, the wood on the left is more colorful because it is wet.

In addition to the normal variations in wood color, wood that is milled from old log raft boomsticks has some unique colors. Some of the tunnels and holes in the milled lumber have a white lining of calcium left behind by the teredo clams.


White calcium lining left by teredo clams.

Black stains occur in the lumber for two main reasons: metal, and long time empty burrows which have had either salt or fresh water in them. During their working life, boomsticks have lots of metal. Staples and logging dogs were hammered into them.


Staple and Logging Dog

Some of these remain in the log for years and the black rust stain migrates in the log exactly the same way that water transports up the stem in cut flowers; black metal stain can migrate 10 to 20 feet through the interior lumber of the log. Water that pools in a log’s empty burrows saturates into the wood around the burrow resulting in a dark stain that does not travel very far; just a few inches.

Bookmatch-Wormwood-Trinity River Marine

Black stains at the top

Rose-colored Douglas Fir boards are a result of leaving sawdust in the teredo burrows after milling. We have discovered that boards are more colorful when tight stacked for several weeks before the sawdust is washed from the tunnels. We enjoy the results when it happens, but the possibility of mold keeps us from purposefully tight stacking wet wood long enough to ensure that all wood is rose-colored.

Mantels-Slabs-Wormwood-Recycled Lumber-Trinity River Marine

Rose tinted Douglas Fir Slab

Hemlock and Spruce

About 20% of our logs are either Western Hemlock or Sitka Spruce. The lumber from both species is so light in color that it is often called “white wood”.  The wood is a uniform light tan, with little or no difference  between the heartwood and sapwood. Sitka Spruce is even lighter in color than Western Hemlock.



Hemlock Picnic Table made from recycled logs.