re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Posts tagged “driftwood

179 Displaying work. Wind, waves, sand and driftwood.

The beauty of sun soaked, water washed, wind worried, and sand scoured wood makes driftwood pieces fascinating. Here a piece of pine mounted on cedar with a dowel. I love the flow of the piece, the contrasting smooth and rough surfaces, and the variety of color. What is there not to like?


“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Prov 12:25


170 Driftwood art. A Father Christmas face.

Have you ever tried a piece of wood and thought, “Shoot, this is way too tough, can’t do this one. Well, that is what happened here. And why this piece sat in a box for ten year. And why I am not sure it even worked once it came out of the box. But someone thought it fit. It sits in a collection somewhere.

What I like about it is the center out. By that I mean, beginning at the checks at the center of the wood, we go from smoothest to roughest. I do not sand very much. This face called for it. So, sanded checks and nose, less sanding to brow, no sanding to lips, rougher texture to hair and beard, and finally out to the rough, even weathered edges.

The squinted, happy eyes made the piece for me. What do you think?


“Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food.” Prov 12:9

146 Hand carved. Sperm whale ala Moby fame.

There is much to like in this piece. The driftwood base and the whale work well together. And while the whale does not have the girth of a real whale, the coloring and markings are pleasing.

Note: The story of Moby Dick was based in part on a real whale named Mocha Dick found in the Pacific in the 1840’s, but the whale in the story has some inaccuracies.


“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” Prov 22:9

112 Beach Bones 3. Vertebrate? Petrified Swiss chess?

Thank you for checking in on this blog.

Do you have some? Wood, art work, art work intention pieces that you hold on to for a long time? This piece of driftwood was carried around the U.S. for many years. Many plans were made for it but they never materialized, were discarded, or died in the thought process. One plan for this wood was to make it the base, a rocky shore, for a light house. Another involved a fishing village, stairways, boats, and a wharf.

Finally the piece’s beauty and an idea came together. The idea was to keep things simple so that the beauty of the water-worried wood could stand out.

The base is a heavy pine spray painted black. The muted color of the wood and the rich, but somber black, called for something. Thus the polished brass peg on which the driftwood is mounted giving a glint of color or shine.

Also delaying the piece was deciding how to mount the wood, which took several hours to think through and experiment with.

Vertical mounting, to give the work height, was the first option. Which end to place down also needed to be answered. One reason this became a challenge was the internal weakness of the driftwood in the places where the peg would be inserted.

Horizontal mounting was explored next. This idea had merit since the piece would make a fine fireplace mantel display. However, the over all length then became challenging. Two pegs? Too plain and boring?

As you have seen, a tilted mounting was chosen for a variety of reasons. One reason, the angle gives the piece motion and tension. A second was that it provided a more secure place to place the brass peg allowing the piece to survive use and display. Yet another consideration was how the angle gave the best possible viewing of the many pleasing facets in the driftwood.

And pleasing it is. The texture, holes or negative spaces, the coloration, and mounting all add to the overall pleasure of the piece. Which is most interesting to you?

Thanks again for checking in. This piece and many more can be found on my Pinterest account – John Klompmaker. Also, Beach Bones 3 is still available. (I neglected to mention in BB2 that all three of the driftwood ships have been sold.)

Grace and peace to each of you. (John 20:31)

109 Beach Bones 1 or On another “note”

As said before in other posts, there is great joy and satisfaction in finding “lost” or “useless” wood and giving it a new purpose. One of the places to look for such wood is on a beach or in a lake. Once found there are a great variety of options for creating beauty or using the beauty of the found piece. Let’s call one this Driftwood 1 or Beach Bones 1, since there is hopes of having more to share.

This piece stands in a cottage along the shores of Lake Michigan. It is a piece of pine driftwood mounted via a steel dowel on to a poplar base which has been spray painted glossy black.

Did you catch the shape. Once the piece was mounted it seem to trumpet treble clef. The effect was noticed by the entire family.

I love the contrasts in this piece. Note the glossy, smoothness of the finished base in contrast to the warm roughness of the wood. Also see the flowing curves of the “treble clef” in comparison to the clean, straight lines of the base and dowel.

One more thing to love about this piece is its hint of bone-likeness. The central dark ring gives the feeling of vertebrae and the light surround that of extended bone. Can’t you just see the tree which produced such a “bone?”

What wood have you been finding? What small or large pieces of wood have you or could you repurpose. Please do share in the comments here or drop me a line at Got questions about driftwood? Share them, please.

Final thought. Since repurpose or reuse is a theme here, those who know will understand the greatest repurpose in world history was a cross on a hill several hundreds of years ago. He is Risen. Shalom.

98 Whale ho!

Stylized blue whale Stylized blue whale

Do any of you remember a childhood book entitled, “Burt Dow, Deep Water Man”?  Author Robert McCloskey ( wrote about an east coast deep sea fisherman named Burt who ends up inside a whale in a gale.  The story begins with Burt hooking a whooper, a whale.  His tiny boat can’t hold the whale, so Burt removes his hook and patches the whales tail with colorful bandage.  The story ends with Burt placing a colorful band-aid on the tails an entire pod of whales.  You will have to read it to find out about the gale and the whale.

Acrylic wash over cedar finished with boiled linseed oil.

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Of course, these photos are not part of Burt Dow’s story, but the whale here reminds me of McCloskey’s whales.  And certainly this whale, with the notch out of one side and a knot in the other side of his tail might be able to use one of Burt’s bandages, or two or three.

image”> Cedar wood grain comes through in interesting ways.[/captio

But of course, this whale could be as friendly and helpful as any of the whales in McCloskey’s story.


p://”> Smile

[/caption]I think the smile on this guy comes across really well.  Of course, whales don’t smile, but if they did, this is what they would look like.”> Cedar wood whale on lake driftwood.[/caption]So,

So, another whale.  This one came out beautifully.  While cedar is not the easiest wood to work with, an acrylic wash has allowed the cedar wood grain to pour through adding another dimension of texture to the piece.  The whale is a stylized blue whale.  The piece about 12 x x 4 without the base.

The base is a piece of lake drift wood.  Some color has been added to give the feel of ocean floor.  The colors seem a bit intense in these photos, but when the piece is sitting on a counter or mantel the colors come through more subtly.  The mounting, at angle, gives the piece a little more movement.  I really like the last picture.  The shadow and light make for a happy face.

This whale is now part of the collection of Mr. Rick Buteyn.


“It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice.”  Proverbs 18:5

#67 Wood carving: Lighthouses and driftwood.

Lighthouse and driftwood, collection of Beth Klompmaker

Visiting family and friends is always a blessing, a good time.  One of the added joys for wood carvers is seeing works that have been gifted or purchased which have been pushed from memory by newer carvings and carving ideas.  This Easter weekend was no different.  The picture above was a driftwood scene I found in my sister-in-laws basement.  I remembered the piece the moment I saw it.

Lighthouse, reverse view

Lighthouse, side view

The first thing carved was the lighthouse itself.  The large size of the driftwood demanded a larger lighthouse carving than I had carved previously.  Once the lighthouse was completed and “tacked” in place the piece called for more.
So, the keeper’s house was next.

Lighthouse and keeper’s house

You will notice that the lighthouse and keeper’s cottage were set into the driftwood.  This a feeling of solidity in the face of a storm.  The setting in process came after both carvings had been completed so that they could be fitted exactly.

Lighthouse, tree and walkway detail

One of the interesting things of which I was reminded when I revisited this carving were the “scrap” trees.  Each tree and clump of trees were carved from basswood scraps.  The driftwood, picked because its gray coloring resembled the rocks of the Atlantic Coast, called for something more along its length.  I was reminded of the pines one finds on in the American Northeast.  I have traveled there with family and have always enjoyed the pines.  So, we added a few pines and pines clusters.

Another view of the “forest”

pine tree clump

You will notice that the pines do not fit into the driftwood like the lighthouse and the cottage.  This adds a bit to the realism of the piece since trees come close to the ground but do not fit neatly as “factory made” trees might.  The added benefit for the viewer are  shadows created by the tree bottoms.

A view “from the forest walkway”

One more feature makes the entire piece.  After the trees were mounted to the driftwood something was needed to tie the entire work together.  Unpainted basswood strips proved to be just the thing.  I had a hand full of thin strips of basswood left over from another project.  These were trimmed down to make the cottage landing, the walk ways, and the stairs.  The light color of the wood provides a nice contrast to the darker driftwood and the green trees.

Map of Michigan lighthouses and the carving

Two last thoughts.  First, you will notice in the final picture how my sister-in-law has augmented the piece with a map of Michigan lighthouses.  The map even has pines and rocks around the lighthouses shown.  Against the white walls the picture and the carving compliment each other well.

Second, since this is a wood carving blog, I will raise a question I often hear or give to others – Is there anything on this piece you would change.  Yes, had I known how great the entire piece would look with the trees and walkways, I would have spent a little more time on detailing the lighthouse and the cottage.  Perhaps more lines for stone or bricks or more work on the windows.   Then again, the work has to be finished sometime.  Enjoy.

“An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends  and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.”  Proverbs 18:1