Ant Hill Blanks!!

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Maverick KB

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Joined
Dec 28, 2015
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161
Location
Huntersville, NC
For the last month or so, we've been working very hard to bring you something new and different. We've recovered some wood from an old Sweet Birch tree on the family farm. The tree was about dead and had a decent looking burl at the base of the trunk. We were not prepared for the ant colony inside the center of the tree trunk. What originally looked like a total loss has turned into something incredible!

With a process that takes nearly two weeks to complete, we've cleaned (pretty sure we removed all the ants and their trash), dried, stabilized and cast the sections of the tree that were full of Ant tunnels! A good bit of the wood was too far gone or completely boring, but we've managed to salvage a fair number of pieces.

Available today, in limited number, you can get your Ant Hill Blanks only at Ant Blanks Are Here!!! - Shed Life


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Woodchipper

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Mar 15, 2017
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Cleveland, TN
Interesting! I saw a video about guys who find unoccupied ant colonies under ground and pour molten aluminum down it to make some most unusual art pieces.
 

Maverick KB

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Joined
Dec 28, 2015
Messages
161
Location
Huntersville, NC
I do quite a bit with ant homes , generally in aspen poplar . Larger items tend to look better .

IAP Home - Photos - My ants and I - Just plain poplar #2 Side 4
IAP Home - Photos - My ants and I - Just plain poplar #1 Side 4


Those are beautiful!!
The larger pieces certainly give much more room for the material. I admit, it's been quite the challenge to find pieces that work well in the size of a pen blank.

It's so hard to find anything that's never been done before. I'm very excited to see your work. While I'm not the least bit shocked I'm not the first to have this idea, I can say that to the best of my knowledge I'm the only one with ant pen blanks.

I must also add how impressive those pieces are. After working with these blanks for the last month or so, I can respect the amount of work it takes to get all the foreign material out of every nook and cranny, remove the material that's too far gone, dry, stabilize, cool and cast... its a lot of work for even the little pieces, and those are beautiful!


http://shedlifellc.com/
 

Skie_M

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Joined
Aug 7, 2015
Messages
2,738
Location
Lawton, Ok
I've got some type of beetle or termite riddled mesquite here that I was thinking of doing the same with, but it's extremely fragile stuff when it's been desiccated by the Oklahoma summer heat for years ... :)


In my case, it's kinda easy to clean it up. It's all dried up in there so anything that was left behind just falls out as dust ...

I cut the blanks on my band saw, and the holes are just everywhere in the heartwood ... was difficult to find parts of the tree that weren't hollowed out to some extent to give myself some solid mesquite blanks.

It was almost heartbreaking to sacrifice a good 4 EXTRA LONG (8 inches or so) solid mesquite blanks (single large blank) to make that mesquite carbide tool handle I gave away for the Birthday Bash. :)

I think I have 8 to 10 pieces that seem solid enough that I can cast them and make something interesting of them. I'll take a nylon bristle brush to them to clean a little more dust out of them before I attempt to cast them in anything, or I may just pack them up and mail them off ... still deciding.

In any case, your blanks look great! :)
 
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