Historic Wood

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tv68

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Any recommendations for reliable sources of historic wood/blanks? I’ve seen a few sites claiming to have them, but it’s hard to tell what’s legit. Thanks in advance.
 
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hokie

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I've always been kind of amused by dealers that sell wood of historical or popular importance. While I don't have reason to believe they aren't selling something legit, the little printed out pieces of paper that pose as a "certificate of authenticity" always crack me up. Short of there being some evidence the wood was associated with the place (like familiar paint or markings on the actual wood), I don't feel confident buying it.
I recently visited Easter Island and I bought some wood from a woodworker there. I took half a dozen pics of the guy milling my boards so that I have at least *something* to point to if I ever wanted to sell a blank or a finished pen.
 

tv68

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I've always been kind of amused by dealers that sell wood of historical or popular importance. While I don't have reason to believe they aren't selling something legit, the little printed out pieces of paper that pose as a "certificate of authenticity" always crack me up. Short of there being some evidence the wood was associated with the place (like familiar paint or markings on the actual wood), I don't feel confident buying it.
I recently visited Easter Island and I bought some wood from a woodworker there. I took half a dozen pics of the guy milling my boards so that I have at least *something* to point to if I ever wanted to sell a blank or a finished pen.
Yeah, I’ve thought the exact same thing about the COAs. Obviously the only way to know for sure is to go to the source as you did. As a next best option though, I was hoping to find a reputable vendor that offers them. Maybe wishful thinking?
 

chartle

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You can try this FaceBook Group Historical Wood Blanks & More There are vendors there that I guess the best I can say have the best reputation among the group.

But many ask on FB and even here "Where can I get a COA for X?" and the best answer is your own printer. Add a hologram if you like or even think getting the COA notarized adds some value. 😏

IMHO I think in the end a COA is an interesting story about where the wood came from thats nice to share.
 
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I've gotten a lot of WWII Battleship wood pieces by contacting the museum attached to them. They keep pieces of the decking during various renovations. These are legit places and are easily traced for authenticity. I have seen one of the sites you're talking about and they were trying to sell wood off the Arizona which, from what I understand, is illegal. So it's a "Buyer Beware" thing.
 

Woodchipper

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Because the majority of the crew is still on board ship, the Arizona will never be decommissioned. If they get the wood, they would have to use scuba gear.
BTW, I have some wood from Noah's ark. You would need to clean off the animal do-do before turning. Dulls the tools and requires good ventilation.😂
 
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Because the majority of the crew is still on board ship, the Arizona will never be decommissioned. If they get the wood, they would have to use scuba gear.
BTW, I have some wood from Noah's ark. You would need to clean off the animal do-do before turning. Dulls the tools and requires good ventilation.😂
The way I understand it, if they catch a SCUBA diver near the ship the diver could get shot and for sure if caught a healthy prison term. The guy selling the decking was probably looking for a foreign market who doesn't understand the situation.

REALLY!!!! You have a piece of the Ark. Send me your paypal info and I'll get you paid right away 😂 😂 😂
 

leehljp

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In the end, it is trust in the reputation of the seller that is important. FB is a good place to find reputable ones, but even then google that person for reviews and see what comes up.

The problem with "First Impressions" (from the phrase "first impressions are lasting impressions") > A person will continue to believe the first thing he hears about a person or thing even when confronted with direct evidence to the contrary. LOOK at the EVIDENCE, not your feeling!
 

DrD

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Because the majority of the crew is still on board ship, the Arizona will never be decommissioned. If they get the wood, they would have to use scuba gear.
BTW, I have some wood from Noah's ark. You would need to clean off the animal do-do before turning. Dulls the tools and requires good ventilation.😂
I would be interested ONLY if you have appropriate authentication signed by both God and Noah.
 

Tilt

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Greenbrier, Tennessee
The only historical wood I have is a couple of 1 foot ends of the beams from the old Union Station in Downtown Nashville. If I hadn't have gotten them myself I would not have believed it. I have bought "historical wood" and found out it isn't. Craft show critters.....
 
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The only historical wood I have is a couple of 1 foot ends of the beams from the old Union Station in Downtown Nashville. If I hadn't have gotten them myself I would not have believed it. I have bought "historical wood" and found out it isn't. Craft show critters.....
One thing I have found out about buying historic wood is that it's very hard, normally, for the person or museum to part with. I have a piece off a Battleship that took me two years to get. Lots of emails and a small donation to the ships museum, I had several that were like this but maybe didn't take that long to get. I did get lucky with the Missouri and was able to buy the last plank off the ship. It won't be refitted for probably another 20 years or more. Wasn't cheap but I know have it.
 

penicillin

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I have some of the dated Irish bog oak that appears for sale on this website (penturners.org) every once in a while. I also bought some from the same seller via eBay. The certificate that comes with it is a full page lab report, not suitable to give to a pen recipient.

I wrote and printed my own certificates with a clover border, an Irish Claddagh symbol, and text. Despite my best efforts, I could never be absolutely sure that the symbols I copied were truly free to use and not pirated, so I won't post them here. Here is the text I wrote, which I release to the public domain. Feel free to edit, plagiarize, or steal all the credit.

"This pen was made with ancient bog oak from Ireland, a rare, limited resource. An acorn sprouted 6,500 years ago. It grew into a mighty oak. While it lived, humans were in the earliest stages of developing agriculture. After it died, the oak tree fell into a peat bog. Plants, moss, and swampy water covered the oak and preserved it, beginning the first stages of fossilization. Tannins disolved in the acidic water darkened the wood over the millennia. The wood in your pen was dated by matching the tree ring spacing with known, dated trees. Treasure your pen. It took 6,500 years to make!"
 

tv68

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I have some of the dated Irish bog oak that appears for sale on this website (penturners.org) every once in a while. I also bought some from the same seller via eBay. The certificate that comes with it is a full page lab report, not suitable to give to a pen recipient.

I wrote and printed my own certificates with a clover border, an Irish Claddagh symbol, and text. Despite my best efforts, I could never be absolutely sure that the symbols I copied were truly free to use and not pirated, so I won't post them here. Here is the text I wrote, which I release to the public domain. Feel free to edit, plagiarize, or steal all the credit.

"This pen was made with ancient bog oak from Ireland, a rare, limited resource. An acorn sprouted 6,500 years ago. It grew into a mighty oak. While it lived, humans were in the earliest stages of developing agriculture. After it died, the oak tree fell into a peat bog. Plants, moss, and swampy water covered the oak and preserved it, beginning the first stages of fossilization. Tannins disolved in the acidic water darkened the wood over the millennia. The wood in your pen was dated by matching the tree ring spacing with known, dated trees. Treasure your pen. It took 6,500 years to make!"
Well said! Your description does a great job of explaining what makes the wood so unique (which I’d assume translates to more customer interest).

Out of curiosity, should woods such as this (or older woods in general) be stabilized in some way? I’d hate to pay a premium for it only to end up with blowouts on every blank.
 

penicillin

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Well said! Your description does a great job of explaining what makes the wood so unique (which I’d assume translates to more customer interest).

Out of curiosity, should woods such as this (or older woods in general) be stabilized in some way? I’d hate to pay a premium for it only to end up with blowouts on every blank.
Thank you. I have no customers, only gift recipients. I view certificates the same way you do - something that enhances the pen for the recipient.

For my needs, I am less concerned about authenticity, so I am willing to accept claimed sources on face value. It doesn't really matter if the beautiful olive wood in that pen really comes from Bethlehem as long as I have made a good faith, reasonable effort. Within the limits of web research, I have to trust the blank seller. That's good enough for me and the recipient. These won't be going to the Smithsonian.

I did not stabilize the 6500 year old Irish bog oak that I bought and it turned okay. The wood was very dry and very brittle, so I took time and care to turn it. There were minor chip outs to fill on an early pen, but I learned from it, and was more careful after that. I kept my tools extra sharp and was very gentle when turning, but they always say that.

I cannot speak about the need for stabilization for other "special" woods.

-> To return the thread to the original topic, I believe that the thread is centered around woods that come from historic sources and famous places, like historic Navy ships, famous homes and buildings, old sports arenas, stuff like that.
 

Woodchipper

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DrD, I didn't think you were that old.
Yes, the topic is historical wood. I'm thinking that historical wood can also be termed as memorable wood. For instance, cutting a dead tree that you used to play under on Grandpa's farm. I was working with a friend to install a new electrical panel. I got about a half dozen of the old square nails from the house. Nothing special but great to show the grandkids.
 

leehljp

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Without naming places, my ever thinking eldest daughter toured a famous landmark house of one of our nations founding fathers with many old trees around it. She noticed a crew of 5 or 6 men doing a clean up of the area after a rain/wind storm. She walked out and asked them what they were going to do with the limbs, some 2 to 3 inches in diameter. They said "burn it". She got a limb and brought it home and asked me to make a pen from it, several actually.

No way to document that if I were to sell it, but for her and her own sake she can say that it came from . . . and probably . . . planted it, or it was there when he was president.

That said, one famous congressman lived in a particular house as a child (and it is documented) - I had a relative that lived in that house until 2010 when he passed away. I got several gnarly limbs from an old tree in the yard and made pens from it. A couple of my hometown elders who knew the man were happy to have those pens - from a tree that the famous congressman played under as a child.

Any some cases, newspaper articles can document the historicity, but only forensic can truly establish if it is or isn't.
 

tv68

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Thank you. I have no customers, only gift recipients. I view certificates the same way you do - something that enhances the pen for the recipient.

For my needs, I am less concerned about authenticity, so I am willing to accept claimed sources on face value. It doesn't really matter if the beautiful olive wood in that pen really comes from Bethlehem as long as I have made a good faith, reasonable effort. Within the limits of web research, I have to trust the blank seller. That's good enough for me and the recipient. These won't be going to the Smithsonian.

I did not stabilize the 6500 year old Irish bog oak that I bought and it turned okay. The wood was very dry and very brittle, so I took time and care to turn it. There were minor chip outs to fill on an early pen, but I learned from it, and was more careful after that. I kept my tools extra sharp and was very gentle when turning, but they always say that.

I cannot speak about the need for stabilization for other "special" woods.

-> To return the thread to the original topic, I believe that the thread is centered around woods that come from historic sources and famous places, like historic Navy ships, famous homes and buildings, old sports arenas, stuff like that.
Agreed..due diligence is about as much as you can do when purchasing this sort of thing. Find a respected vendor that seems trustworthy and hope for the best.

Yeah, I figured stabilizing would be a pain. Hey, all the better if it can be turned as-is with just a little extra care!
 

tv68

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Without naming places, my ever thinking eldest daughter toured a famous landmark house of one of our nations founding fathers with many old trees around it. She noticed a crew of 5 or 6 men doing a clean up of the area after a rain/wind storm. She walked out and asked them what they were going to do with the limbs, some 2 to 3 inches in diameter. They said "burn it". She got a limb and brought it home and asked me to make a pen from it, several actually.

No way to document that if I were to sell it, but for her and her own sake she can say that it came from . . . and probably . . . planted it, or it was there when he was president.

That said, one famous congressman lived in a particular house as a child (and it is documented) - I had a relative that lived in that house until 2010 when he passed away. I got several gnarly limbs from an old tree in the yard and made pens from it. A couple of my hometown elders who knew the man were happy to have those pens - from a tree that the famous congressman played under as a child.

Any some cases, newspaper articles can document the historicity, but only forensic can truly establish if it is or isn't.
Talk about being at the right place at the right time. :) That’s definitely the way to go, straight to the source.
 

MTViper

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Clyde, Texas
The only historic wood I have is from an oak tree that my brothers and I climbed when we were kids. It died and blew down so we cut it up and I've made a dozen or so pens for family members and a gavel and striker plate for my brother the County judge. I don't sell any of it, but give away a lot. And since we climbed the tree, cut it up, and I turned it, I can testify to its authenticity. I did put a slip of paper in the pens I gave to the next generation explaining where the wood came from.
 

penicillin

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I try to incorporate fond memories into projects for family members. I made several pens for my siblings and other family members from my parents' old pecan china cabinet. (I have more projects in mind for the wood from that cabinet.) Last year, I turned a baby rattle for our newest family member. The number of ball bearings inside each end match the birth years of my parents, the recipient's great-grandparents.

There is nothing special about them, other than to the recipients.

... You get the idea.
 
Joined
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One of the other types of wood I try to get is wood that has meaning to someone. I've been able to get pieces from tree's that came from different family homes that have either been sold, burned up in California fires, and wood from Pomegranate trees that started with the family planting them back in the 1920's. Are they historic? No. But they have meaning to family members and they enjoy getting the gifts that I make from them. The best one I ever did was for my mother and father in law. As I've mentioned in the past, my father in law was my mentor for wood working and before we sold their home and moved them to a retirement community I was allowed to finish his last turning project which was a candy jar from a piece of Camphor wood. The wood held some very sentimental feelings for my wife's family. I also had the privilege to sell all his tools as he had requested because he knew "You won't give them away". And I didn't and everyone was happy with the sale. I did keep his 4'x8' tool board as it also had sentimental value for my wife which my father in law gave to me for selling his tools.
 

howsitwork

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Jul 9, 2016
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Thirsk
Well i’ve mad3 some from lignum vitae came from my grandfathers green bowling balls an he died 40 years back at 80. they must be from a 200 year old tree counting rings . Just a momento for family to remember him by
 
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