We were having a discussion about how long it takes to have a finished piece. For a harvesting project, the growing time can be anyway from 3 to 6 months or as long as the project needs until it looks right. The necklace that I am wearing was grown in 2003. We allowed six months of drying time, and then we removed the bark and oiled it
When we designed this neckpiece, we decided to use a gem that Pete’s father Keith had originally found and cut. This stone came from Mt surprise, it’s a 46ct natural blue topaz. The gem was grown in as an inclusion for the neckpiece.
This particular photo was taken in June of 2005. I had been trying to describe this to someone on a forum that I visit. I have been meaning to have a nice photo taken of it and put it up on our website. I just haven’t got around to it.
Really there are many things that can be grown in one or two seasons. It’s a matter of thinking on a small scale and looking at the things that you use in day-to-day life. For example, I have been growing some hand mirrors. These will be ready for harvest soon, and I am looking forward to drying and finishing them.
This chair was planted in 1998. We harvested it this winter of 2008.
We have been having some issues with the drying of our pieces. Our pieces have some cracking occurring. This doesn’t affect the strength of the piece as all the cracks flow with the grain of the wood. These cracks may end up being considered like inclusions in gems.
This chair is in our third group of pieces going through the drying process. We believe the major problem has been not getting the trees dried out below our average humidity before we removed the bark for the finishing.
We have a few different ideas about how to achieve our goal of having beautifully finished pieces with no cracking. But until you actually put this into practice it’s all still experimental but I will share one or two of our ideas with you.
The first idea, to move the piece to somewhere where the humidity is a great deal drier than here for a year or two.
Another idea is, after leaving the piece for two or three years to start drying. Then trim the excess length off, once having done that, carve and finish the trimmed parts leaving the bark on the rest of the piece. Then use the piece as intended. Then, in 5 to 10 years’ time, the piece should have completely evened out in its drying. It should now be safe to remove the bark, without the piece cracking. Well, that’s our theory, anyway. I will certainly be letting you know how the different ideas turn out, though it may take a few years before we have turned the theory into practice.
This is a photo of the regrowth from our harvested chair. If we didn’t have so many projects on the grow, we would use this regrowth for a new project. Unfortunately, we don’t have the time or the manpower to take advantage of these lovely shoots.
Well, that’s all for now. Happy growing. Becky