When a tree falls in a moor, swamp, river bank, or a bog, it undergoes several fundamental changes that leads to a new material. So, bogwood, also known as bog-wood, is as a result of structural changes in the woods that have been buried in wet conditions for a long time.
Several regions in different parts of the world have the right conditions to help this changes happen in the structure of the woods. For example, in several parts of central Europe, England, Ireland, Russia, and Ukraine, you can find swamps from the middle ages that are known as a source of bog wood extraction.
It may take hundreds of years or even millennia for a trunk to undergo the process and turn into a bog wood.
This material has several uses and is important for making tools like knife handles, guitars, and tobacco pipes. So, let’s have a deeper look at its characteristics and application.
What is bog wood?
Bog-woods are known as subfossil structures that are found in the river banks, lakes, and so on. They are from up to more than several thousands of years ago. Some trunks that are found in some swamps and river banks are more than 8000 years old.
How does a trunk turn into bog-wood?
Several reactions can change the structure and appearance of woods that from trunk of trees like oak species.
In this process, after the trunk falls into a muddy river bank, swamp, bog, or lake, the tannin acids in the wood begin to react with the salts in the presence of water currents.
As a result of this process, over years, the trunk witnesses a dramatic change in the structure of wood. This finally results in a significant discoloration.
One of the main reasons which helps the formation of bog wood is the absence of oxygen under water.
Tip: Oak wood is one of the common types of wood for burning in a fireplace.
Why the quality of bog logs is not the same?
There are defining factors that are important in this process and have a great impact on the quality of final product.
For example, due to the fact that water current helps iron and other minerals to bind with tannins, its flow can play an important role in the speed of reactions in the process.
Also, the depth of where the trunk is buried has its own special role in the bogwood creation.
How long does it take to transform oak wood?
The required time for bog wood creation varies from one place to another. But, the important note is that the maturated bog wood can last for thousands of years.
For example, the age of bog-woods in Croatia which is found in the Sava river valley age from several hundred years to more than 8000 years. The oldest one retrieved from this region ages nearly 8300 years old.
Another important note is that due to ecological reasons, it is not easy to find two oak wood that are similar in their characteristics.
more product: Satinwood
Is it easy to extract bogwood from bogs?
No, it is not possible to find high-quality bogwood in nature. Especially, when you consider the time and effort that is needed to access under the surface of the lakes and river banks.
They are buried in dark conditions for a long time and their extraction exposes them to the light for the first time.
Where can we find bogwood?
United Kingdom is one of the bog wood producers. It has 3 main species that are oak, yew, and pine. You can extract them in parts of England and Ireland.
Russia is also among the countries that have resources from ancient oak trunks. You can also find bog wood in Ukraine and northern parts of Europe.
Especially, in the places where the right condition is provided for the growth of the oak trees, it is easier to find high-quality bog woods in the swamps.
For example, bog wood found in Serbia and in the valleys of Danube river are very old and age more than 8 thousand years.
Why do we need to process bog wood after extraction?
As a remaining of once living organisms, kept in wet conditions and away from light, bogwood is considered a subfossil material with special characteristics.
Therefore, we need to meticulously dry the bog-wood logs after their extraction. To do this, it is important to use waterproof materials. This prevents them from warping.
Characteristics of bog wood
This product is characterized by its color, various hue, and the direction of rings. Natural staining and differences between the color of each log with others make them quite varied.
Semi-dried logs may have copper or golden color which is mixed with another hue. They are very hard as well. But, other varieties may have darker colors and can be ultimately black. They all have hue variations that is similar to common woods.
Among all variations, dark hues are considered as an ideal choice to be used as construction materials. They are usually used for the manufacturing of planks, veneers, and so on.
The strength and appearance of high-quality bog wood is not easily affected by living organisms. Therefore, they last for years.
Where to use bog woods
Here, we’ve listed several uses of bog-woods in the science and woodworking:
Archaeology and dendrochronology
The records provided by bog woods are old enough to be used in dendrochronology. So, we can Extract it to explore the history of climate and changes in atmospheric conditions by using the information in the rings of logs remaining from old trees.
On the other hand, wooden materials buried in the swamps and bogs are important archaeologically.
To make high-quality furniture, manufacturers can use bog wood for carving or in joinery. Traditionally, bog wood was highly preferred for carving in Scotland.
The shape of this material is aesthetically beautiful. This is one of the main reasons that in some places, it has been used for making ornaments.
For example, in some parts of Europe, it has been used for making the handle of dirks.
In some parts of the world, this wood is still favorable for making craft artifacts. For example, it is a perfect material for carving and making tobacco pipes. As it gives a neutral taste, when you use bog wood tobacco pipes, the scent will be preserved.
In the past, it was used to make bedrooms, thrones, and palaces in Europe.
Today, by using modern techniques for processing, it has become easier to produce large logs for using in construction. For example, it has some uses in the following applications:
- Floor covering
- Window frames
- Aesthetic doors
- Sculpture carving
Also, it’s suitable for being used in high-quality guitars. As it contains more minerals, the final products will become much better in above-mentioned woodworking projects.
Bog woods are remaining materials from trunk of old trees. They are from hundreds of years ago. Some of them are even more than 5000 years old.
Oak tree is one of the main species that is highly prized for its bog-wood. You can find bog logs from oak trunks in the river banks, lakes, swamps, and places that have suitable condition for the trunk to undergo fundamental structural changes.
In this article, we had a look at the main applications of bogwoods, such as in manufacturing furniture, high end guitars, artifacts, knife handles, jewelry, and archaeology.
At the end, several questions are answered:
How much is the mineral content of bogwood?
Over the years, the mineral content of bog log can reach up to more than 10 percent. Structural changes in the trunk of trees in the wet conditions is the main reason that leads to the increase of iron and mineral contents.
Why bog oak is free of tannin?
As tannins in the wood react with the minerals and iron in the water, the final product is free of tannins.
Why bog log is burning resistant?
The processing of the wood will erase the trace of other ingredients. Therefore, it becomes resistant to burning.
Is bog oak a separate oak species?
No, it is just the trunk of oak tree that’s been submerged in a swamp or bog for centuries.
How long does it take for oak wood to fully fossilize?
It may take more than at least 10 thousand years to transform oak wood into proper fossils.
It worth mentioning that bogwood is not fully fossilized. Because, it may take tens of thousands of years for wooden material to become a perfect fossil.
What’s the size of a bog log?
The size of logs varies a lot. While many of them have smaller sizes. Some bog trunks may reach a length if up to more than 10 meters. Their diameter can also reach to more than 1 meter. But, in many cases, the length of logs is even less than one meter.
What happens after discoloration of oak wood?
After discoloration of the oak wood, it becomes darker. The color may range from light grey to deep black. The yellow or brown are also found in the swamps.
But, usually the bog oak color is irregular and quit varied. This is the main reason that it’s not easy to find two log with the same color and hue.
How hard is a bog oak?
It depends on the environmental condition. Also, the age of oak trunk plays an important role in its hardness. The maturation of the bog-wood will increase its hardness. The level of hardness can be as high as the carving will not be possible without using special tools.
What prevents oak trunk from decay?
The lack of oxygen under water is one of the main reasons that prevents oak trunk from decaying.
Can we process all the bog logs?
he desiccation of wood is considered as a complex process. Many extracted logs won’t be suitable to undergo further processing and become a high quality bogwood.
For this reasons, if you want to purchase high quality processed logs, a large amount of money has to be paid.
Can we process raw bog logs by modern techniques?
Yes, after the new advancements in the processing technology, it has become easier to undergo more complex processing methods to obtain a better product.
Can I easily buy bog-wood tobacco pipe?
It’s a very expensive and rare material. So, it is not easy to find high quality bog oak tobacco pipes in the market.