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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Nerang Queensland
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    Default Very Old Piece of Wood

    During drilling operations for the construction site I am curerently working on they discovered some wood in the cores, from 30m down. It was next to some old river bed gravels, not sure how old it is. Our geotechnical guys say around 100,000 years old (but then they say plus or minus 100,000 years!!). Mt Warning was formed millions of years ago around here and back then the old rivers were covererd with lava flows and new rivers formed, so it may be even older.

    Anyway, it is 50mm dia and about 5-10mm thick, relatively soft and black (too dark to show any detail in photo). The grain is visible, just, and looks good. There are also some smaller pieces that broke off when the took it out of the core - it would have been originally 25mm thick.

    I know of Bog-Oak from Europe, that is up to 10,000 years old. Then there is brown and black coal, and of course diamonds, but they are really really old.

    My question is, can it be dried successfully without falling apart? I can stabilise with CA, but surely I have to wait until it's dry first? I'll love to use it, if nothing else, just for the novelty.

    Thanks for the thoughts.
    Neil
    ____________________________________________
    Every day presents an opportunity to learn something new

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Blue Mountains NSW Australia
    Posts
    592

    Default

    You might like to try contacting staff at one of the major musems for advice. I know that there are a few tricks to keep such things intact. I would think it will probably self destruct unless treated properly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Outer Melb SE suburb, Vic
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    50
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    4,156

    Default

    Gday Neil

    You could try some oxalic acid to get rid of that nasty black dead wood...


    Cheers..................Sean


    The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Stratford, New Zealand
    Age
    57
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    735

    Default

    I've seen wood that was dated at ~ 3million years. Kauri recoved from a coal seam. It wasn't workable, but it was definately wood.
    I've got some kauri thats ~50,000 years old, it's perfectly workable and very stable.
    I've also picked up some stray bits that sound similar to yours from the bottom of beach cliffs where it had been burried maybe 50m below ground. While it's a bit brittle and I haven't tried to work it in any way it's still in one piece. Dont know how old that piece is, but if was that deep underground it wasn't buried yesterday.
    I think just let it dry out and see what happens :confused:

    Cheers

    Ian

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Westleigh, Sydney
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    73
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    8,901

    Default

    Check the museum or archaeology dept at the Uni. I think if you just let it dry out it will probably crumble. I may be possible to stabilise it with PEG (polyethylglysomething), but they'll give you the good oil.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    .
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexS
    , but they'll give you the good oil.
    So he can use the oil on the stick?

    Al :confused:

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Oberon, NSW
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    Default

    When I worked in the open cut, there were often humongous trees preserved in amazing detail in the coal face. All made of coal, of course, and they'd just crumble away to dust after a few days exposure to the elements.

    But being both a long-time woodie and rock-hound, they had a fascination for me... many's the time the foreman came down to give me a blast 'cos I "took too long cleaning my dozers' tracks."

    Just as well I wasn't a turner back then... it'd be awful hard to explain just why my lathe was covered in coal dust.
    I may be weird, but I'm saving up to become eccentric.

    - Andy Mc (AKA "Ghost who posts." )

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Broome West Aussie
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    62
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    3,683

    Default

    Smart thing would be NOT to try to turn it :eek: ... just my thoughts

    Ive found some great opalite and bits of ancient trees out in the desert at the mine while wandering around in the mullock dumps... yeah yeah forman and shiftboss had a chocolate fit yellin an screamin about "not allowed to take personal standdowns" "should be at work not muckin about wanderin all over the place" and other such nonscence but thats per normal... me I love wanderin around checking out rocks and such... good fun and breaks the tedium
    Believe me there IS life beyond marriage!!! Relax breathe and smile learn to laugh again from the heart so it reaches the eyes!!


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
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    Default

    It will definitely disintegrate unless it is treated.

    If you already have it out in the open I would immediately place it in some polyethlyene glycol (PEG) and leave it there until you can get some professional advice about it. My understanding is you let it soak in PEG for a year or so and change the PEG every few months, this will replace the water in the wood structure with PEG, then when you dry it out some of the EG stays behind and stops the wood from disintegrating. Unfortunately it will leave the wood slight tacky. Anyway seek pro advice if you are interested in doing this to have a lasting piece.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Nerang Queensland
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    Default

    Thanks for the advise, I think I will contact the museum. I have it sealed in plastic in a dark corner of my office at the moment. Being impatient, I can't wait too long, but agree it will probably disintegrate if I leave it to dry out alone.

    I have quite a few little pieces, so I have the opportunity to try a few different things.
    Neil
    ____________________________________________
    Every day presents an opportunity to learn something new

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    317

    Default

    Why don't you try getting ahold of these folks: http://www.ancientwood.com/

    They've been drying 50K yr old Kauri for a long time so I'm betting they'd know how to do it if anyone.

    I have 2 pieces of that Kauri waiting to become something, and it didn't disintigrate.

    Paul

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