Sunday, June 21, 2015

New life for a branch of beetle killed pine,

Pine Wood Ring   David is making himself a ring right now as a side project. I'm calling it his '48 Acre' Touch Wood Ring.  It's made of bug killed pine from our own property. 
David wears a size 13 1/2.  He's tapering his ring and it features a 'galaxy' knot. He swears by a tapered ring for comfort.

I thought it would be fun to share a few pics of this ring as a work in progress, then when it's complete, I'll come back and update with final pics. The grain and figure in wood deepens and intensifies through the sanding, shaping and finishing processes.

'Bug killed pine' is the blue stained wood sometimes called Blue Pine, Denim Pine or Beetle killed pine.

And here, as promised, are some pics of David's finished Denim Pine Wood Ring

"The current outbreak of The Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic in BC started in the early 1990's. Today the Mountain Pine Beetle occurs well beyond its historic range, extending into northern British Columbia and eastward in the boreal forest of north-central Alberta. Not just limiting itself to lodgepole pine any longer, the beetle is also reproducing in jack pine, the dominant pine species of the boreal forest." 1 source NRC

Six years ago, David wrote a blog documenting the sustainable harvesting of the dead and dying pine on our own property.
You wouldn't necessarily know it from reading my 'zippety do dah' posts, but our remote off grid lifestyle requires a good deal of grunt work.  Living here is worth every minute of the hard work required. I'm just saying I don't talk about it much.

David's blog is called Racing Ants It's a good read; full of intelligent, thoughtful commentary.  He talks about all sorts of things;  road building, fencing, sustainable logging, forest health, and it's chock full of photos too.  It's a great record of some of the hard work that happens to keep our 48 acres singing.  

And so ... as a bit of background to the bug killed pine that is getting another life as a wooden ring, here is David's introductory post on Racing Ants.  It was written June 5th, 2009. 

Chapter 1

In the beginning . . . there were ants

It's a busy time of year when spring finally emerges from the frosty nights and blustery days. Every project that winter inspired becomes more urgent as the short summer approaches and setting our priorities becomes paramount. Thank goodness our talented lead hand is also patient as we jump from one job to the next and he struggles to divide his time into our list of wants.

This is the year we have to deal with the considerable amount of bug killed pine that peppers our little forest. The trees are standing dead, but just barely standing, as root rot and ant colonies conspire to fall them before we do. We have to be very careful and keep our wits about us because they will sometimes fall without provocation . . . unnerving and dangerous . . . and the sound of wind is a warning to make your way to a clearing . . . heads up!

The Pine Beetles that eat the Cambrian layer and kill the tree, cause a stain that penetrates the tree for several inches in some cases. This stained wood when sawn produces a spectacular show of blue grey wood mixed with the typical white pine. The stain does not appear to fade or run so the wood can be finished to enhance this natural beauty. We have been burning this wood in the home fires while lamenting the destruction of these beautiful trees and the huge waste of potential lumber and wood products that are falling all around us. This winter we decided to do something to at least deal with the trees on our own land, so we bought a four head Logosol planer to add some value to the rough sawn lumber that is commonplace here. . .

Planing our lumber is the final step in the production process . . . first we had to acquire all the support machinery that is needed to produce the rough lumber for the planer and to selectively log the trees and haul them to the mill, and clean up the branches and remove the stumps and build the roads etc etc. Also we had to provide shelter for the machinery and store the final product. This will be a record of how all that is coming together . . .

For the rest of the story, visit David's sustainable logging blog at and check back here at the end of the month for some finished pics of his '48 Acre Ring'.

David and I are old school readers ~ the idea of reading a blog from the latest entry backwards never feels quite right.  There is a sense of order in starting at the beginning :)  on that note, here are chapter by chapter links for Racing Ants.

Chapter 1 
Chapter 2    
Chapter 3 
Chapter 4 
Chapter 5 
Chapter 6 
Chapter 7 
Chapter 8 

As always ~ thanks so much for dropping by!