Thursday, 11 November 2010

Timber I.D

The question I seem to get asked the most when I make something for somebody or do a bit of demonstrating at the local country park, is 'what wood is it made out of'. With this in mind I decided to come up with a system of identifying timber for the benefit of the recipient. The symbols below are Runes that I chose because they are almost all straight lines and thus quick and easy to discretely carve on the back of my work As it states, this is just my own system and does not relate to the real meaning of Runes, which I know nothing about. I know I am not re-inventing the wheel here, but thought it may be of interest to other folk. Here are some examples of the carved symbols on finished work. I use the point of my frosts carving knife to carve these, choked right up to within an inch to afford close control. Draw the lines in pencil and come in either side with angled cuts to form the line. I sometimes give engraving definition by smudging in ground coffee before oiling.

The last time I demonstrated, I made some of these timber discs to help folk identify timber. they are sanded and treated with sanding sealer to help preserve the colour a little longer. I did have quite a few more but they seemed very popular and folk kept blagging them off me- presumably for coasters. They have labels on the back to identify the species but I won't publish pics of the reverse sides for a few days so you can test your knowledge. Unfortunately the pics aren't very good as it has been really overcast here today.

Cheers for now, John


  1. Hi John i think it`s a brilliant idea.

  2. Hi, John, and it´s not so far away from the original carving of runes as you might think! They have straight lines, because they were mostly carved on wood, bone and stone. They were used for marking, for dealing and notifying, even for graffitis (I was here, on a stone masonry lion in Istanbul). The would-be sacral use can be found on gravestones (Stone of Rök, Sweden) and maybe weapons (Seax of Beothnoth, Thames-Seax), but that´s not so sure, and for casting (known through Tacitus).

    Your Futhorc is of the Anglo-Saxon variety.

    I use runes myself for marking my knives and engraving, but I use the Old Norse Futhark.

    Nice to see other people doing so, either. ;-)

    Great work, too!!!

  3. Thanks for feedback guys and further information on runes-much appreciated.