Quantcast

The Whitest Wood

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Dokkodo

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2017
Messages
207
Reaction score
0
Location
Bristol
I have a piece in which id like to contrast some charred black with a very white white, ideally as plain as possible, turned into simple cylinders with rounded top ends, bottom ends set into the black stuff... its a sculptural thing.

anyway, i was under the impression holly was very white but a friend just brought me a big haul of wood lumps from his brother, a tree surgeon, which included some holly (and some apple, pear, laburnum and walnut! hurray)

however having split the holly its not really that white, and has more going on than i expected, no bad thing but not what im after...

can anyone recommend anything? that i can 'forage' or buy... Ash too broad grained, sycamore might be nice, id put up with some ripples if it was very white... ive never bleached wood but a quick search seems to suggest thats a thing people do...
 

--Tom--

Established Member
Joined
16 Oct 2016
Messages
218
Reaction score
18
Location
Cardiff
How big does it need to be? Tagua nut is very white and works well, but only small sizes available

Holly can be very white but needs to be seasoned carefully to avoid going grey
 

kevinlightfoot

Established Member
Joined
11 Aug 2016
Messages
461
Reaction score
0
Location
Mansfield
I used to bleach a lot of sycamore using oxalic acid but could never get it pure white,it used to have a pinkish tinge.Holly can vary,I have some pear that is quite white but it does tend to split if not dried very carefully.
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,493
Reaction score
317
Location
Pembrokeshire
I think for Holly to be pure white it needs to be steamed as soon as it's cut down otherwise it goes a funny grey and green colour when it dries out. Not sure if I have that right though, it seems to be something that got lodged at the back of my head.

I think your closest second for whiteness may be maple or sycamore, possibly even aspen which can be very white but isn't the most pleasant stuff to work with. The only problem is that these "white" timbers will go fairly yellow once a finish is applied anyway, and in a few years time they'll yellow even more from sunlight, but perhaps contrasting with something that's jet black you won't notice it too much.
 

Blackswanwood

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2018
Messages
584
Reaction score
127
Location
North Yorkshire
Dokkodo":37bbg9t7 said:
I have a piece in which id like to contrast some charred black with a very white white, ideally as plain as possible, turned into simple cylinders with rounded top ends, bottom ends set into the black stuff... its a sculptural thing.

anyway, i was under the impression holly was very white but a friend just brought me a big haul of wood lumps from his brother, a tree surgeon, which included some holly (and some apple, pear, laburnum and walnut! hurray)

however having split the holly its not really that white, and has more going on than i expected, no bad thing but not what im after...

can anyone recommend anything? that i can 'forage' or buy... Ash too broad grained, sycamore might be nice, id put up with some ripples if it was very white... ive never bleached wood but a quick search seems to suggest thats a thing people do...
Holly needs to be cut in winter and go straight in the kiln to dry to increase the chances of it being white. I would give Exotic Hardwoods a call and see if they have any suggestions.
 

ED65

Established Member
Joined
3 Dec 2015
Messages
3,593
Reaction score
0
Dokkodo":1540defi said:
ive never bleached wood but a quick search seems to suggest thats a thing people do...
That's exactly what I came into the forum to suggest when I saw the thread title in the board index as it allows the use of woods that you can A, get more easily and cheaply, and B, are larger than available from stuff that's naturally white/off white.

You don't use oxalic for this, that's not what it's for. You may get some bleaching using common household bleach but as you'll see from guides online for the full-on effect you need to use two-part or A+B bleach, which uses a combination of caustic and peroxide.

Poplar, maples and sycamore are good candidates naturally since they can be so light to begin with, but I've seen oak bleached to a bone-white colour and American black walnut taken to a pale greige so that degree of colour change is achievable. So possibly nearly any close-grained wood might be a contender. Obviously you need to pick your finish with care, even the palest shellac adds a smidge of yellowness that may be noticeable.
 

Lons

Established Member
Joined
14 Feb 2010
Messages
7,243
Reaction score
65
Location
Northumberland
I used sycamore for the base of a polar bear carving and bleached it using standard peroxide hair bleach. It isn't flat as I wanted a slight ripple effect to simulate an ice flow and it was excellent but that was 20 years ago and it's yellowed a bit over the years, still looks ok though.
 

treeturner123

Established Member
Joined
12 Jan 2009
Messages
376
Reaction score
3
Location
Worcestershire
Hi

You might find, if you only need a small amount, that Box would do well. It is after all very nice to turn and takes a really good finish

Phil
 

Robbo3

Established Member
Joined
28 Jan 2012
Messages
1,928
Reaction score
30
Location
Oxfordshire
I read years ago that holly has to be stored upright to stop it discolouring. That advice has always worked for me with the few bits of holly that I've had.
There are also man made materials, alternative ivory being one.
I've just been given some fresh felled sycamore but it's a bit of a journey for you to collect if you wanted some.
 

CHJ

Established Member
Joined
31 Dec 2004
Messages
20,073
Reaction score
37
Location
Cotswolds UK
Ivy, if you turn it 'green' stays white and stable. Store to dry out and it is likely to turn to rubbish.
 

Lons

Established Member
Joined
14 Feb 2010
Messages
7,243
Reaction score
65
Location
Northumberland
Came across this by accident today which confirms 2 part bleach is what you need.

BTW I've just finished a couple of simple carvings in lime which I wanted to keep as light as possible, didn't want to bleach but I applied a couple of thin coats of Osmo raw, denibbed with a scotchbrite pad and then waxed lightly with microcrystaline wax and I'm quite pleased with the result. I'll take a couple of pics and post in the relevant place.
 

Attachments

Dokkodo

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2017
Messages
207
Reaction score
0
Location
Bristol
Wow what a bounty of information thanks all, sorry I’ve been too busy eating cheese to check for replies!

Good to know there was some basis for my beliefs about holly, so my piece just wasn’t prepped right. Funny that being stored upright might be a thing!

I have some field maple that came with the holly but that’s quite orangey in places after exposure. I’ll see if I can find some sycamore or maple and maybe do some bleach experiments, will post my results

Cheers all! :ho2
 

KimG

Little Woodworm
Joined
2 Jul 2012
Messages
1,083
Reaction score
3
Location
Pembs
CHJ":1d6f90kf said:
Ivy, if you turn it 'green' stays white and stable. Store to dry out and it is likely to turn to rubbish.
That's a very interesting piece of info Chas, I never knew that one. Cheers!
 

Latest posts

Top