Xylophiles (the Latin word for "wood-lovers") have always understood that wood is alive. Remember when Tess and I peered into that Australian blackwood table top in Bungendore, New South Wales? It was like peering into a dark, deep pool of water that sparkled with mystery. And what about that Sam Maloof rocker I filmed in Palm Desert? You can't watch that clip and tell me that chair isn't alive.
Well, wood artist Keith Skretch found a new way to illustrate the living spirit in wood. Watch and marvel. Thanks to the Woodworking Network and Keith Skretch for sharing.
Waves of Grain from Keith Skretch on Vimeo.
Mr. Skretch tells us that...
"To create this strata-cut animation, I planed down a block of wood one layer at a time, photographing it at each pass. The painstaking process revealed a hidden life and motion in the seemingly static grain of the wood, even as the wood itself was reduced to a mound of sawdust."Stunning result. But it is a trick of the camera, after all, same as the movement of Mickey Mouse across the screen.
But my new friend and Go Wood reader Dr. Ho-Yang Kang of Chungnam National University in Korea sent me some short video clips that really, really, prove that wood is alive, and moves. First, we see a Western hemlock board getting cozy and cuddling up as it dries out under the warm breezes of forced-air drying.
Next, we see a cross-section of soft-hearted softwood begin to crack and shed a tear under the strain of being separated from its log mother.
And finally, we see a white-oak board doing a break dance.
Now, the wood isn't actually moving quite as fast as the videos imply. In fact, each frame of the video is a shot taken at fifteen minute intervals over a period of weeks. So, if you settle down to watch wood dance one evening, it's likely to be as entertaining as watching the proverbial paint dry. But, with patience, Dr. Kang has indeed proven that "Wood is Alive!" and actually does moves on its own.
For those of you who are wondering how that happens, watch future GoWood posts for an upcoming Wood Science 101 post on the wood drying process.