Why is driftwood so dry

Work on driftwood - found! But how do you dry & treat properly?

If you find driftwood, it is logically in the rarest of cases dry. But how do I treat the treasure that I have found?
The new achievement of the walk still needs a little patience before it can be processed.

Here's that
"Wash - dry - lay" program
for driftwood

With a few pieces of advice you will have more of the wood, which is already so heavily stressed by water, sun, sand and weather. But that's exactly what makes the wood so unique!


The woods should not be dried too quickly or too vigorously, as this would cause drying cracks. Wood works and if the change in temperature and humidity occurs too quickly, this increases the formation of cracks. Avoid drying the wood in the blazing sun or on the heater.

You can't believe how much water such a piece of wood can soak up in itself. Then it may be dry on the outside, but it is still fresh on the inside. Before you know it, the once massive plump wood disappears into a tiny, porous piece of wood with cracks. The disappointment is great. So let it dry slowly and evenly. The damp attic or basement is less ideal.

The best thing to do is to spread it out and dry it on newspaper for several days at room temperature. Last time I was paying attention to how long this can take. Wood that was wet through and through dried for over three weeks. Others, which have been washed up for a long time, need a few days. Of course, this is only a very rough guide for small to medium-sized woods. Solid and very large trunks, planks and roots can take several weeks or even months to dry completely.

And what if the wood does crack and the gap is not wanted?

Depending on the crack and the found object, you can try to fill an unwanted gap.

You can mix a mixture of wood glue and sawdust yourself to fill in such areas. If you do not have any chips and possibly no chips of the same type of wood available, there is wood filler / wood putty in various colors of the possible types of wood for such purposes. Also available in every hardware store.


Loose bark is removed. For heavy soiling (algae and mud) I scrub the wood thoroughly with plenty of water. For light soiling, I prefer to roughly tap the wood before it dries and, if necessary, scrub off algae and discoloration with a scrub brush without wetting the wood again. Only after drying does it make sense to completely remove sand from the wood, as the sand sticks all too well to the damp wood. To do this, I simply use a hand brush, a root brush or an old toothbrush to free the wood from sand in the small grooves in the grain. Anyone who has compressed air available to blow off and blow out the wood can certainly consider themselves lucky.


Now you can work the driftwood, YAY!

The following materials and tools are suitable for further processing:

  • Wood rasp to grind even less “chased” areas roughly round
  • Brass wire brush to work out the grain even more. This can be done by hand or by machine with an attachment for the drill. However, the wire brush still leaves fine scratches on hard wood. Therefore always brush nicely in the direction of the grain.
  • Sandpaper for fine work
  • Carving tool / gouge
  • Dremel multifunction tool
  • Angle saw device with precision saw
  • Hot glue gun (glue for indoor use). Outside, the adhesive can come off as soon as the temperature rises.
  • Photo Transfer Potch, to transfer pictures onto wood or to use as a napkin technique
  • Hangers like those found on the back of picture frames
  • Wire / binding wire; depending on the intended use, because the wire also leaves its traces in the sometimes soft wood
  • Bast, hemp yarn
  • Nails
  • (Screw) hooks
  • Hairspray to set color and for a silky shine on the wood
  • Colours
  • Paint. My advice: the wood can breathe / work less because of the applied varnish. The wood is sealed by the varnish and possible moisture can no longer escape.
  • Wood glue; dries wonderfully transparent and will hardly be visible. At this point I would like to add that some glues only for indoor use suitable. in the Outdoor area the glue would possibly dissolve due to the resulting moisture and cause a white surface. Glues are divided into different classes.
    A D1 glue, for example, is only intended for indoor use and furniture construction and everything for outside is built (e.g. windows, winter gardens made of wood or, for example, driftwood sculptures), is glued with a D3 or D4 glue.
  • Linseed oil, olive oil, beeswax balm, to make it more durable and water-resistant for a short time. There are some who like to oil their wood to visually bring out the grain. This is called “cheering”, but has nothing to do with fire and flaming. Personally, I am not a fan of this type of post-treatment; post-treatment with oil may darken the wood very unattractively and can look wet and greasy. The oil penetrates too deeply into the wood fibers and the result is unpredictable. Unless the driftwood you have collected seems to be made of the same wood and you can test the result on one piece beforehand. However, I have not yet had a result that I liked better after oiling and have preferred to leave it since then.

    If you've had a good experience, please let me know and share your experience with us in the comments below!

  • Another option for post-processing is the slight flaming that comes to mind. You can find tools for flaming, instructions including material here in the tutorial. I am thinking of a very low degree of flaming or rather flaming, so that the wood does not get a little dark, but also reduces possible splintering fibers. Although I have no experience with it, I actually like the result very much. I have not flamed myself, but I have often found charred wood that escaped the complete burning of a campfire. A good side effect is that the wood is naturally sealed and durable.


Are you already in the Werkel fever and have not yet found the right driftwood?
Then feel free to contact me and describe the wood as you imagine it to be. Maybe my fund has the right wood ready for you.


But now have fun tinkering!


Have you already built something out of driftwood yourself? Did you already have problems during this time?
Tell me about it in the comments! :)