A “holy” driftwood coffee table

Although the red cedar stumps that I use for my driftwood coffee , dining & foyer tables are found very near the waters of Florida’s Gulf Coast, very seldom do I ever acquire a piece that had actually been in the water for an extended period of time. Especially a driftwood root system that had the right size & shape to make a nice table base. The result of being in the water is a stump that is literally riddled with ship worm holes & that can make for a very unique & interesting driftwood coffee table. The great thing about this one was the added bonus of having some extended limbs that were also holy that I could trim off & use for my necessary support pieces.

Ship worms are not actually worms but marine bivalve molluscs, a group of saltwater clams with long, soft, naked bodies. They are notorious for boring into (and eventually destroying) wood that is immersed in sea water, including such structures as wooden piers, docks and ships; they drill passages by means of a pair of very small shells borne at one end, with which they rasp their way through. Sometimes called “termites of the sea”, they are relentless in their pursuit of somewhere to make their home. In the past they have created a tremendous of damage to wooden hulled ships weakening their structure & making them more susceptible to sinking in a storm or battle. This led to covering the hulls with copper & was even mentioned in a poem by Henry David Thoreau:

The vessel, though her masts be firm,

Beneath her copper bears a worm …

Far from New England’s blustering shore,

New England’s worm her hulk shall bore,

And sink her in the Indian seas …

(excerpted from “Though all the Fates” 1849)

For many this worm is a curse, but for my purposes it is a treasure as these holes are thorough but shallow, thus not weakening the integrity of the table in the least. Although I have a few individual wormy pieces that are part of the collection that I rent for wedding center pieces & are the most requested, this base is only the second one I’ve created in my decades of building driftwood furniture.

wedding driftwood

Below are the images of this table base as it progresses to the point where it now (06/26/2017) sits in my showroom with a 30″ x 54″ racetrack oval glass resting on its surface.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in driftwood & glass tables, driftwood base, driftwood table base, Glass Top Tables, sandblasted coffee tables

Our final port of call-Ketchikan

DSC_3245_tonemappedIt’s time I conclude the final post on our May trip while I can still remember the details. With the continual creating & shipping of my driftwood furniture the keeping up with my journalism endeavors has been sorely neglected. DSC_3247_tonemappedOur final stop before heading back to Vancouver & then home was to the port city of Ketchikan, the southernmost city in Alaska. The excursion that we chose to go on was the spectacular Misty Fjords National Monument, lying just 22 miles east of Ketchikan & is a natural mosaic of sea cliffs, steep fjords and rock walls jutting 3000 ft straight out of the ocean. Extending 2.3 million acres across Tongass National Forest, Misty Fjords is the largest wilderness in Alaska’s national forests and the second largest in the nation.

DSC_3258_tonemappedThere’s 2 ways to experience the beauty of this wilderness-by seaplane or by boat. After reading about a tragic plane accident that took the lives of some Holland America passengers last year, we decided the boat ride was the way we wanted to go.DSC_3390The air was chilly, the skies were crystal clear & the views were breathtaking, including the chance encounter with a small pod of orcas or killer whales. DSC_3328

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For the next couple of hours it was just the wonder of soaking in the splendor of this landscape.DSC_3518_19_20_fused

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DSC_3531A few seals just catching some sun as we all scrambled to take their pictures.

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DSC_3578_tonemappedFinally back to our floating home for the week to board & enjoy one more night before returning to Orlando. A truly remarkable & memorable time to spend with my family & to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation.

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Our Alaskan cruise-Glacier Bay

DSC_2842_tonemappedIn preparing to go on our cruise, I researched & became familiar with what to look forward to on our excursions into Juneau, Skagway & Ketchikan. What I didn’t anticipate was what turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip….our daylong venture into Glacier Bay National Park. As late as the 1700’s the whole of Glacier Bay was choked with ice but by 1879 had retreated almost all the way up the bay, a distance of 48 miles. What was carved out was deep sheltered fjords which has become the highlight of Alaska’s Inside Passage & allows large cruise ships to give it’s passengers a spectacular view of the landscape. Due to the day being so crisp & clear we were able to sit on our balcony & absorb as much as possible.DSC_3196_7_8_fused

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DSC_2994_tonemappedAn adventure boat preparing their guests to kayak for a more intimate view of their surroundings….I was a bit envious of that one.

DSC_2931_tonemappedFinally we approached the end of the bay & for an hour the captain slowly rotated the ship so everyone could take in Margerie Glacier from the comfort of their own balcony.DSC_2842_tonemapped

Margerie Glacier is categorized as a tidewater glacier, one of eleven remaining in the park, with eight in the bay and three on the Pacific Ocean coastal area of the park. A tidewater glacier is one whose terminus encounters seawater at least at high tide, if not at all tide levels. Margerie Glacier and six other glaciers have termini that are fully submerged at all tide levels. It  has a total height of 350 feet of which 250 feet rises above the water level and 100 feet  is beneath the water surface. Like many glaciers it contains moraines which appear as dark areas composed of dirt, stones and larger rocks mixed in with the ice and transported downstream to eventually be ejected from the glacier’s terminus. The glacial ice appears blue as a result of the absorption of red, orange, yellow and green wavelengths of light and, consequently, pools of meltwater on top of the glacier will appear bright blue. It is also one of the most active glaciers for ice calving.  As a glacier calves it makes sounds similar to gunshots from the cracking of the ice and the release of trapped air, then a roaring boom as the ice tumbles down into the sea. The locals refer to this as “white thunder”.DSC_2858

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DSC_2873_tonemappedOne of the lenses for my Nikon is a 150-600mm which is quite heavy to handhold & obtain clear focused images but mounted on a tripod it was ideal for capturing a burst of large sections of ice breaking away from the glacier & splashing into the sea.DSC_3011Resting on the ground was one very large blue ice cube.

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DSC_3165_tonemappedLeaving the bay was a great time for Nikki to enjoy an ice cream cone while I just wanted to kick back & appreciate all that we just had witnessed.

 

Our next & last stop before heading back to Vancouver…..Ketchikan & Misty Fjords National Monument.

 

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Our Alaskan cruise-Skagway

DSC_2587_tonemappedSkagway is a small Alaskan town but is a very popular destination for the cruise ship industry as more than 400 dock there yearly. It’s also home to the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. The railroad was completed in 1900 during the Klondike gold rush days & was the primary means of reaching the goldfields. It climbs 20 miles up 3,000′ of elevation & offers some spectacular views while riding in old vintage rail cars. In between the cars were the platforms that you see in the old western movies & that’s where I perched for the entire trip. It got a bit chilly but it was worth it to capture the scenery as the train slowly made the climb to the top & then back down.

DSC_2599It was a short walk to hop on as the train was parked right outside our balcony.DSC_2250_tonemapped

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DSC_2393_tonemappedAs we approached this old wooden trestle bridge I was a little nervous that we were going over it until I realized it has been abandoned & is now in disrepair.DSC_2418_tonemappedThe top was blanketed in snow, the skies were bright blue & the cool crisp air was magnificent. DSC_2508_tonemapped

DSC_2513A few other souls ventured out on the platforms to take pictures but most of the time I just had to share the small space with Nick.

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DSC_2608_tonemappedBack on board & still taking in the beautiful landscape.

DSC_2641The excursion up this historic pass was a highlight & would definitely recommend it, especially if photography was a passion.

Next up was a slow cruise into Glacier Bay.

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Our Alaskan cruise-part 1

DSC_1691_tonemappedIt wasn’t my intention to take so long to follow up on this part of our adventure, but between the oppressive heat & the need to get a number of orders crated & shipped, I never got around to posting anything new.DSC_1637_tonemappedAfter a very scenic train ride along the coast from Seattle to Vancouver we boarded the m/s Noordam, of the Holland America line. As I believe I mentioned in a previous post, this was the first time for Nikki, Nick & I to be on a cruise ship & needless to say we were impressed by all the amenities & especially the food. It was like being on a 5 star hotel with a constantly changing view from our balcony. I had booked a couple of nice suites, but at the last minute Nick & Alexis surprised us with an upgrade to the deluxe accommodations (now totally spoiled for any future cruises).DSC_2667_8_9_fused

DSC_2693_4_5_tonemappedBetween the 2 suites we had 40′ of balcony to enjoy the inner passage from Vancouver all the way to Alaska so relaxing on deck was quite enjoyable as the sun arose at 5 AM & didn’t set until 10 PM.DSC_1804_tonemapped

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DSC_1956_tonemappedOur first city of departure was Juneau, Alaska’s capitol & accessible only by boat or seaplane. Of the many excursions that were offered, Nikki & I decided to go whale watching & visit the Mendenhall Glacier while Nick & Alexis were more adventuresome & went sea kayaking.DSC_2076_tonemapped

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DSC_2197_tonemapped                                                                                                                                                                                           Mendenhall with the “blue ice” glaciers are known forDSC_2194_tonemappedMendenhall Glacier falls, a 100′ wide rush of water that cascades 300′ from Nugget Creek which in turn is fed by Nugget Glacier. We wanted to make the hike to the foot of the falls but were afraid we wouldn’t get back in time to catch the bus back to our ship.DSC_2204_tonemapped

DSC_2217_tonemappedWas hoping to see some bears but had to settle for a porcupine. At least I could get close without the fear of being mauled.

DSC_2174_tonemappedAlaska has a very large population of eagles, so spotting them was always a treat.DSC_2096_tonemapped

DSC_2219After a little snack of king crab legs it was time to get back on board & set sail for our next port of call…Skagway.

 

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