DIY driftwood - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-10-2014, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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DIY driftwood

I'm starting the project today. I found a great piece on a nature trail. Don't tell anybody...but I took it. Lol. I'll do the cutting later and post pics along the way as I cure it. Never done it before so any advice would help. I'm trying to fit the entire trunk into a 35"long x 18" x19" deep tank. 55g breeder.


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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-10-2014, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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First cut...


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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-10-2014, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Almost there...


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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 12:04 AM
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Looks like a winner to me. It should have no tannins or sap left to bother you. It will want to float so you will have to deal with that but you probably had thought of that.
Many people can't see dry from slightly dry but you have done well on that point. All the signs of totally, truly, dry wood are there. For those not up on choosing wood, this is a good example of what you want to look over.
The bark is totally gone a long time ago. See those grooves in the wood? Those are where various bugs tunneled under the bark which is now gone. Where the end is cut off gives you a chance to look inside. The almost uniform color from outside to inside layers shows you the sap has dried almost 100%. You may have found some minor color difference where you cut off the root section but not anything to worry. Knots and roots do seem to dry slower. The cracks in the wood show up when wood dries.
This wood that was ready and waiting for somebody to drag it home!
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I almost tripped over it while walking a nature trail with the kids. My eyes got big and I told my girls it's perfect. Good to know I was right. No signs of rotting on the cuts, just pretty, white rings. The bark is mostly gone. I'll remove the rest tonight and begin the soak. My only concern is the piece came from Galveston Bay(saltwater). I'm not sure but I believe it will be fine once soaked. I also assume soaking will waterlog it enough to sink. I don't have a backup plan if it still floats. If nothing else, I could strap a stainless weight under the sand.


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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Beginning the soak. Tap water for right now. After a few hours I'll remove any bark or debris.


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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 01:51 AM
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How the heck did you carry that home!
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 02:17 AM
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Not to worry about the salt water. Many meds are salt based.
Different folks have different feelings but for my use, I would add a half cup or so of bleach to the soak. Bleach will react with any oil, etc. the wood might have found in the bay. Recent oil spills any where close? I just like to start by knowing I have a clean plate! Then if something should show up a week or so down the line, I can at least know it is not the wood or something on/ in it. I find it much easier to avoid trouble than to fix it!

For the chlorine worries you might read about, it is simple. Just soak overnight or so and when done pull it out, rinse it to dilute any chlorine left and let it dry good. The remaining chlorine will have gassed off when the wood is dry. When you can't smell chlorine any more, it is gone. Quick, easy , cheap insurance against anything that might be on/ in the wood.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Recent oil spills any where close?

Lol. They dumped 170,000 gallons of fuel oil in the bay at the start of fishing season this year. Barge accident I think. Thanks for the tip. I'll be using bleach on it now. As for carrying it, I read somewhere that a good piece should be surprisingly lightweight. It really was.


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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Soaked overnight. PlantedRich was right. No noticeable tannins in the water. It looks like weeks/months may turn into days/hours. I didn't remove the debris last night so I'll brush it off today and use bleach solution to finish it off.


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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 03:13 PM
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The light weight is a part I failed to mention. Most of the weight in wood is the moisture. Next time you are in a lumber yard, check the weight of a treated 2X4 compared to a kiln dried normal one.
One point that is often missed is the drying. If it takes years for wood to dry, how long does it take for it to soak up? Not near as long as you can keep it soaking 24/7 but it is still a slow process when we wanted to use it yesterday! I find I have more rocks than patience.
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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All the bark is scraped. This is the mockup of what I'm looking for. Since I soaked overnight and I didn't see any tannins in the water, I assume the piece is ready. But, to be on the safe side, I'll soak it a little longer.


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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 06:10 PM
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Likelyit will give you a hard time sinking unless you just let it soak till your ready to use it because for it to be heavier than the water the soaking needs to be all the way through it competely.
Did you plan for the top to stick out of the water ? Looks to be about 24" from the floor to the top. Just curiosity mind you as I am tinkering/w an idea of having a piece
or two stick up in a new tank I'm planning. Found out that regular baby tears if placed at the water level wil grow just fine that way without the roots being in the sub and
it will cling to whatever you put it up against left long enough. The leaves of the part which is out of the water are very small like dwarf baby tears.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Got it done. I did have more rocks than patience. It worked out great. I'm sure I'll rescape the tank but it works for now.


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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Another pic


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