"Found" wood? How to tilt the odds - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 03:44 AM Thread Starter
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"Found" wood? How to tilt the odds

Over the years and moving from state to state several times, I've had to develop some "tricks" to use in finding cheap wood. When internet maps came along it was like a dream come true.
First step for my hunt is to narrow down the search area. I like wood that has been in the water and knocked around for a long time so lakes and rivers are a natural. But just driving to the nearest lake and looking can make a long useless trip. There are ways to cut that down.
First understanding where the most driftwood will wind up is not that hard when you think about it. Almost all areas have a prevailing wind direction. In the United States that is often blowing from the South and West so that more wood will drift to the coves on the Northeast parts of the lake. Think about your area as it may be different winds and that may change where to look. It tends to get in the coves and stay until it gets fully hung up to stay.
But you can do a bit of looking before heading out to a lake.
Googlemaps is great for cutting the search if you are not familiar with the area. First look at the land around the lake. Is it covered in trees and brush? Much better odds if there are trees around to fall into the water! Then really zoom in on some of those coves on the chosen side of the lake to see what is there. Often you can actually see the driftwood piled up on the shore or dead trees standing in the water. Keep in mind what may have happened since the pictures were taken. If there is flooding going on, wait for the water to go down and be assured that the wood you see will not still be in the same place!
So you've found the wood laid up in piles but what else counts? You've got to be able to get to it as well as be able to haul it back up to the car! Roads and parking are almost always up from the water. So look for a place to park and maybe even a path down to the water. At least do some checking on where to park so that you don't rush out there and have to park a mile up the road! Assume that you won't be able to see the wood from the road but go prepped so that you know where you will park and which direction to walk to get to the prime spot you've chosen. You really can cut the odds down a whole bunch if you do a little study first.
This is my favorite wood hunting spot but it will never be found by just driving down the road.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 04:20 AM
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Very nice write-up and great pic! I found a good piece myself but have been debating putting it in the tank for some reason. Worry mostly that it will rot? Probably listening to the wrong crowd lol

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 04:36 AM
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I also tend to search near bridges and any natural snags in flowing water. One of my best spots in around an old railroad bridge that hasn't been used in years.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 02:26 PM
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Just a thought- when soaking the wood, dump a bunch of peroxide in the water. It should help kill algae and fungus without permanently affecting the piece.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 02:35 PM
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I used a syringe and excel all over the wood I have in my tank taken from a lake I cleaned it up real good with a stiff brush put it in hot water in the bath tub for a couple days then took it out dried it best i could and squirted excel in every crevice and all over the surface. The wood has been in my tank for over a year and no issues. What a great write up thanks for the awesome tips I have spent literally days at a time searching for the right piece in some of my favorite spots


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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There are just tons of places where we can find wood but I like to increase the odds on things. We can go around hoping but I find it works much better if I look for ways to change up the odds so that my chances are better. Sometimes it is as simple as being on the correct side of a lake or river. Notice the far bank of this little cove? If you walk up to this little spot but you are on the wrong side, you may see lots of wood but not be able to reach it or bring it back. That's where the magic of aerial photos can be a big help. Just getting on the correct side can make a major difference.

For treating wood, I handle the process in much the same way. I look for ways to increases the odds of getting a good result. There are lots of ways to treat wood but I want the one that gives the best result with the least time, effort, and expense. An overnight bleach soak works best for me. I can put it in any container that fits. Even the tank if it is a new setup, add a 1/2 cup or so of cheap bleach and go on with other things until I get back to the project. When I get back to it, I rinse the wood and lay it out to dry. When it is dry and all the smell of chlorine is gone, I know the odds are very good that I have a safe item. Bleach does the complete job of cleaning which many other methods miss. Pouring hot water doesn't reach the interior cracks where eggs might be hiding. Boiling doesn't remove oily residue but just moves it around to other spots.
When I pick up wood, I have no idea where it has been. Some meth cooker may have just dumped his leftovers there last week!
Bleach may turn the wood white but it returns to normal once it is in the water for a week or so.
We all take chances and hope things work out but I like to tilt the odds in my favor!
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