#55: Kauri

Bird number: 87
Date: August 7, 2012
Wood: Kauri (Agathis australis)
Source: Woodcraft Store

I’ve said before that I prefer to obtain the wood I use for these birds as “found wood”–either something I pick up or that people send me. But I found this wood on the sale table at Woodcraft last month, and it’s unlikely that I’d be able to obtain it any other way. Whereas kauri is readily available, this piece is from an ancient kauri or swamp kauri. The wood is 30,000 to 50,000 years old. At least, that’s what the sticker said.

The wood is relatively soft, about like the Western Redcedar. It should carve very nicely with a knife, something I’ll certainly try with some of what I have left. I had no trouble at all working it with the power carver. The only trouble I had was with sanding, but it seems like I have trouble getting a good finish on all the soft woods.

The pictures don’t do it justice. The wood has a sheen and subtle color variations that are quite beautiful.

After sanding, I applied two coats of Watco Natural Danish Oil, let that cure for three days, and then applied two coats of Deft Satin spray polyurethane. The process takes longer than the Howard Feed ‘n Wax that I’ve been using on most of my birds up to now, but it does give a nicer finish. I just might make this my standard finishing process.