Siberian Larch

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The timber I have chosen for my sculpture is a wood called Siberian Larch and today, I had 90 metres of it delivered to my studio. Siberian Larch is a slow growing deciduous coniferous tree which is native to Northern Russia, but is grown all accross Northern Russia and Finland as well as in Canada and the northern United States. It naturally grows in a climate with hot, short summers and long, cold winters. It can grow up to 50 metres tall with a trunk of about 1 metre in diameter.

Siberian Larch produces more late wood or Autumn wood, that is, wood produced in the autumn and winter months; this is typically harder and denser. Early wood or Spring wood grows more quickly and is much softer. If you look at the rings on the end of a piece of timber which has been cross cut, the lighter coloured ones will be the Spring wood, and the darker ones will be the Autumn wood. What all this means is, that since Siberian Larch is composed of a greater quantity of late wood, its timber is stronger and more robust than other softwoods. The timber is rot and water resistant and is repellant to insects. It is used for for applications which involve prolongued exposure to the outdoors and moisture. Siberian Larch can be used for construction of houses and buildings and for making small boats. It can be used as a far more sustainable substitute for another softwood called Western Red Cedar. The colour of the timber varies from a pale honey colour to a reddish brown.

My Siberian Larch was imported from a plantation in Siberia through the Port of Oban on the west coast of Scotland. I want to use something which will be durable and work well in an outdoor sculpture exhibition. The timber is very asethetically pleasing and over time, it will turn silver and crack slightly. I am particularly interested in using a material that makes reference to the sea. The next step in making the sculpture is to rip down the lengths of the boards, plane them and then cut them to the correct lengths.

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