We are committed to providing outstanding manzanita for any use - and that means individually processing each piece of wood that we collect. Nature has invested time in creating these rustic artworks; the shrubs persistently grow over the course of decades, twisting and flowing in pursuit of sunlight. Even after the branches have died, the elements continue their slow work, shaping and weathering the wood. Harsh sunlight, freezing rain, and opportunistic lichens gradually etch away the softer surface of the manzanita, creating subtle masterpieces.
It is our obligation to respect the work of nature, and to showcase the beauty of the wood.
Pieces are collected from dead material only - either from downed branches that have already begun to weather and dry or from ghostly, dead-standing shrubs. Our material is gathered from shrubs that are on and nearby our far Northern California ranch; despite being collected from a very limited region, the branches we gather display a truly remarkable range of shape, texture, and weathering.
We carefully select noteworthy pieces, primarily using hand saws to precisely cut stump and branch sections that are suitable for various uses. Each cut is carefully considered; every gnarled fork and twist is noted as we do our best to make these "mountain driftwood" pieces ready for placement in homes across the country.
Each piece is thoroughly pressure-washed to remove dirt, dry bark, lichen, and soft wood. This is our favorite step - the gray exterior patina is washed away, revealing the true character of the underlying wood. On moderately weathered, larger pieces, strips of pale sapwood flow over older, dark red wood. Less-weathered branchy pieces slough off peeling black bark to show off their buff and honey colors. Our most weathered pieces display a deep mahogany color. Rather than sandblasting the surface texture into a pockmarked oblivion, we wash the pieces and preserve the beautiful natural character of the wood surface - sometimes smooth, sometimes deeply fissured, always lovely.
Next, each piece is sanded. We use our artistic discretion to guide our approach to sanding; some pieces may need thorough sanding to smooth over rough splinters and make them ready for betta fish tanks, while others may need only a brief pass with the sandpaper. Some pieces have intricate wood growth figuring or deep pockets that require careful scrubbing with a wire brush in addition to sanding. Larger growth pockets are best cleaned with an assortment of attachments on our foredom tool. Certain pieces we deem best suited for use as dramatic aquascape or decor elements; these we wire-brush and gently hand-sand, but they retain their wonderful rugged character.
Finally, each piece is individually photographed, measured, and added to our shop - ready for purchase!