I found the “Fernwood” souvenirs all over the place in New Zealand, but despite the absolutely fascinating texture and character, I couldn’t bring myself to purchase any of it.

I just could not establish (without finding myself an actual piece of fern and turning it) whether it was completely fake, real but painted, real but dyed, or real and just finished.

You can see what I mean – it looks pretty incredible.

To be honest, I didn’t believe it to be natural – perhaps I should have looked at their website as, to my amazement, this is natural!

It comes from Punga logs (also known (but probably not well in NZ, as Black Mamaku). They use a heat treatment and curing process (that suggests to me that there are possibly some stabilisers involved, but that is no worse than using CA to stabilise a crack) that “captures and enhances nature’s beauty”

Never the less, it is a pretty amazing texture in a turned object for something sourced from nature. Reading more of their site, it seems woodturners can acquire pieces ready for turning – guess I should put an order in after all!  It’d make a pretty amazing pen, let alone other objects and forms.

The Punga log has long been used as a building material, such as this remake of a traditional Maori dwelling at Te Puia in Rotorua.

Even Hobbits are partial to the unique textures and look of the material it seems.

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