A blog on a log from a hull at the bottom of the sea...
Hello, I’m Johanna, one of the conservators at the Mary Rose Trust, and I’ll be taking you through some of the work that is happening behind the scenes at the museum. This particular post will cover a set of objects I have devoted a fair bit of my time here to – logs!
Over 700 logs were found on the Mary Rose, some probably to be used by the ships carpenter, but the majority of them would have been destined for fueling the ship’s galley. The galley logs have all been cut to similar lengths – just under a metre long, to fit the galley firebox – and split in half or thirds, and most of them have been identified to be silver birch.
You may look at a log and think it’s just a log, but I find it fascinating that they are at least 500 years old, and part of the only collection of Tudor firewood anywhere in the world! Also, more importantly for me, they’re fun and challenging objects to work with.
A lot of the logs still have their bark intact, and when drying the wood tends to shrink ever so slightly more than the bark, so after treatment and freeze-drying we are often left with a jigsaw puzzle of bark to fit back onto the log! Fortunately, most of the logs are covered in netting before going into the treatment tanks, and they are kept in the netting during the drying, so when it comes to the finishing stage the bark is still with the same log as it was always on, even if it is sometimes loose inside the netting.