Our series on woods continues this month with ancient Bog Oak Wood. This lumber is fascinating in how it comes to be.

Does Bog Oak actually come from bogs?

Believe it or not, yes! This ancient oak that has been submerged in peat bogs for hundreds (or sometimes thousands of years). Due to the extremely low oxygen conditions of the bog, it protects the wood from normal decay.  The acid in the bog then works with minerals and salts and give the lumber a dark brown or even black appearance!

Bog Oak

Galway, Ireland Peat Bog

What color is it?

As stated above, due to conditions in the bog usually the wood comes out a dark brown or black.  However, I have seen streaks of dark green in some pieces. It truly is wild card when you get it, as to what color it will end up after turning it!

Bog Oak (Sealed)

Where does it originate?

Bog oak can occur anywhere that peat bogs exist.  We have turned bog oak from Ireland, England, Latvia and more.  There are also many peat bogs in Bosnia Herzegovina.

Irish Peat Bog

Irish Peat Bog Oak Drying Out

What does the process that leads to preserving look like?

The best visual of how the bog wood becomes fossilized is explained well below, by Hilary Berks @ University of Bergin.

Plant Macro Fossilization

Bog oak fossilization process – infographic

How durable is it?

It has lasted hundreds of years, so turning isn’t going to hurt this wood.  Wood from the water has thick rings and is deprived of resin and filled with minerals, which increase its stability and durability.


How about allergies?

While traditional oak trees are highly allergic when still living and pollenating, bog oak is not known to have any allergens or sensitives.  As with any wood, extended time breathing in sawdust is inadvisable.


What are its main uses?

Specialty items (like pens or other turned pieces) are popular for this special wood.  It is also a wood that sculptures use to make artistic pieces.

Black on Black Pen Set

Bog Oak with Gunmetal


Bog and Copper

Bog Oak Pen Set in Copper


Great sources for more info on all types of woods are:




Peat Bog Picture Credit: http://www.reggie.net/photos/ireland/galway/lough_inagh/4767647_peat_bog-600.jpg