The geological wonder, petrified wood, is interesting to both woodworkers and wood lovers. The fossil forms when minerals invade the cavities and cells of natural wood. 

These minerals include Calcite (Calcium Carbonate, CaCO3) or Silica (Silicon Dioxide, SiO2). The process takes an extended time, usually a million years.

How long does it take wood to petrify

Petrification takes about 5,000 to 10,000 years. The process occurs when groundwater containing silica seeps into a dead tree trunk’s pore, dissolving the organic matter and carrying it away. Over time the groundwater deposits its own minerals into the spaces left behind, replacing the original organic material with a hard mineral

Petrified Wood Forms

The exact time needed to petrify wood depends on several conditions. The main condition is how rich the groundwater is in minerals.

Fossilized wood depends on the environment.  The petrification process takes a long time. Some locations, such as the petrified forest national park, are better suited for this.

The most famous petrification environments are around exposed sedimentary rocks. These areas consist of fluvial-lacustrine depositions and paleoenvironmental conditions. Low dissolved oxygen levels, as well as a silica-rich environment, characterize these areas.

There are different types of petrified wood forms. These include homogenous, spotted, jet-like, lens-shaped, and concentric petrified wood.

Homogenous wood is a straightforward type of wood form with a uniform ring color. It is composed of opal and is generally light-colored.

The spotted petrified wood is a combination of chalcedony. The chalcedony is a mixture of cryptocrystalline quartz and opal.

The jet-like wood looks like coal, displays clear lines, and often forms wavy patterns.  The lens-shaped wood structure is either black or white.

Finally, concentric wood has various color layers. This is due to the different minerals that saturate the porous wood structure.

What do Laboratory Tests Show?

A process that usually took Mother Nature a million years can now form in the laboratory in a matter of days.  Scientists can now simulate the necessary conditions and processes in a laboratory.

This environment can convert wood to minerals in several days. Laboratory experiments reveal that petrified trees consist of large, hard, and porous wood.

How to Make Petrified Wood

Researchers discovered that they could replicate petrification in a lab.  First, soak pine, poplar boards, and a half-inch cube of wood in hydrochloric acid for two days.

Next, soak the wood fibers in a silica or titanium solution for another two days. The stone-like material is then air-dried.  It’s then cooked in an argon-filled furnace to 1400 degrees celsius for about two hours.

The last step involves cooling the wood in argon at room temperature. The result is a block of titanium carbide or ceramic silicon carbide.

The Petrification Process

Petrification differs from the process of creating fossils. Fossilization is the compression or impression of the original organisms on the earth. 

The plant material must be buried under silt, volcanic ash, or mud for petrification. These conditions support the rotting process. The ground also needs to be well compacted so that the wood doesn’t interact with organisms or oxygen. This inhibits possible aerobic decomposition.

Over time, various minerals from the surrounding water and earth penetrate the wood.  These include iron, manganese, and copper. These conditions are suitable for organic material to become fossilized.

Mineral-rich water flows through the wood. This way, minerals are deposited in the plant’s cells.

These minerals give the fossilized wood a bright array of colors. They include both light and dark portions. Pure, colorless quartz may combine with contaminants.

This results in different colors and tones. These could include red, yellow, or orange. As the cellulose and plant’s lignin decomposes, a stone mold forms in its place. The fossil wood takes on the exact form of the original trunk or tree.

Benefits of Petrified Wood

1. Promotes concentration

Petrified wood promotes a high level of productivity and can also be an aid for your memory. The energy in this petrified wood keeps you in touch with your thoughts.  It also guides you in the manifestation process.

2. Encourages mental stability

Petrified wood infuses you with calmness and wisdom. This promotes the body and improves the mental strength needed in life.

3. Grounds energy

Petrified wood has very protective energies. These energies ground your higher consciousness. Carrying a small piece in your pocket or pouch can keep you in touch with the bigger picture.

4. Encourages Goal setting

Petrified is a stone of transformation. Pair it with March Birthstone to receive the support you need to achieve your goals and dreams. It particularly applies to the financial aspect of your life.

Petrified Wood For Furniture

Petrified wood is like stone. This is because it creates stunning, durable pieces of furniture when polished. The most stand-out furniture made from petrified wood includes stools and coffee tables. You can also use the wood on countertops and slabs.

Petrified wood is one of the best materials for furniture, thanks to its versatility. This makes it easy to deck your entire space with this fossilized wood. The petrified wood’s color and grain on the tree rings give the furniture a classic, timeless feel.

When it comes to maintenance, the furniture doesn’t need much work. All you will need is to clean the surface of the wood using warm water and mild soap.

How to Turn Petrified Wood into Furniture

Woodworkers love to use fossilized wood for furniture because of its beautiful colors. The best way to produce unique furniture is to preserve the natural aspects of the wood. These include curves, lines, tree ring patterns, and organic shapes.

You can use conventional grinders to cut, shape, and polish petrified wood. You can cut the wood tissues into slices using a wire saw.

Note that cutting and polishing petrified wood requires a high level of craftsmanship. This is because it’s time-consuming. Additionally, the wood is heavy but very brittle. This means it can crack under pressure.

This wood stone is best used with a metal base or legs to make coffee tables. You can also work it into petrified birch or acacia wood countertop stands.

Other items include dining tables, wood tables, stools, or pillars. The petrified wood can make smaller items such as wood bookends.


Is Petrified wood rare?

Petrified wood is rare. The magnificent wood comes in several varieties. Some of these petrified wood are common, while others are quite rare. Its rarity depends on the location and unique conditions that occurred during petrification.

What minerals make up petrified wood?

The minerals that petrify wood include manganese oxides and copper. Iron oxides, carbon, silicon dioxide, and chromium are other minerals that can work the same.

How old is petrified wood?

The age of the rotting wood depends on its source.  Some petrified wood ranges from 20 million years to 300 million years.

Where can petrified wood be found?

Fossil records show that petrified wood forms come from petrified trees. You can find them in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, and North Dakota forests.

Is Petrified wood considered a fossil?

Yes. Petrified wood forms when minerals invade the cavities and cells of natural wood. This makes it a remarkable fossil.

Is petrified wood heavy?

Yes. Petrified wood is so much heavier compared to normal wood. In contrast, one cubic foot of water weighs 62lbs, and one cubic foot of petrified weighs 97lbs.

Petrified wood: A Woodworker’s Gem

Petrified wood is a gift that keeps on giving. This beautiful wood produces one of the most unique furniture pieces. No matter the minerals, the wood showcases the extravagance valued in the industry.  Its aesthetic appeal makes it the perfect choice in interior design.

Have a taste of this fossilized wood in woodworking endeavors.

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