I'm unsure what sort of wood it is as it's obviously been in the sea and on the beach for quite some time, there is a lot of discolouration in places giving it a quite unique appearance. All I do know is that it's as hard as iron! I spent all of the first day carving, using my draw knife, hook knife, detail knife and an array of chisels.
I decided to leave some areas fairly natural as can be seen here, so there is no doubt as to what it has been made from, and I kept the shape roughly how it came from the sea.
I spent all of the evening sand-papering with a coarse grade and then all of the next day finishing it to a beautiful silky smooth finish using finer grades. Then I gave it several coats of natural clear wax. The first coat was sucked up by the extremely dry wood, I could almost hear it sigh....aaaahhh as it soaked in. Once dry it was buffed up before the subsequent coats were applied. It's not until the wax goes on that the true colours and grain are brought out. Looking closely there are subtle blues, greens, yellows, purples and reds in this piece. I can study it for ages, really nice.
It's a great feeling, taking something abandoned on the beach which would eventually have been thrown on someone's fire or rotted away, and in the space of about 48 hours turning it into something which I think is rather beautiful. It will have a new life which will go on well after mine has ended, and hopefully be treasured for generations to come.
So as you can probably tell, I'm thoroughly enjoying my new hobby and would recommend it to anyone who has the urge to create. You can't really go wrong as you are beginning with a base material which already is beautiful and all you are doing is (hopefully) adding to that. Once you have some tools, you just need a bit of a creative nature, a lot of patience, a bit of elbow grease and a space in which you are allowed to make a mess.