Man turns possible tsunami debris into artwork

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Nov 20 2013 05:33:00 PM HST

Logs washing ashore as possible tsunami debris are being carved into tikis by a woodcarver on Oahu.

KAILUA, Hawaii -

As wood beams and logs wash up onto Hawaii's shores, most recently on Sunday on Kauai and another last week on Kailua Beach Park, the debris is usually recycled or just left on shore, but one man is turning them into tikis.

At 87, he's been carving out works of art for decades, but this one's different.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's report.

"It's the biggest one I've ever seen. A very big piece of wood," said Hermann Allerstorfer.

"They don't wash up very often. At least in the past. Recently we've had several wash up," said Herman Allerstorfer, Allerstorfer's son.

Herman spotted the roughly 12-foot-long log on Kalama Beach about 200 yards from his father's home.

"This was a really nice one, straight, and nice diameter, so really good carving log for tiki," said Herman Allerstorfer.

It took a team a couple hours to push it through waves and onto shore. It's cedar already beautifully striped, ready to be lumbered, with barnacles on both ends.

"There's another one down the beach and someone has it pulled up in front of their house and I heard that person wants it, but he better pull it up into his yard before someone else grabs it," said Herman Allerstorfer.

It's been somewhat of a race to see who finds the rare, large, logs. Hermann Allerstorfer said the size allows for more artistic expression.

"You can do a full body. If it's not big enough you only do the front and leave the back (undone)," said Hermann Allerstorfer.

Wooden beams and logs like this one have recently been showing up on the windward side of Oahu, possible tsunami debris that scientists said were sitting deeper in the water. The debris is expected to continue to show up on Oahu's shores.

Allerstorfer's son, Herman, is one of the few who will be excited to see them washing up.

"(I'm) happy that it's going to get him away from the computer and outside again," said Herman Allerstorfer.

Hermann Allerstorfer hopes to finish the tiki in three weeks or so. When he's done, he plans on decorating his back yard with it.

The log he's transforming is not expected to contain radiation.

Researchers said wooden pieces of debris are expected to wash on shore throughout the summer.

If you find a piece you are asked to report it to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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