What is a Nautical Wood Map?

Wanderlust has been part of the human experience since the beginning of time. We have always endeavored to test the boundaries around us and explore beyond what we can see. Over 4000 years ago, the Phoenicians invented a system that allowed them to determine direction when traveling by water.

This system is the earliest known nautical map and used the sun and stars to navigate and provide direction. The earliest travelers by water stayed close to shore, using landmarks and the sight of land as their guide. Eventually, the need to explore further took hold, and sailors looked to the stars for guidance, using constellations to gauge their location and direction.

The brave ancient sailors who ventured out into the open sea continued to test the limits of the boundaries known to them at that time and set a course for future exploration. Even the earliest nautical maps included what is now considered the keys to navigation, including:

Earliest Known Keys to Navigation

Hawaiian Islands (all of them), Hawaii 3-D Nautical Wood Chart, Narrow, 13.5" x 43"
  • water depths
  • location of danger
  • aids to navigation
  • anchorages

Today, the depths of the oceans are less of a mystery but still the subject of intrigue. The depths and shores of oceans and lakes are beautifully recreated in elegant 3D wood maps for the maritime enthusiast and lake art collector alike. The lure of the world’s waterways continues to find a strong foothold in many a home in the form of high-quality nautical wood maps. That fascination is far from over.

Recognizing a High-Quality Nautical Wood Map

A high-quality 3D wood map begins with a high caliber of products used to create the bodies of water. The finest lake art utilizes Baltic Birch for its strength, durability, and ability to be laser-cut with exacting precision.

Hilton Head Clock, 12" Diameter

Baltic Birch also has absolute uniformity of layers, which means when two pieces are glued together, the seam between them is indistinguishable. When creating a 3D wood map, the pieces of Baltic Birch are laser-cut and glued together, forming the bathymetry of the body of water being depicted.

Once the pieces have been laser-cut, assembled, and glued to represent the bathymetry and topography of the chosen shoreline, ocean, or island, the process of hand-staining select layers begins! The blue-green stain visually separates land from water and allows you to appreciate the powerful discernable depths fully. The major byways, depths, and points of interest are then etched into the wood, creating a clear guide to each location’s depths, shallows, and surrounding land.

The most vital aspect of a nautical wood map is that it tells a clear story of the water it represents. The earliest navigational maps have been inspiring our imagination long before they became treasured pieces of lake art. The 3D wood map must provide the keys to navigation. However, it needs also to reflect the majestic and awe-inspiring spirit of the water-filled oasis it depicts.

The Story of a Nautical Wood Map

  • points of interest
  • water depths
  • topographical landmarks
  • powerful visual depth
Lake Michigan 3-D Nautical Wood Chart, Large, 24.5" x 31"

When you think of your last adventure to the Hawaiian Islands or camping along the shores of Lake Michigan, you picture the beauty of the water and dwell on the intrigue of what lies in the depths.

A nautical wood map captures the story of your beloved body of water and provides a powerful visual replica to hold your attention until your return trip. A 3D wood map is precisely what you need to guide your heart back to the water that inspires your favorite adventures.

Displaying Your Nautical Wood Map

A nautical wood map is too beautiful to keep to yourself. Instead, surround yourself with reminders of your desire to explore; embrace the wanderlust within you! A nautical wood map can be displayed in many ways and keep the inspiration alive and well every day.

New Zealand 3-D Nautical Wood Chart, Large, 24.5" x 31"

As you build your Bucket List of future travel destinations, you dream of sailing in the waters off New Zealand every time you look at the 3D wood map wall art. Create a Wall of Dreams commemorating your past travel and planning for future destinations. Large and small wood maps displayed together on your wall will bring back warm memories and encourage conversation, keeping the desire to travel top-of-mind at all times. 

Add Whimsy with Lake Art

Santa Barbara/Channel Islands Serving Tray 20" X 13"

You can display your exquisite pieces of lake art in a variety of ways. The creative introduction of nautical wood maps into your home décor is simple. For example, add a little whimsy to your space by displaying your Santa Barbara serving tray on your coffee table. There are no rules when showcasing your lake art to spark your imagination and inspire further adventures!

Other Nautical Wood Maps

Each of these nautical wood map ideas is perfect for your own home or to give as a gift to inspire others. A high-quality piece of lake art that commemorates the travels of a friend or family member is a priceless gift that is sure to hold a place of honor in their home and heart.

Walloon Lake Cork Map, 8" x 10"

We keep our adventures alive and well within us when we appreciate the evolution of the nautical wood map. Originally created to challenge how far we could go, the 3D wood map now shows exactly how far we have come.

The mysteries of the oceans’ depths, the distance between the Old World and the New World, and every mile of uncharted waters was a brave adventure that is now etched in fine lake art for all to admire.

The exploration cannot stop there! As you collect high-quality wood maps and explore them further, you will feel the need to explore more deeply than you have in the past.

You will leave the comfort of the shoreline and venture out further, gaining knowledge, experience, and inspiring more incredible discoveries about yourself and the wonderful world that lies just beyond what you can see. So, follow the stars, and let your wanderlust guide you on beautiful adventures!


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