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Re: [Distillers] Re: how to toast wood pieces?

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  • Derek Hamlet
    ... I had no idea you could do it that way. I toast my oak staves (White American Oak) in the oven. That way I have some control over the degree of toast
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 26, 2013
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      At 11:35 AM 2/26/2013, you wrote:
      >
      >
      >Toast the thin slices of oak in the microwave. You can tell when
      >they are done by the smoke smell.

      I had no idea you could do it that way. I toast my oak staves
      (White American Oak) in the oven. That way I have some control over
      the degree of toast since I like to use both light, medium and dark
      toasted oak depending on what I'm aiming for. I sometimes then put
      the used staves through a thickness planer to re-use later.
      If I want charred oak, I just take some of the oak staves hang them
      up and go after them with blow torch. Everyone around here knows I'm
      a little eccentric. I was changing a tire once on a motorcycle while
      my still was bubbling away over the corner. One of the local
      gendarmes dropped up the driveway for something totally unrelated to
      me. We talked motos for a while, and then he asked it that's a still
      over there. I said, yup, I make natural essences that we put into
      natural soaps, some into food etc. etc. Well, scotch is a natural
      essence isn't it.
      He probably figured it all out, but had way more important things to
      be concerned about.
      We could get into a whole discussion of French vs. American vs.
      Eastern European oaks. I prefer French oak,,,,,,,,,,, but, not
      really available for cheap or free.
      Around here we have lots of Garry Oak which is a very geographically
      small subspecies of White Oak. In my town, if you cut one down they
      will tear of vital parts of your body and feed them to mad
      dogs. Seriously, they are protected. But, occasionally they have to
      have limbs taken off, or they blow over in a storm. Smart old
      bastards like me, have a little arrangement with the local municipal
      arborist. He gives me a call and asks if I need any and believe it
      or not he'll drop off a couple of ten foot branches that are 6-8" in
      diameter. It doesn't take many of those to make up a ton of oak
      staves ready for toasting.
      Sometimes they leave them to rot naturally, if possible, because that
      ends up supporting the entire ecosystem. Other times they get picked
      up and hauled away by the local fine art woodcraft people who cut it
      up into planks for seasoning. etc.
      You've never seen anything quite so purty as a Garry Oak meadow with
      all its wildflowers and grasses growing. Back in the day, the local
      Aboriginal people use to set them on fire. The fires didn't hurt the
      trees, but burned off the grass so they could then harvest the blue
      camas bulbs which were an integral part of their diet. The grasses
      all grew back by the next spring.

      So, there's my long winded thoughts on toasting.


      Derek
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