Re: [Distillers] Re: how to toast wood pieces?
- View SourceAt 11:35 AM 2/26/2013, you wrote:
>I had no idea you could do it that way. I toast my oak staves
>Toast the thin slices of oak in the microwave. You can tell when
>they are done by the smoke smell.
(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.