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Re: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Harvesting your own wood

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  • Jerry Harder
    Taking it even further 2/3 part of glass was made up of ashes. Conversely better glass was made from lye crystals which were leached from ashes, the liquid
    Message 1 of 30 , Mar 13, 2013
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      Taking it even further 2/3 part of glass was made up of ashes.  Conversely better glass was made from lye crystals which were leached from ashes, the liquid then being dried to make the crystals called glass salt.  Lye from ashes was also used to make soap.  Since ash content varied glass salt (used 1 part salt to 2 parts sand) was a better method.  The wash ashes (ash with lye removed was mixed with hide glue as a cheaper substitute for plaster.  Both wash ashes and ashes were mixed with clay for lute (a type of putty to seal vessels in various alchemy and industrial chemical processes) and for molds for casting metals.  Wash ashes and ash was sometimes used as an amendment for clay products.  About a  quarter to a third of the material used to make saltpeter was ashes which in turn constitutes about 70 % of gunpowder.  And saltpeter had many other uses.  Ashes were bought and sold as a commodity.  Ashes make up if I remember correctly about 5% of the wood by weight.  I have my friends who burn wood save there ashes for me. I still cant get enough.  In many medieval paintings we see woven fences with post clearly the result of copped trees and the material woven in them was probably intentionally copped for that purpose.  De forestation of Europe is often blamed on the metal industry which used large quantities of charcoal (it takes 100 lbs wood to make 15 lbs charcoal) but some studies have suggested that the real problem was simply the increase of human populations and there demand for timber products and fuel.  I used the use of ashes above to show 3 things.  First of all, many of what we would consider a total wast products were the partly refined and important raw ingredients for something else important in the medieval community/echo/economical system.  Secondly how intertwined the medieval system was.   And thirdly, how many things depend on the simplest of wood products such as ash.  I don't think much wood was wasted.

      On 3/12/2013 12:20 PM, Lynda Fjellman wrote:  

      Ilaria wrote:
      > Wasteful is in the eye of the beholder.  I would be willing to bet that every bit of the "wasted" wood from woodworking is useful on a farm.
      > I use sawdust and chips either on my garden/compost pile or in my animals stalls, and small pieces go in the fire.  When you heat/cook with wood you need a lot of "waste wood".

      Maybe so, but in the context of *medieval* sawdust (literally), it would have been left right where it fell in the middle of the forest beside the stump of the tree it grew upon (according to everything I've read).

      No idea if the scrap green pieces and boughs were valuable enough as firewood to merit the carpenters cutting, bundling, and carting back, to be stored a season until dry enough to use. I suppose that depends on the availability of dry wood in the forest, since protecting a pile of valuable firewood, when everyone knows the owners (the carpenters) will be out in the forest all day every day, seems kinda difficult.

      ' |   Broom      

      Sort of depends on where you are in the medieval context.  The sawdust in the woods is great for the woods.  It helps the soil.
      And yes, that scrap wood was valuable.  Firewood is always at premium when just anyone couldn't go into the forest to cut wood.  Bundles of faggots were the typical firewood.
      I've mostly researched English forest managements. There weren't really any old forests in many areas, and those that did exist were tiny by my standards. Many were the exclusive preserve of the King or local noble.  You might be able to glean wood, but you couldn't cut it without a license.
      I heat with wood, and I am *very* conservative in how much wood I use.  I go through a between a cord and two cords a year.  If using sustainable forest practices you can get almost a cord from 5 acres of trees a year.  I'll bet that every tiny burnable branch was picked up and carried to someone's fire.

      It was in America that ordinary people got to cut big trees for their fires.

    • Ralph
      By happenstance, my wife and I have been cleaning the shop and storage area. So I took some photos of the wood, these do not include the dimensional lumber,
      Message 2 of 30 , Mar 14, 2013
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      • Hall, Hayward
        One mans trash... I ve been on a hunt for large curved trees for years for a cruck frame. I can never find any over 6 long with sufficient width. I have
        Message 3 of 30 , Mar 18, 2013
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          One mans trash...

          I've been on a hunt for large curved trees for years for a cruck frame. I can never find any over 6" long with sufficient width. I have all the straight trees I need.


          -----Original Message-----
          From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Don Bowen
          Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 2:02 PM
          To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Harvesting your own wood

          On 2/26/2013 1:46 PM, bsrlee wrote:
          > If the trees are growning along a creek you will have to choose ones
          > that have not been leaning while growing - this will cause the whole
          > trunk to have 'reaction wood' like branches. You can use it for
          > turning blanks or firewood

          That is what I use for firewood, the leaners and the very crooked trees.


          > small diameter trunk sections.

          A friend cut a Sycamore tree into 2' sections planning on making chopping blocks. They were scattered about the shop to dry. Two years later most have split.

          I plan to bring down a Sycamore and split it using a froe. It will be a fun project.

          Don Bowen AD0BR
          "A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom."
          -Michel De Montaigne 1588

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