Showing posts from November, 2012

Hardwood Lumber Drying

As the economy improves, are you ready to supply the market with the best quality kiln dried lumber?Do you want to better control your drying and quality cost?Can you improve and better manage your drying and lumber handling options?

Hardwood lumber drying is an art that builds on a foundation of wood science. It's a lot more complicated than it looks, and a ton of lumber value has been flushed down the toilet by seat-of-the-pants kiln operators. Every serious hardwood lumber company that I'm aware of sends their kiln operators to drying schools on a regular basis. And one of the best schools still in existence is the one taught every January by Dr. Bill Smith and his associates at the State University of New York in Syracuse.

If you're already in the hardwood industry and want to sharpen your skills, or you're thinking of getting into the custom lumber drying business (yes, there is a market for that), you should consider attending the SUNY-ESF kiln drying workshop. Y…

Git 'er Done

Time to get back in the woods. Jump in the cab, slam the door shut, rev the engine...and get to work harvesting aspen trees like they are asparagus. The following video from the forest equipment manufacturer Eltec shows you how precise and efficient woods-working is getting to be. And what it feels like to have real raw power at your disposal.

Of course, there is power and there is power. Here's the John Deere 1470E harvester in action, with a background of blues rock to really get the adrenalin pumping.

One more video, this one from TigerCat. It contains some excellent footage of harvesting in large Eucalyptus plantations, and they mention that their harvesters can take on 8-inch Eucalyptus in Brazil at the rate of over 600 trees per hour. Not bad. The nice thing about this video is that it provides you with a lot of detail about the different types of equipment used in harvesting operations, and the capabilities of each. And nice video from operations all around the Southern Hem…

Go Wood (Pellets)

I haven't mentioned wood pellet heating much on Go Wood, since I'm a firewood devotee. But wood pellet stoves are the renewable energy heating solution for folks who want to go green with their heating, but just aren't into splitting and stacking, or don't have room to store firewood. Wood pellets are wood chips, particles, and sawdust that are refined to the proper size and shape and then extruded into pellets, the size of which are optimized for flow and feeding into the combustion chamber of the pellet stove.

My new friend Dr. Christian Rakos at Pro Pellets Austria, who is also the President of the European Pellet Council, is featured in the following video, and suggests in it that the pellet market in Europe will grow from its current level of 10 million metric tons per year to over 100 million metric tons within ten years. In order to encourage this level of adoption by European heating consumers, the Europeans have put their heads together and produced a pellet …

The Best is Yet to Come

I've been reading a book lately written in 2001 by Howard T. and Elisabeth C. Odum, called "A Prosperous Way Down". The title refers to a concept of managing global resources through the inevitable economic decline we're all about to endure. I'm studying Dr. Odom's formulation of an environmental metric called Emergy as an alternative to Life-Cycle Analysis...I'll talk a little more about Emergy in a future post or two.

For now, though, on the day after our election, it seems appropriate to describe the world into which we seem to be descending. Dr. Odum explains...
"Like a  giant train, the world economy is slowly cresting its trip up the mountain of growth. It may be ready soon for its long trip down to a more sustainable level. The developed nations that were leading on the way up are poised for leading again, but this time down... Precedents from ecological systems suggest that global society can turn down and descend prosperously, reducing assets…

Great Designs in Wood (33) - Metamorphosis 1

The nice thing about researching advances in wood utilization is that, contrary to what most people think, the world of wood use is ever-changing and advancing. We've talked a lot about that in the realm of bioenergy, but it's just as true in the world of wood construction.

The Metamorphosis house of Tunquén,Casablanca, Chile is an example of how home owners and their architects are re-thinking how they use wood to relate to their environment.

This stunning project is a 2007 remodel of a home built in 1990.  It was pretty nice for that time, but looking dated. Architects José Ulloa Davet and Delphine Ding changed that by retrofitting the home with a new skin, a ventilated wooden facade. This was a new concept to me, and a little research on Wikipedia reveals that the general concept falls under a heading of rainscreen cladding, which is...
"...the attachment of an outer skin of rear-ventilated cladding to a new or existing building. The system is a form of double-wall cons…

Wood Heat, There When You Need It

Watching civilization grind to a halt this week in New Jersey and New York has me reflecting on  the most underrated value of wood heating. That is, whatever comes, you can cook and keep warm if you have a wood stove and firewood. Generators and kerosene heaters are OK, but most folks have an aversion to keeping fifty or a hundred gallons of flammables stored around the house until doomsday, so they wind up with a couple of hours worth of generator power before they head out for the long lines, gas cans in hand. Solar generators are a little better as far as being "off the grid", but they won't run much in the middle of a winter storm. And gas stoves usually work, but they rely on the pumping station having power, and on the gas line network remaining intact.

That's why wood stoves are so great. As long as you have wood, or can scavenge some, you have heat and hot meals. You have a way to cook those frozen foods before they go bad. And sleeping on the floor or a couc…