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RE: GSBN:Moon phase harvesting of timbers

In spain, popular lore has it that the waning moon of January and February
are the best months to cut wood for use in construction. 

Many people still believe in and follow this custome. Maybe the climate is
to account for the difference in dates?

Rikki Nitzkin
Aul?s, Lleida, Espa?a
(0034)657 33 51 62 
www.casasdepaja.com (Red de Construcci?n con Balas de Paja)
> -----Mensaje original-----
> De: GSBN [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...";>mailto:GSBN@...] En nombre de Andy Horn
> Enviado el: domingo, 14 de octubre de 2007 22:14
> Para: GSBN
> Asunto: GSBN:Moon phase harvesting of timbers
> Hi all,
> I guess I may as well get another stimulating topic started now that I&#xE2;m
> at
> it. Indeed I guess this and some of what follows from this should be
> included in one of the upcoming Last Straw editions???
> As an environmentalist, I am horrified by the use of so many noxious and
> usually carcinogenic timber preservative treatments used in our
> construction
> industry. As such I have always made sure the timbers we use are treated
> as
> non-toxically as possible &#xF6; which has meant getting or self treating using
> boron treatment (mammal friendly). Over the years I&#xE2;ve heard from various
> farmers and country builders that in times past their forefathers used to
> harvest their poplar beams and &#xE3;Spanish reed&#xE4; (thin bamboo species) for
> their houses around the autumn &amp; early winter new moon so as to prevent
> insect attack.
> Then in Japan &#xF6; where they have a similar practice of moon phase
> harvesting
> &#xF6; I met a professor who had conducted a series of scientific experiments
> on
> how moon phase harvesting as well as aging with braches and bark will
> affect
> insect attack as well as checking/splitting and warping. Besides simple
> observation, she examined the sap content under a microscope and tested a
> whole variety of harvesting times. (I can send jpg&#xE2;s to anyone
> interested).
> What she explained was that one needs to harvest between the times of the
> autumn equinox and winter solstice on the 3rd, 2nd, and last day
> proceeding
> the new moon i.e. in the waning phase of the moon only and not on the
> day/time of the new moon itself. Once felled, the timbers are left falling
> at a slope, with their cut ends propped up higher than the rest of the
> trunk. The timber is then initially cured in the forest with their bark,
> as
> well as the crown of the tree and a few side branches with leaves left
> intact. The timbers they were cutting (600mm diameter) was left for 3 - 4
> months. She explained that the idea is to ensure that the timber is
> virtually totally free of the sap, which is the food the insects are
> after.
> By propping the stem up and aging with a few branches and bark, the tree
> pulls the last traces of sap to its extremities as it dies.
> A tree surgeon friend of mine has since concurred that during the autumn
> winter phase, trees go into a sort of hibernation and will typically slow
> their growth right down. When doing this - because they are less active
> and
> have less nutrient rich sap moving around - they pull various other resins
> and anti-bodies up from their root system to assist in fighting off the
> insect and fungal attack. Once mid winter is past, trees start to wake up
> again in preparation for spring and the sap will start to rise back into
> the
> tree.
> Since my return I began experimenting with this myself. I was curious if
> this would still work here in the Cape, where we have winter rainfall. I
> was
> also curious to see what would happen with some of our local hardwood
> species like the invasive eucalyptus/gum species as the Japanese professor
> had be experimenting with their species of spuce and beach. The first time
> I
> experimented, I cut some gums (at the prescribed time) and did not bother
> to
> lift the trees up off the forest floor as the forest floor was steeply
> sloped so simply made sure they lay with their branches pointing down
> slope.
> I left the timber on the moist leave covered (though well drained) forest
> floor for 6 months. Upon my return I discovered that the timber had cured
> beautifully and besides a bit of brown staining on the bottom half, were
> in
> perfect condition. Not one single insect had touched the timber, no dry
> rot
> had occurred and no cracks or splitting was evident. I have continued with
> this practice ever since and am so confident about it that I do it many of
> with as many of my projects as possible.
> I goggled moon phase harvesting and came across a reference to the
> Austrian
> wood cutters of times past having branded their timber according to which
> moon cycle their timbers were harvested. Apparently firewood is best cut
> at
> a full moon. Violin and cello makers followed certain bio-dynamic
> practises
> and used to accompany the wood cutters into the forests to ensure that
> their
> timbers where cut at certain precise times, which apparently also needed
> to
> coincide with certain planetary cycles. This apparently ensured the
> perfect
> resonance for their instruments.
> I am curious about whether any of this is familiar to any of you out there
> and what kind of experience you have had with these methods or further
> insights that might be added.
> Andy Horn
> Architects &amp; Consultants
> A. R. HORN B.A.S. (UCT), B.Arch (UCT), Pr.Arch (SACAP),     MIA, CIA
> Telephone: 021 462 1614, Fax: 021 461 3198
> Cel: 082 67 62110
> 4th Flr, The Armoury
> 160 Sir Lowry Rd
> 7925
> web site: www.ecodesignarchitects.co.za
> email: andy@...
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