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Amberwood?

 
steward
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I just attended a presentation on traditional building techniques and one that was very interesting was called amberwood (I hope I got the name right).  According to the presenter, it's an old technique in the nordic countries to scar pine trees for a number of years prior to harvest to induce them to fill the wood pores with resin instead of sap.  Wood that has been "treated" in this way lasts for many hundreds of years.

The presenter had a picture of a guy with a long pole cutting sections of bark off a pine tree up to maybe 18' off the ground.  The patches looked to be 3" wide by 10" tall and spaced apart about 3" by 10".  All the way up the tree as high as his pole could reach.  The impression I got was that the scarring was done annually for several years.  Then the tree was girdled to dry out while standing.  Once this was all done, the log was very rot resistant, even in sawn lumber form.

She had a picture of a church from the 11th century made from this wood.

Now that I'm home at the computer, I can't find any info on it.  Well, I can find plenty of condo developments and other unrelated companies (here in the US).  Does anyone on Permies know about this method?  Does it work?  

Seems like a wonderful, albeit tortuous, way to turn plantations of red pine into a rot resistant building material.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 968
Location: Victoria BC
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Wow. Neat. Seems like it ought to work to some degree on any pine?

Hope someone has more data.
 
Mike Jay
steward
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Yeah, from what it sounded like, this would be a no brainer for replacing treated lumber or any of the currently "rot resistant" lumber out there.  I'm sure the devil is in the details.  
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
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Well, and the time required!

I wonder how effective it would be on large trees, and how many years are needed for any noticable improvement.. I have a couple monster pines that I am thinking of removing...

I *think* they are starting to fail from drought combined with loss of nearly all the forest around them when previous owner logged... and I don't want to deal with falling 3ft+ diameter trees within easy reach of my house after said house is built...

Also wonder how obnoxious milling such a tree would be. Sticky!
 
Mike Jay
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The pictures showed about a 12-16" DBH (diameter at breast height) pine forest.  I'm guessing the tree would need to be healthy and in a good environment for it to be able to handle the abuse.  I'm also guessing that in my county alone there are 5,000 acres of planted pines that would be candidates for this process.  Trees that were planted for pulp and papermaking that may never get harvested for that as the industry has moved away.
 
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