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Man-Made Petrified Wood for Adobe/Vigas, etc.  RSS feed

 
John Abacene
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This is one of those ideas I get from combining separate previous concepts into one new one;
- and one that I have not tried or had personal experience with yet.
I am hoping and encouraging anyone to search out the methods and applications for the great benefit that this concept holds for building.

I know that Adobe Pueblos using logs/poles for roof support have been know to last a long time,
but if I am going to pour the last of my youth and everything I've got into something, by damn, I want it to be done once, and to last as close to forever as possible without any further maintenance needed if at al possible.
So, if one were to build something like an adobe pueblo, especially in areas that may not have a dry climate, why use plain wood logs/poles that one way or another in time may be compromised in some way from moisture, dry rot, cracking, age or even the slightest warping? - What alternative is there?

One possibility is soaking the logs/poles/peeler cores in a solution that effectively makes them into petrified wood...
I will post what info I have found on this, and cross my fingers that people can contribute knowledge or experiment with it on a small scale to determine the cost effectiveness, etc.

 
John Abacene
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Here is the first of what I have on-hand about this subject. I know I have more, but not sure where I have it - but still looking....

Petrifying Wood:

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http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v17/n4/wood

‘Instant petrified wood’—so ran the heading to the announcement in Popular Science, October 1992.1 It’s also the reality of research conducted at the Advanced Ceramic Labs at the University of Washington in Seattle (USA).
Researchers have also made wood-ceramic composites that are 20–120% harder than regular wood, but still look like wood. Surprisingly simple, the process involves soaking wood in a solution containing silicon and aluminium compounds. The solution fills the pores in the wood, which is then oven-cured at 44°C (112°F). According to the lab’s research director, Daniel Dobbs, such experiments have impregnated the wood to depths of about 5 millimetres (0.2 inches). Furthermore, deeper penetration under pressure and curing at higher temperature have yielded a rock-hard wood-ceramic composite that has approached petrified wood.
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Another link:

http://www.ncsec.org/cadre2/team2_2/Lessons/howDoesWoodPetrify.htm


 
John Abacene
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Here is what I am thinking:
What if you had a long covered trough to soak your logs/poles in a few at a time, and you filled it with a very watered-down solution of the necessary ingredients.
If it were only water in the trough, the wood be become "Water-logged".
If instead, it were filled with a dilute mixture of the necessary ingredients, maybe that diluted mix could soak into the wood faster and deeper, as in the process, the minerals are deposited; then, when the time is right, more of the necessary ingredients are added to make the mixture thicker so that the wood, hopefully to the core, would have mineral deposition to some degree, which would increase going from the core outward to the surface, and the outer 1/4 inch or so could be completely mineralized, sealing it from the outside environment.  The wood would then be allowed to "ry", leaving a log/pole/peeler core permanently sealed for all time to come, still looking just like it is supposed to for the long haul.

- Is anyone in a position to play around with this idea on a smaller scale to see if it works?

NOTE: Sodium Silicate is available, believe it or not, at many Pharmacies, ad is often sold in a jar that looks just like a mayonnaise jar. It is one of those things that has many fascinating purposes and benefits.

 
Mark Larson
Posts: 53
Location: Conroe, Tx
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I don't really have anything to add to the pertrifying part but, I make knives and in knifemaking a lot of times with wood scales we "stabilize" them. Basically you take wood and put it in a vacuum seal with resin and it forces it down into the wood. Ends up making the wood much more stable to the effects of moisture, etc. Anyhow, I hope more people can add to this. Like you I am not keen on building with raw wood. I know it should last my lifetime but, I'm nothing if not an over-engineering type of guy.
 
Charlie Rendall
Posts: 26
Location: Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
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I love the idea of this.

For experimenting you might want to seek out someone nearby who treats bamboo - we use large tanks (7m long by 1.5m wide by 50cm deep) for soaking bamboo in borax and boric acid. And there's also the Vertical Soak Diffusion method: http://www.bamboocentral.org/treatment-manual.html

And for that matter what about petrifying bamboo? I know that much of bamboo's benefits as a building material arise from its flexibility, and I imagine that a petrified culm of bamboo would be a lot more brittle. Wish I had a bit more time to play around!

Well, good luck with your investigations.
 
Nicola Marchi
Posts: 79
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I love the idea.

The only problems as I see it are:

  • [li]Finding the exact recipe[/li]
    [li]Having a large enough container you can climate control to the desired temperature and pressure[/li]


  • If you can however please, document, document, document.

    The DIY potentials for petrified wood are nearly endless.
     
    John Abacene
    Posts: 114
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    I think the links may have given enough info to have at least a starting and effective recipe.
    The container could be built I'm sure - the only consideration being how long a pole you would want to treat, and finding materials a little longer than that.
    I would guess that you could make a trough out of wood, then fiberglass it well.

    As far as pressure or vacuum are concerned, I would hope to find a way around that or just do without it.

    What I inked to is all the info I could find on it; I'm hoping that others can somehow add to it.
     
    Charlie Rendall
    Posts: 26
    Location: Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
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    The tanks we made for treating bamboo were just dug out of the ground, lined with plastic and then coated with 12cm of impermeabilized concrete. I've also seen them made just with a triple layer of plastic sheeting - cheaper and easier but not very long lasting.

    I don't have more on the recipe and techniques, what about researching industrial methods for pressure-treated lumber?
    Good luck!
     
    Len Ovens
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    Posts: 1452
    Location: Vancouver Island
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    This is not really petrified wood. The wood is still there. In petrified wood, the wood is replaced with minerals generally as a result of water flow through the area.

    This is a good thing as petrified wood would not be very strong in the ways we are used to using wood. It would be brittle. The stuff talked about above should be stronger than the raw wood.... and heavier.

    Something to remember plywood is stronger for it's weight than either steel or fiberglass. The main benefit I can is the encapsulation keeping it from rotting.
     
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