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Wood Ash While Making Biomass Slurry Question

 
                            
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I am soaking a mixture of wood shavings and leaves in water to make a slurry to compress with a Peterson press to make biomass briquettes. After a few days, the mix still feels pretty solid, and I read on a comment on Youtube, that to put wood ash in will speed up the process.

There were a few responses stating that mixing wood ash with water is dangerous. I did some research and still don't understand. Is it something to worry about? What could possibly happen to make it dangerous? Could it really burn your skin, and if so, what would be the amount to keep levels safe?

The thing is I don't have power tools, and can't grind up; the biomass material, so ideally if the wood ash causes it to break down sooner while soaking, that would be perfect. The thing is now I am a bit worried as to actually making the briquettes because of the questions concerning the water and wood ash becoming caustic.

Any advise/comments would be appreciated.
 
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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dripping water through a barrel of wood ash is how folks made potassium lye (KOH/potassium hydroxide) for a long time.

just be careful not to splash it around and I think you'll be alright.
 
                            
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tel jetson wrote:dripping water through a barrel of wood ash is how folks made potassium lye (KOH/potassium hydroxide) for a long time.

just be careful not to splash it around and I think you'll be alright.



Thanks. By splash it around, what do you mean? I did sprinkle it in, then stirred it up. Let it sit overnight, and this morning gave it a good stir again. Would this be considered "splashing it around?"
 
tel jetson
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I just mean don't get it in your eyes or all over your skin. mixing it in is fine. might not be a bad idea to wear gloves. maybe goggles, too, if you're clumsy like I am.
 
gardener
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you probably won't get up to the concentration to make lye as your container isn't full of ash.
 
tel jetson
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Saybian Morgan wrote:you probably won't get up to the concentration to make lye as your container isn't full of ash.



agreed. still not something I would want in my eyes.
 
Saybian Morgan
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the amount of times I've rubbed my eyes and smelt duck poo, compost or urine since getting infected with permaculture its a wonder my eyelids haven't turned into a soil amendment by now. goggles should be the word of the day.
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