• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • jordan barton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Greg Martin
  • Steve Thorn
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • John F Dean
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Stacie Kim
  • Jay Angler

"Unlimited" supply of odd square-ish shaped wood chunks - what to do?

 
Posts: 33
2
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have access to enormous amounts of Oak wood chunks (some smaller Poplar chunks) that are kind of square in shape. I was hoping to get some ideas of what one might use these for? I am ESPECIALLY interested in ways to use this in BUILDING things if possible, but they are irregularly shaped and of irregular thickness (not all flat), but the attachments below give you an idea.
oak1top.jpg
Oak Chunk Top View
Oak Chunk Top View
oak2side.jpg
Oak Chunk Side View
Oak Chunk Side View
 
Greg Payton
Posts: 33
2
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just a few ideas I have had, but I would really like to get more/better ideas from the community!

  • Flooring (no idea of how to use it for this though due to irregular shapes)
  • Siding (questionable, have to use cob/cement probably?)
  • Firewood (a shame to use all of this hard wood like this)
  • Mushroom substrate


  •  
    Posts: 1198
    56
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    if its al already dried, might not b e best for mushrooms.
    if they were mine the would be keeping me warm in winter.
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 683
    Location: Boston, Massachusetts
    240
    3
    urban books building solar rocket stoves ungarbage
    • Likes 6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Flooring could be easy if you "squared up" the pieces either by sawing or splitting with a froe.
    Here's a video (it's on my watch later list...) from Mr. Chickadee, about a wood brick floor:

    You can see in the thumbnail image, that the bricks are uniform in one dimension, and vary in length in the other.
    It would be possible to vary in both dimensions. First, if you kept the heights consistent within each row, but varied the heights of the rows to make full use of your materials. Second could be a 5 piece ashlar pattern, where the blocks are sized by some increment of units so that the blocks can be laid together neatly. (ex. 2x2, 2x3, 2x4, 3x4, 4x4) This is commonly seen in paving and tile, also in stonemasonry. Third would be the "fan" shaped cobble paving, which at a distance resembles fish scales, but is made up of small squarish blocks.

    The variation in thickness will slow down your laying. a. lot. In order to achieve a level top surface, you'll be filling under the thin ones, and carving pockets under the thick ones... You might consider sorting by thickness and using a similar height for one area, or trimming all to a consistent thickness.
    Maybe you prefer the weathered ends, or maybe a fresh-cut surface? who knows?
     
    master steward
    Posts: 5844
    Location: USDA Zone 8a
    1762
    dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    What about furniture? Do you have woodworking tools?

    I am thinking of a poster bed like Jenny Lind.  Glue them together then use a lathe to round them off.

    Also similar to the flooring they would make a novel headboard.
     
    Posts: 106
    Location: 5,000' 35.24N zone 7b Albuquerque, NM
    64
    hugelkultur forest garden building rocket stoves woodworking greening the desert
    • Likes 6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Thanks for the creative building challenge, Greg! If it were me, in the New Mexico ecosystem and aesthetic, I would make adobe and oak building blocks for a shed or a barn or a house. To achieve a uniform look, take a representative chunk (I can't tell the size from your pic's) and using the typical size (say 5” x 5” x 5”), make a block form (example a rectangle form 6” tall x 10” deep x 16” long). This form would hold a couple of your oak blocks with space around them for adobe mud.

    Once you have the form, making uniform blocks is easy: mix some adobe mud. When ready to make blocks, dip the form in water, center the blocks in the form, then pour mud over them. The mud would cling to the rough oak pieces. Slip off the wet form then let the building block dry in the sun. When fairly solid, turn the building block on its side to dry thoroughly.

    The advantage to the mud is that it will prevent the oak from decomposing by keeping air out. The advantage of the oak is that it will make the blocks lighter and thus faster to build you building. Dropping the oak in the form saves you the effort of mixing so much mud.

    You could make your building blocks any size that you want assuming that your oak pieces fit in the form. You could make several forms in a row of blocks using long pieces of 2 x 6’s (for example) to speed up the work even more. A little shed project with a rubble trench foundation could reveal the possibilities. Building with adobe/oak blocks could be a lot of fun.
     
    Greg Payton
    Posts: 33
    2
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Thank you so far guys! Some good input! Can I offer some additional thoughts on my situation?

    The brick idea is really cool, but it's not very sunny here much of the time and I do have a big barn that would be neat to use it with...

    So yeah, I have a really big barn. I'd like to turn the entire open area into livings space. The open space is about 80 feet by 60 feet. One problem I have is that the hayloft above it doesn't extend out far enough so I have to build it out all the way in order to get a ceiling.

    The floor suggestion is really cool, but I would have to figure out a way to automate the process to simply stay sane since I would need SO many bricks.... but I like it! Especially if I coat it in polyurethane or something to make it smooth since we can't deal with dog pee soaking into that..... 😄

    I really doubt I can do the floor like I'd like. I really would rather use wood brick than cement, but yeah, I feel like it would be overwhelming. 🥲  But heck maybe we can figure it out?
     
    Posts: 37
    13
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Greg Payton wrote:I was hoping to get some ideas of what one might use these for?



    Charcoal or Wood Gasification

    Easiest / cheapest  ...... Gary Gilmore charcoal gasification.  Here is an intro to get you started.



    Pro Bonus Tip.   ......  Charcoal that is not suitable for engine fuel can be repurposed for cooking.  Small fines and dust can be soaked in anaerobic digester effluent or other organic fertilizer to make a slow release direct soil amendment.

    Wood Gasification.  More complex but double the recovered power.  Flash001usa .... "Flashifier".  Step by step build videos.  30 or so in all.

    Run video




    Best forum  to learn .......  Drive on Wood.  http://forum.driveonwood.com/



    Hope this helps



    2021.09.04 edit.  Substituted better flash youtube video.

     
    gardener
    Posts: 3122
    1289
    personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
    • Likes 5
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    For me, in our situation, with our steep hills, I'd start with putting them to work as stair steps, down the hill, to our pond & stepping 'stones' in the garden.
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 1670
    Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
    434
    • Likes 5
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    What to do? First, do a happy dance. This is a grand resource. You are keeping it from the burn pile or the landfill. This is an opportunity to do good things.

    I see they are heavily checked (cracked) so probably not a kiln dry. More like dunnage for trucking. I don't see them as furniture material.

    If you're in a cold climate, a wood floor in an outdoor workshop is glorious. Dry wood is insulation, and it really helps keep your feet warm. People with horses often put a wood floor over top of concrete -- for warmth and happy hooves.

    Wood stove people, in some locales, will pay for this. If they are burning softwoods and light hardwoods, this is the material they want to bank the night fire.

    More to come ... let me sleep on it.
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 859
    Location: NW California, 1500-1800ft,
    206
    hugelkultur dog forest garden solar wood heat homestead
    • Likes 4
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I like the outdoor step/stair suggestion as a former trail worker. They could be used for lots of path building and drainage and erosion prevention projects like check dams etc. I also would use them like bricks/stone for raised bed and terrace edging. I’d generally put the outside flush and the irregular sides facing the soil, but maybe a step would be useful in taller walls. The flush side could be secured with wood or metal braces, or some kind of adhesive. The idea of a fungal inoculation forming a bond also comes to mind with no idea of how feasible it might be. It’s also always good for hugels and firewood if nothing else, so congratulations of finding this great resource!
     
    Posts: 107
    Location: California Zone 10b / Wyoming Zone 3b
    8
    building woodworking homestead
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Endgrain flooring used to be common in workshops and it seems like a good use for what you have.
     
    Greg Payton
    Posts: 33
    2
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I should qualify, these are not as cracked or dry when we first get them. They are mostly dry, but they still have a yellow/gold/orange color and such greyness/dryness happens after sitting outside for nearly a year.
     
    Greg Payton
    Posts: 33
    2
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Hey Mark Cunningham, wood gasifiers have always been interesting to me, but I haven't been sure how to maximize them. One thing I have always wanted to see is a wood gasifier setup that does THREE things in a unified setup - is this possible???

    1. Cooking
    2. Boiling water to turn a turbine and produce electricity
    3. Collect the water back out for use in a home and and farm (and even use it for defrosting solar panels and passive blacktop roof water heaters and other things during the winter)
    (BONUS: 4. Recycle unused water back into the system to reduce waste & probably need a way to clean out hardwater deposits)

    This wood gasifier usage might be the best use for this wood if there's some effective ways to use this as such!
     
    Mark Cunningham
    Posts: 37
    13
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Greg Payton wrote:Hey Mark Cunningham, wood gasifiers have always been interesting to me, but I haven't been sure how to maximize them. One thing I have always wanted to see is a wood gasifier setup that does THREE things in a unified setup - is this possible???

    1. Cooking
    2. Boiling water to turn a turbine and produce electricity
    3. Collect the water back out for use in a home and and farm (and even use it for defrosting solar panels and passive blacktop roof water heaters and other things during the winter)
    (BONUS: 4. Recycle unused water back into the system to reduce waste & probably need a way to clean out hardwater deposits)

    This wood gasifier usage might be the best use for this wood if there's some effective ways to use this as such!




    You might be confusing steam power with pyrolysis.

    Steam power would be a great use for your wood chunk resource.  But the available machinery and knowledge base around steam has atrophied.  It is my understanding that steam power is more efficient.   Some folks swear by it.

    Wood/Charcoal gasification (pryolysis) is converting bio mass into gasses that can be consumed by an internal combustion engine.  The advantage of I.C. engines is that there is a much larger knowledge / support base and they are ubiquitous.

    {minor hijack on}

    We have lots of "trash" wood where we are at.  Specifically Katuray and Malungay.  We have a small orchard of the stuff.  The flowers, leaves,  and beans we eat.  The rest of the soft parts we feed to live stock.  

    https://www.jbsolis.com/2018/07/herbal-medicinal-plant-katuray-benefits.html
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesbania_grandiflora

    http://www.medicalhealthguide.com/articles/malunggay.htm
    https://www.philippineherbalmedicine.org/malunggay.htm


    The woody part is  too soft to be used in building or for implement handles / furniture.  The caloric/tar content and our humid climate are such that direct wood gasification is difficult.  So we charcoal it in a smoke-less retort.  

    Here is a video of the inventor demonstrating it.  All the credit goes to him.  I just followed his lead because his climate and materials match ours.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6HWtknE0vk


    The best charcoal is sieved out for diesel irrigation/threshing/milling/hauling machines.  Here is his example of the most common agricultural engine in use in our area.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYUvU38F5Sg

    The next lower quality charcoal is stored for cooking.  Part of that we convert to "activated carbon" for filters and medicinal purposes.

    The smallest fines and dust are either added to our grow beds directly, or steeped in fertilizer and then added.

    {/minor hijack off}


    Hope this clarifies.
     
    Greg Payton
    Posts: 33
    2
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Thank you, I guess I am thinking of COMBINING the methods. I have been enchanted by steam or boiler systems and have a lot of old books about these systems from the 1800s and early 1900s. It appears that they are REMARKABLY efficient, but yes, no one uses them today out of it appears, partly, a fear of "explosions" and varied dangers. It appears that most of these fears are not well founded (some of the problem appears to be propaganda from oil and gas-auto industry), but they are there nonetheless.

    Hot/warm water is a huge energy consumer and this could help reduce a lot of traditional costs, especially for very big families and multi family housing. We have such a situation.
     
    Posts: 205
    Location: Tip of the Mitt, Michigan
    21
    monies cooking building
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Hi, This is a little out of the box but if your supply is truly unlimited then you might make an accent wall out of them Then turn that wall into a business. Showcase the wall and charge others to make one for them.  I don't have a picture but I saw it on one of the remodeling shows, kind of an artistic looking wall.
     
    Posts: 27
    2
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    This thread is very helpful, in my area there is a lumber-mill that often needs to get rid of big chunks of log. they are round and almost 40 pounds each. Most people take them for firewood.
    Have you heard of Cordwood? It is almost masonry, but with wood and mud(sometimes cement)!

    Here is an example of construction, getting the logs and taking off the bark takes up a lot of time. however with an available resource it may be much easier. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=py84kF3TSxg&list=PLEZ2hvCDKUpGMDn5qUGzf_SbwTJm63dIC&index=1&ab_channel=KrisHarbourNaturalBuilding

    There are many examples of this kind of construction.




    However the idea of working with cob or cement, mixing it and working with it has never been appealing to me. Does anyone know of a way you could do a similar method of construction, but with ONLY wood? Almost like a log cabin, but instead of using logs, using small chunks?
     
    Douglas Alpenstock
    pollinator
    Posts: 1670
    Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
    434
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Greg Payton wrote:I have been enchanted by steam or boiler systems and have a lot of old books about these systems from the 1800s and early 1900s. It appears that they are REMARKABLY efficient, but yes, no one uses them today out of it appears, partly, a fear of "explosions" and varied dangers. It appears that most of these fears are not well founded (some of the problem appears to be propaganda from oil and gas-auto industry), but they are there nonetheless.


    With all respect, the dangers of high-pressure steam are well known and the explosions are just that. There's a reason why boilers and steam generators have been regulated for more than a century. Each aspect -- engineering design, construction, operation, inspection and maintenance -- is  a potential failure point. I've done a lot of work in the pressure equipment industry, and it takes a huge effort to do it safely.

    But enough of my blather. Mythbusters had some fun with it. Let's blow something up. Boom! Squish!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbreKn4PoAc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGWmONHipVo

    gift
     
    Common Weeds And Wild Edibles Of The World (HD video)
    will be released to subscribers in: soon!
    reply
      Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic