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First experiments on drilling inoculated dowels in logs  RSS feed

 
John Saltveit
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I have just started this, so I wanted to share some thoughts with others so they may use them or share different ideas with the rest of us, so we all benefit.

I got about half of my wood off of Craig's list in the local area.

The other half I got just by driving by someone's house and asking them, "do you want that wood? When was it cut? What kind is it?

I live in an area with a lot of forest and a lot of rain, so it is rather optimal.

I learned almost everything I know from Paul Stamet's books, mostly Growing GOurmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, but also Mycelium Running.

Videos and web sites like this are very helpful too.

Getting wax was harder than I thought. To daub it, I just used a fairly large kid's paint brush with no width. It worked well. If you buy a "starter kit" from mushroom people, which is a very good bargain anyway, you get a pound of free wax. One thing I will say about mushroom people's dowels. For some reason they are very soft, such that they sometimes won't go in the hole. I don't know why. Using a small metal hammer is fine so far with other dowels, but not with theirs. I have used the rubber mallet and just my thumb, which hurts pretty quickly.

Everything mushrooms has a good selection, but the shipping on $12 worth of dowels was $8. I may not be a repeat customer. They did give me a few extra. Field and Forest made a mistake on their order but they were very nice and more than made up for it quickly. I will reorder from them.

I will make an order from fungi perfecti, if only to say thanks for the books and videos. They are more expensive, but they might be worth it. I will order maitake, mycorrhizal and maybe others from them.

THe shipping is more expensive than the wax most of the time. Soy wax can be cheaper than cheese or bees wax, but you have to make sure that it is ok for people and non-toxic.

Drilling and filling is going fine. However, I have gone through many drill bits. The cobalt ones from Hansen are the best I've used yet. I would definitely use a heavy duty drill bit if you can find one. At $8 a pop, I'm on my fifth so far and about half done. Learning how to sharpen a drill bit is looking like a good skill right now. When they wear out the keep spinning on the bark and don't enter. I don't have time for that. Cheap drill bits burn out amazingly fast and your work is over.

I like the tiny can of wax in a larger can of water in a pot routine, because the tiny can doesn't tip over. Waxing is fun. You can do it while the kids are sleeping because unlike drilling or hammering, it doesn't make any noise.

I have planted mushroom "trees" with most of my oysters. Shiitake is going on a pallet. I may bury or partially bury my reishi or maitake. Lion's mane will be a mushroom tree.

I need to get done quickly because the aronia and quince are leafing out, so grafting season is upon us.

I am excited. Gourmet food and medicine at blue collar prices and permaculture point of view.
John S
PDX OR


 
Miles Flansburg
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John, what type of bits are you using? Got a picture?
 
John Saltveit
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Like I said, they are the heavy duty cobalt bits from Hansen. I don't have a picture. I may try a different bit to see if I can find one that lasts longer, but these last longer than others I"ve used.
John S
PDX OR
 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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John Saltveit
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I tried drill bits with a pointy thing like that. They sat there and spun, but didn't enter the wood. It was frustrating.

I love your suggestiion of Amazon, because they are much cheaper than my local hardware store. I wonder what the shipping will be.
Thanks
John
 
Judith Browning
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We have been using the same drill bit for six years. We ordered it along with our first batch of dowels from Field and Forest. We plug twenty to forty logs a year and it's still drilling fine but my husband resharpens it every year. We have our fifteen hundred plugs for this year in the refrigerator and all of the oaks flagged to cut, probably next week and we will plug first of March. We heat the wax in an old crock pot on low. Until this year we grew just wide range varieties, but this time we ordered a cold weather strain. We're just about out of dried ones...can't wait for the spring flush!
 
John Saltveit
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Hi Judith,
Do you know what kind of drill bit it is? I don't know how to sharpen drill bits, but at this rate, I'm getting motivated.
Thanks
John S
PDX OR
 
Judith Browning
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Hi, We bought the brad point bit for plug spawn from Field and Forest It is listed in the 2012 catalog as DB5 5/16 bit for $7.00 and the stop to fit is SC5 for $1.75. It didn't add much to the shipping for a large order but on it's own it might. We have never used the soft steel "economical" ones that they sell. To resharpen check for on line how to or my guy says at the library. He uses a grinder but it would be good for you to actually see it done...dont forget the eye protection! We are cutting a few trees today. My wrists and his back don't hold up very well to a lot of heavy work anymore so we will pick at this for a few weeks.
Good Luck!
 
John Saltveit
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Thanks Judith,
I have recently also found out that if I am careful not to let the drill bit get too hot, it lasts MUCH longer. So I drill like 3 holes, stop, then put in 3 dowels. Usually, especially this time of year, that's enough of a wait. Sometimes, I'll cut wood, check on the garden , do weights, or other activities while I wait. It makes a big difference.
John S
PDX OR
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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John Saltveit wrote:Thanks Judith,
I have recently also found out that if I am careful not to let the drill bit get too hot, it lasts MUCH longer. So I drill like 3 holes, stop, then put in 3 dowels. Usually, especially this time of year, that's enough of a wait. Sometimes, I'll cut wood, check on the garden , do weights, or other activities while I wait. It makes a big difference.
John S
PDX OR


We give out before our drill bit...it goes for a few hours. I am more worried about burning out my old drill. It is not a variable speed one...maybe this makes some difference? Our logs are drilled within two weeks of cutting (all are oak). Maybe yours are older and therefore harder?
 
John Saltveit
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I usually drill about one month after cutting, because I want to make sure that the live tree's anti-fungal chemicals have passed on. I would love to have oak, but I have no source other than asking people I see and Craig's list, so I use what I can get. Maitake, Lion's Mane and Shiitake on Maple. Pioppino and Oysters on Poplar. Reishi on Cherry. We also have an old one speed drill, cheap. People said I'd burn it out. Haven't yet. My wife, the physics teacher, said that letting it cool should help with less stress. Guy at the hardware store alluded to it getting too hot and then losing the tip.

I usually just wait 1-5 minutes to let it cool down. It's worked amazingly better so far.

I also have been drilling out in three steps for the 2 inch deep ones, drill, remove wood (2/3 inch), drill again (1 1/3 inch remove more wood) final drill. This especially on cherry , which is pretty hard wood.
JohN S
PDX OR
 
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