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Post in a bag - preservation without toxic gick - keep it dry  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
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This is so dead simple that it must have been mentioned before. Rather than poisoning the end of building poles that are under a roof and will never see rain, wrap them really well. Pond liner scraps seem a logical choice. The liner could be glued or nailed to the pole and then wrapped around and glued to itself. Leave enough at the bottom to allow it to be glued and folded up so that it's 4 layers thick under the post. This should prevent puncture. For added protection, a couple of those really thick bags that are used for sand and soil could go over the post before the liner is applied.

Done properly, a post could sit in muck without harm. If done within a building that has good drainage, the entire post would reach the same humidity level as the rest of the home. Even if the liner were somehow punctured, the small amount of humidity entering the wound would easily wick upwards. I'm assuming that most of us are bright enough to never have liquid water under our homes.

The most vulnerable spot is the bottom of the post. Care should be taken to ensure that there are no sharp rocks there. A little clean sand should do it. Any rough spots on the post should be hit with a belt sander. The chainsaw cut should be rounded.

I'm confident enough in this idea to conduct a test. I have a grove of cottonwoods about 8 inches on the base that needs thinning. This is a very rot prone wood. I will use this method with no other treatment for poles in a little structure. One post will be a non load bearing test pole. After a few years, I'll extract it and show the results.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Simply put Dale, it sounds great...but it does not work, compared to traditional methods. Anything that we as humans plan to be "water proof" inevitably isn't. Any kind of "warping" method only traps interstitial moisture and promotes decomposition. I can't tell you how many times I have seen exactly what you described tried (or similar) and they all fail within 5 to 10 years.

If folks spent more time really studying and trying to understanding what was done before them and less time trying to "reinvent the wheel," they would be much better off (and more efficient with their time.) Every great "break through" that I have ever seen in just about every discipline of "art and science" was firmly rooted in a traditional modality, just changed a little. From the "fire piston" we got the diesel engine...perfect example of old supporting new.

If you do the test Dale that would be great, but make sure you have traditional methods and just a plan post as controls next to yours for comparison, otherwise the "test" is a little hard to substantiate.

Sorry...I seem to be "mucking" up many of you suggestions as of late.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Jay, have you seen it done with pond liner and two bags, in well drained soil ? I have no doubt that 6 mill poly would fail.

I will also include a test post with a creosote coating and one with nothing, as control subjects. The trees are all 13 years old and all growing within 100 ft. of the others.

How old are you Jay ? We need to have a wager that involves one of us eating a bug and posting a photo. It's cottonwood saplings. This is one step above celery. Would 5 years be a reasonable test period ?
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Dale,

I am 53 (in Native years as we go by seasons) and eat bug as often as not when they are around and tasty. (Stir Fry veggie and crickets is great!! or almost as good earthworm omelets or chocolate chip cookies with mealworms...emmmmhhh.) so me eating even a grubs is not unusual. (My diet can even get stranger depending on where I may travel...so food bets are way out of your league with me I do believe...have you ever eaten 300 year old egg?)

Now for the experiment...please don't use creosote...that is not as traditional as many think it is. Use one of the charring, pine tar, and/or oiling methods. I have written several outlines on treating post bottoms here at Permies. Its one of the topics I hope to make a "stand alone article," very soon.

Oh ya, your question...yes I have seen pond liner used, on porch post backfilled with an allegedly draining clay soil...rotted off at grade level. As well as, several other "guaranteed waterproof" and "will not allow rot and moisture to get in wrapping, painting and epoxying methods...all failed. Now if your site is as protected as it sounds, I doubt that any of the treated posts will show signs of rot in even 20 years, let alone 5, so I am not sure if that site may be the best...as we may both be too senile to remember it by the time you dig them up...

Regards,

j
 
Dale Hodgins
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I have never tried any of those culinary delights. A few times I discoverd half a worm in an apple. I think you win that one. When I was a kid, I tried leach fishing with my arm as bait. My mom vetoed the taste test. She fed them to chickens.

I eagerly await your treatment guide.

Check out the sawdust floor thread.
 
Edith Stacey
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Location: Pender Island, British Columbia, Canada
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Hi Dale:

What is it with you and pond liner? Did you score half a warehouse of it or something? Hardly qualifies as a natural material I wouldn't have thought.

Kinda reminds me of advice I got when first returning to New Zealand after 25 years in Canada when I got my first property after renting for 3 years..."Plant Abyssinian banana [Ensete ventricosum]--great for producing your own biomass". Yup, great for that--soared to about 10 metres in less than two years, looked very tropical, got severely wind whipped, and took a lot of effort to cut down--destroying the clothes I was wearing. [Do you know how to get banana juice stains out of cotton T-shirts? Easy, use scissors.]

Then I had banana seedlings popping up all over the yard for the next 7 years.
Everytime I weeded them--pull and drop I muttered the same mantra: "oh look, great biomass".

Older, but (a bit) wiser.

Edith
 
Mike Cantrell
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bee books duck food preservation forest garden hunting solar trees
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Dale Hodgins wrote:This is so dead simple that it must have been mentioned before. Rather than poisoning the end of building poles that are under a roof and will never see rain, wrap them really well.
<...>
I'm confident enough in this idea to conduct a test.

Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Simply put Dale, it sounds great...but it does not work, compared to traditional methods. Anything that we as humans plan to be "water proof" inevitably isn't.
<...>
If you do the test Dale that would be great <...>

Dale Hodgins wrote:How old are you Jay ? We need to have a wager that involves one of us eating a bug and posting a photo.

Jay C. White Cloud wrote:I am 53 (in Native years as we go by seasons) and eat bug as often as not when they are around and tasty.
<...>
Oh ya, your question...yes I have seen pond liner used, on porch post backfilled with an allegedly draining clay soil...rotted off at grade level.

Dale Hodgins wrote:I have never tried any of those culinary delights.
I eagerly await your treatment guide.
Check out the sawdust floor thread.


I swear, the two of you are my absolute favorite people on Permies this year. Hilarious.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Mike Cantrell wrote:
Dale Hodgins wrote:This is so dead simple that it must have been mentioned before. Rather than poisoning the end of building poles that are under a roof and will never see rain, wrap them really well.
<...>
I'm confident enough in this idea to conduct a test.

Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Simply put Dale, it sounds great...but it does not work, compared to traditional methods. Anything that we as humans plan to be "water proof" inevitably isn't.
<...>
If you do the test Dale that would be great <...>

Dale Hodgins wrote:How old are you Jay ? We need to have a wager that involves one of us eating a bug and posting a photo.

Jay C. White Cloud wrote:I am 53 (in Native years as we go by seasons) and eat bug as often as not when they are around and tasty.
<...>
Oh ya, your question...yes I have seen pond liner used, on porch post backfilled with an allegedly draining clay soil...rotted off at grade level.

Dale Hodgins wrote:I have never tried any of those culinary delights.
I eagerly await your treatment guide.
Check out the sawdust floor thread.


I swear, the two of you are my absolute favorite people on Permies this year. Hilarious.


Thank you Mike. You are obviously a man of taste and intellect. A lot of crazy ideas are presented on these pages. Jay nips some of the wildest stuff in the bud. I'm a tougher nut to crack, since I think all of mine through before posting and I've had good results in the past with unorthodox ideas, business and lifestyle. I agree with most of Jay's critiques of plans posted by others. Knowing that he's there, ready to pounce, I always read my stuff over carefully in preparation. I'm sure he'll catch me a few more times yet, and that's a good thing. I give myself plenty of effusive praise whenever I hit upon another world saving idea. Jay not only looks for holes in our grand plans, he offers constructive ways to clean them up. This is very important for some of the young rabble and it's good for me too. I don't go down without a fight, since every idea is like one of my children being turned out to face the world.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Well said Dale...thank you!
 
Edith Stacey
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Location: Pender Island, British Columbia, Canada
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Nothing to do with post in a bag, or insulation, but in the bigger arena of basic shelter, this example is getting a workout by the inhabitants
.....



Edith
 
Dale Hodgins
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Hi Edith. Pond liner is a very useful product. I like it due to it's durability. I tend to take each topic and beat it to death. (they didn't like that in the capital punishment thread ) I've got more uses for it. I've decided to build a water tower from excavated materials, to build a big cone. The top will be flattened and hollowed out to make a pond up there. The garden then gets watered from this crater lake. I'm seeking out sources of scrap rubber for small projects.
 
Sean Rauch
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Dale I like the enthusiasm but I gotta say if there is one rule we've learned over the last 50 years of building it's that encasing bio matter in a plastic bag is a recipe for failure. Once moisture starts to get in either through wicking, ambient humidity or just leaking the wood will start to rot and once it starts rotting in those circumstances it goes fast.

I personally really like non organic foundations because they are far more resistant to water than wood or the like.

Think about it your putting wood in an open, upturned bag. So one crack in the wood post over time from drying or pressure and you have a place for water to run. Same theory as why cordwood walls fail with time.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Sean Rauch wrote:

Think about it your putting wood in an open, upturned bag. So one crack in the wood post over time from drying or pressure and you have a place for water to run. Same theory as why cordwood walls fail with time.


Cracks in the wood have no bearing on membrane failure. These posts are on the inside of a heated building and not exposed to rain. The wood is not encased completly. There's a whole post inside a dry house to wick out any moisture that's there during construction. After that, it will stay just as dry as the wooden doors and furniture.

I'm going to drop the trees before they leaf out in the spring. I'll leave them to grow leaves that will suck the log dry and then I'll remove the limbs and bark. They are near a hugel bed that can be expanded with all leftovers.
IMAG3547.jpg
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John Pollard
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I was thinking about putting my posts (indoor timber frame) in plastic barrels.
6" of gravel/cobbles with post sitting on top, then gravel packed around to top of barrel, then ? ?
Maybe top it off with a thin layer of concrete or just bring the earthen floor right up to the post.
The way I'm designing my frame, I don't need to worry about keeping the post upright.
Just need to keep the bottom from kicking out if the New Madrid fault decides to shift.
Could probably cut a barrel in half and get two post pails from each.
Might also need a doubled layer of 2" by 10", one layer adjacent to the other, cut in the shape of a circle to spread the load of the timber out to the full barrel diameter.
 
Dale Hodgins
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This could be done with 5 gallon plastic food pails.

- Prepare the hole with compacted sand in bottom. Set pail in sand. One shovel of wet concrete could seat it there.
- Put 2 thick plastic bags over bottom of post.
- Fill the pail with 4 inches if concrete.
- Stand post in hole, level it and brace in place.
- Fill the pail with concrete.
- Backfill the hole with gravel or concrete.

We now have 3 layers of protection plus a concrete puncture guard. One plastic pail and 2 plastic bags. Shifting rocks can't penetrate concrete.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Dale, et al,

I can follow your logic Dale, and (please don't take this the wrong way buddy,) from a novice view point, it makes perfect sense. Alas, if you address all interstitial issues that could/can go on, the logic falls apart.

Encapsulation in part or entirety is seldom (if ever) successful with wood. You can take a piece of well air dried maple and cut it in half and wrap the other piece up in "shrink wrap" plastic and it will often (very often) mildew under the wrap. I have seen this in my own work space as well as others on furniture that did not ship soon enough to get unwrapped. Why? Because no matter how "well wrapped", encapsulated or covered...short of dipping in wax (which we have learned empirically and through research testing) is the only way to achieve 100% sealing. Unfortunately this is a very weak finishing agent that can be compromised easily both thermally and mechanically.

Please continue with the experiment, but as already noted in my hypothesis of your experiment, you are, going to still get some level of decay (if not complete decay) in the encapsulated portion of the post. This will occur from normal ambient humidity collecting and potentially condensing on the liner material, the normal starches present in the wood naturally that feeds fungal growth, and the nature of fungal activity in wood (which is always present) in general.

I would also note that the old folklore about sape falling in winter is just that...lore. Most species of tree in the colder climates have as much or more sap in them in winter than they do summer. I must also point out that removing the bark as soon as possible after felling, will do more for rapid drying than will allowing them to sit and leaf out which is more a hormonal response to photoperiods than a drying effect, and can also allow ever present fungus to start developing their mycelium which then can lay dormant for long periods (1000 years?) before reactivating.


The idea of backfilling the "posting hole" with stone and gravel is excellent. If the foundation is dug well and has the proper drain paths established there is not need for the barrels or buckets, as these could trap water. I will not that some have placed post in buckets and barrels both of salt water and tannin to preserve and protect the bottom of posts. The results of this have never been seen as successful or any better than other simpler (and dryer) traditional methods.

Regards,

j
 
Dale Hodgins
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I have just found a chink in my own armor. There is going to be a temperature gradient in the post. The part in the air of the room will almost always be warmer than the buried portion that is in cool soil. Basement walls sweat when warm, moist air is cooled and the water condenses. The bottom of a post could be at or below the dew point.

This leads me to think that the bucket alone might be a better option than using it with a tight wrapping. This would give protection from lower water or vapor, but the post could still breathe. Based on this worry about temperature gradient and condensate, I'm going to move this experiment to a lesser structure that will cost less and not break the bank if it fails.

--- Jay, there's no point in telling me what can't be done unless you can point out a mechanism by which it will fail. I must have proof, and I think I've worked it out.
--- He's a very knowledgeable guy, but it's hard to wring a scientific answer out of him. Those wrapped posts were the liner was thought to have leaked, may have had perfectly sound membranes, that trapped condensate perfectly.

I have seen bags of cement go hard when stored on concrete floors that never get wet. When stored on a scrap of plywood, everything is fine. I've heard it said that moisture came up from below the slab on these floors that have a plastic membrane beneath. It seems more likely that the cool floor condenses and absorbs moisture from the air and that it shares this moisture with the bag of cement. It would also cool the cement, thus allowing it to condense it's own moisture.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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