ProVillage


‘Ecological’ – What is that? – Part II

‘Ecological’ – the sustainability approach – Part II (of VI)

Well, there is no certain answer, but it all depends on many factors as told in Part I;

A chipboard factory uses a lot of energy. The release of formaldehyde from the particleboards are a great concern.
A chipboard factory

1) The chip-boards, or particleboards, are usually made from chips of some waste from some saw-mill or such. The glue is a combination of chemicals and the process of making chip-boards uses a lot of energy. The laminate is plastic. You maybe need to replace this kind of table-top every 25 years.
The release of formaldehyde from the particleboards is also a great concern.

2) To saw a stone into measure and to make the final product smooth and the edges round = a lot of energy needed. The durability of the stone can be hundreds of years, if the house does not burn or somebody smash it down with a hammer.

Saw-mills has often also kiln and drying facilities.
A saw-mill

3) To make it from hardwood by yourself:
a)
To buy a ready-glued sheet of hardwood, sawn into the dimensions needed. Then just sand the edges and such and coat it with something, or maybe just oil it. The coating has to be such that it will not give the food, or what ever you make on that table-top, any toxins. All sorts of lacquers or paint do not fit a kitchen. [To paint hardwood is a crime against humanity.]

If the logs are lying unbarked during summer, there is a great risk of mold, blue-stain and insect attacks.

The logs should not lay directly on the ground.
If the logs are lying unbarked during summer, there is
a great risk of mold, blue-stain and insect attacks.

b) You buy hardwood boards. The boards are sawn with some amount of energy. The planks are put into a kiln and dried in a chamber specially built for that purpose.
You can use different hardwoods, in order to get different colour-patterns, to suit your thoughts of architecture and design. You need water-resistant glue, but considerably less than is used in chip-boards. You need quite many tools in order to press the boards together, plain and sand them. Then you need to coat it. After 25 years, you might to need to sand your table-top and coat it again.


A table-top of birch for a desk, size 100 cm by 200 cm

c) You buy fresh hardwood boards directly from the saw-mill. Or as we aim to do; make the logging, then saw the logs with a DIY-band-sawmill. The logs are through-sawn – still not squared. [You can also square them before drying. They dry faster but tend to be curved sideways. We will write later about “How to square hardwood”]

Stacking non-squared boards on sticks in a shady place. The drying process takes 6 - 12 months when dried out-doors.
You stack the non-squared boards on sticks in a shady place. Depending on the thickness and what time of the year you have sawn the logs, the drying process takes 6 – 12 months when dried out-doors.

Planing birch

After that you have to square the boards and re-stack the boards inside a place which is constantly warm and dry. There the wood should dry for months, depending on the temperature. A minimum is about 4 – 9 months.

A stack of birch is opened and the first furniture components are selected for gluing the steps of the stairs that are under construction.

This can sound like a very time-consuming way to proceed, but after the first time, and when keeping the process continuous, you always have dry wood at your disposal. It is the cheapest and most energy efficient way to make any furniture.

The downside is that you need to buy a lot of tools and equipment to produce everything needed from scratch – from unsquared boards, that is. But to manage making different things from wood is a great hobby and very useful to learn and teach the kids.
Also teach your spouse, so that when you hear nagging about “we should buy this or that”, you can show where the tools are. Believe me; DIY makes wonders in a person’s personality. A silent spouse is something to have.

To be continued…

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Ecological – what is that? – Part I

1) A product that uses less energy than the other is not necessarily ecological. How’s that?
2)
A table top of stone is not necessarily ecological. How’s that?
3)
A wooden table is not necessarily ecological. How’s that?

Now for some provocative questions: You need to have a new table-top near your kitchen sink.
What is the best solution?

1) To buy a laminated chip-board.
2) To buy a table-top of stone.
3) To DIY.

kitchen table-top, what is the best ecological solution?
An ecological product has to be seen as a whole process.

We have to consider:
– How much (non-renewable) energy has been used when it is produced?
– How much energy is needed when the product is used?
– The usability of the product – and is it really needed? Or is it just standing and taking space in the garage?
– Can it be self-made? Can it be made of recycled materials?
– How long is the life-time of the product?
– Can it be easily disassembled to usable raw-materials when it has ‘served out’?
– What can it, or parts of it, be used to when it can’t be used anymore in its original function?

Chip-board - stone - glulam, ecological tabletop solutions
Ecological – chip-board, stone or self-made?

To be continued…

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