[Strawbale]Fungus and beetles

fostertom at clara....uk fostertom at clara....uk
Tue Mar 1 20:03:49 CET 2005

Hello again. This is interesting.

First, in UK I'm glad to say it's not obligatory for carpenter/builders
to supply only treated timber, in fact treatment is usually done to
special order, as the timber merchants stock mainly untreated timber.
There are still many institutions (such as mortgage lenders) that
ignorantly insist on treated timber but the awareness is growing that
it's really unnecessary, at least for internal timber that will stay
dry. Commercially treated timber is bad because it forces you to live in
an environment full of copper, chrome, arsenic, organic poisons etc. It
should only be handled with gloves and waste timber should not be burnt.
Imported softwood will suffer fungus and insect attack if it stays wet
but readily available UK-grown softwoods such as Douglas Fir and Western
Red Cedar, plus the hardwoods such as Oak, have varying levels of
natural resistance, so can safely be used untreated, depending on their
location in the building.

Boron preservatives are easily obtained, for example ProBor

Waterglass - I didn't know that - thanks.

Slaked lime is also easily obtained, for example Calch Ty-Mawr
www.lime.org.uk. - but splashes badly burn the skin, so great care is
needed. Once dry and oxidised, it's harmless.

Check out www.aecb.net.

Best wishes,

Tom Foster B.Sc (Architecture) AECB
Tom Foster Architecture

-----Original Message-----
From: strawbale-admin at amper....muni.cz
[mailto:strawbale-admin at amper....muni.cz] On Behalf Of asbn
Sent: 01 March 2005 09:16
To: strawbale at amper....muni.cz
Subject: Re:[Strawbale]Fungus and beetles

Dear René

One answer is: be REALLY careful of wood fungus (dry rot) and wood worms
which become Hausbockkäfer/longicorn beetles (Hylotrupes bajulus)!,
the other is: No carpenter is allowed to sell such infected wood, each
imported wood has to be impregnated (sometimes looks like blue fungus),
so I
can´t imagine that your (new) wood is infected in such way.

If you don´t trust your carpenter, look for an expert opinion (another
carpenter or an expert witness), but ask your carpenter first.

As far as I know there are three (old and traditional) chemical ways of
impregnating wood for insects in an "ecological" way:
The first is boric salt (borsalz), you get it in pharmacies and
baubiologie-stores and it is cheap and solveable in water;
The other is potassium waterglass (Kaliwasserglas) is more expansive and
more on fireresistance-issues (so better forget that);
And another very cheap method is to lime-wash the wood (it really works
better with unslaked lime but this is awfully caustic).
It is hard to get unslaked lime because of its reactivity so you maybe
to look for it in botanical markets or at agriculture suppliers.

The first two methods are preventive and not methods to kill insects
effectively, which are already in the wood (this cannot be ecologic).
The third method is an old but still used one even to treat infected
(you surely have seen these white chalked trees somewhere).

And the constructive wood-protection is a heat-treatment as mentioned.
But the best way to prevent fungus and beetles is well dried wood.

Wood fungus and longicorn beetles are really serious problems for the
wood-market and there are strictly laws to prevent this.
So if your construction is officially done by a carpenter you have all
possibilities to get a new one if it is really infected.

Best wishes from Austria
Herbert Gruber, ASBN (Austrian Strawbale Network)

> To all,
> We are building our strawbalehome at this moment. The contractor who
> the contruction delivered some pillars witch were allready infected by
> fungus and insects. For the moment it is very stable, but I like to do
> something on it. So I thought about to impregnate the wood with an
> ecological product. Does somebody knows a good product to use or maybe
> another way?
> allready thanks
> René Aleschus, Belgium

    European strawbale building discussion list

Send all messages to:
Strawbale at amper....muni.cz

Archives, subscription options, etc:

More information about the Strawbale mailing list