Just read, "Whole Tree Construction Creates Unique Interiors" in farm show, Vol 34, No 5, 2010. The company Whole Trees Architecture uses who trees for structural components, as well as interior decorating, and they say it competes with steel and concrete. "Whole trees are 50% stronger in axial loading and bending than milled lumber of comparable size. Milling, they found, removes the strongest and outermost layers of the tree that are pretensioned and resist wind shear." When trees are chosen, they are girdles, bark-peeled, and allowed to dry in place for 6 months+. By then it will lose up to 50% of its weight in water. Trees lost to insect infestation are just fine to use--it doesn't matter how the tree dies, just how long it has rotted since it died. This is also cool because when people clear trees in order to build a house in a wooded area, they can use the very trees they cut down.
Joined: Jun 06, 2010
Location: Fairfield, IA
I've met them and know people who are working with them. The buildings are amazing and beautiful. Roald's forresting techniques seem sound. We have a problem with black locusts where I'm from and they're very hard to kill, but his bark stripping technique works well, and a year later you've got building materials!
Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
I am itching to sell my property on Vancouver Island so I can take my money shopping in the interior of the province where we've had millions of trees die from pine beetle. They only attack the cambium layer leaving the rest of the wood intact. On Crown land the stumpage rate is five cents per cubic meter. This is basically free they just want you to keep track. There are plenty of opportunities to charge people to take down the dead pines near their homes and that's the route I'll take. Post-and beam with their cordwood cob infill would make good use of this limitless resource. Pines that have been killed by fire are also useful for infill. It only takes a few years for dead trees to rot so there's a time limit here. Update – – – I've started developing my property on the island and am no longer itching to sell. Things change. I'm still looking for property in the interior and will finance against my current location. Meanwhile millions of perfectly good trees are rotting.