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Thread: wood ash

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    wood ash

    A month or so ago a local guy I know who has a garden in a section of a town plot asked if I had any ash from my woodstove. He said it's good for the soil. I gave him several bags that I had saved.
    I got a call from him today asking what the heck I burn in the stove. Hardwood, I told him. Well, it caused burns on his arms and hands. Hey, I'm not a gardener - I killed a cactus once - but a five minute online search told me that wood ash when mixed with water can become toxic.
    Live and learn, I guess.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battis View Post
    A month or so ago a local guy I know who has a garden in a section of a town plot asked if I had any ash from my woodstove. He said it's good for the soil. I gave him several bags that I had saved.
    I got a call from him today asking what the heck I burn in the stove. Hardwood, I told him. Well, it caused burns on his arms and hands. Hey, I'm not a gardener - I killed a cactus once - but a five minute online search told me that wood ash when mixed with water can become toxic.
    Live and learn, I guess.
    If I'm not mistaken, mixing wood ash with water is how they used to make lye.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master StuBach's Avatar
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    Good nugget if wisdom, hopefully that will be retained and known if ever needed. Thanks

  4. #4
    Boolit Master starnbar's Avatar
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    It is also how soap used to be made wood ash is one of the main ingredients for lye soap.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Just tell him you weren't aware of it . . . and that's no LYE! I'm betting that this would have been common knowledge a 150 years ago. I wonder if the guy knows that if he mixed cow manure into his garden soil from cattle that have been eating corn will cause him to have a bumper crop of field corn mixed in with his vegetables? "Ala succotash!"

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Been using wood ash from my wood stove in my garden for years. Works like lime and also adds micronutrients. Never get it on my hands as I just dump the full ash can on the garden all heating season then rototill it in spring. Also use some wood ashes when my long country gravel driveway get icy.

  7. #7
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    IIRC the lye made by leaching water through wood ash is Potassium Hydroxide, which is normally used for making soft soaps. Sodium Hydroxide (your typical drain cleaner) is used to make hard bar type soaps.

    When I was a kid, we just dumped the ashes from the stove in the garden, maybe spreading them a little as we dumped the bucket. There were usually a few live coals left in the ashes, so we never put them close to anything flammable.

    Robert

  8. #8
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    The town owns a pretty large old dairy farm, and they put aside a section for gardens ($15 per year). The gardeners get a good sized square and all summer long they work at it. Some people know what they're doing, others just like to be outside. I've given wood ash to other "farmers" and no one ever had a problem. They were the ones that knew what they were doing.
    And old timer once told me that back in the 20s (1920s) he played on a hockey team that made their ice rinks by spreading wood ash around the perimeter of the rink, then flooding it. The ash kept the water in place until it froze.

  9. #9
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    I may be wrong but I think wood ash and water is how mountain men and people of that sort tanned their animal hides.
    "People in Arizona carry guns," said Detective David Ramer, a Chandler police spokesman. You better be careful about who you are picking on...

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    Changes the soil Ph and adds 'body' to it. Trick shown to the settlers by the indians.
    If you use saw dust or chips to soil, add nitrogen fertilizer-wood uses nitrogen to decompose.
    Whatever!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tunnug View Post
    I may be wrong but I think wood ash and water is how mountain men and people of that sort tanned their animal hides.
    It is one method of removing the hair from hides.
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  12. #12
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    Works if you have acid soil, but if you have alkaline soil, it will make it even more so alkaline. Don't use the ash if you burn any coal.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Wood ash is a base rather than an acid. It will burn like lye if strong enough and is how they used to make soap back in the day.
    Yes, it can burn skin if concentrated enough.
    “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy Gtrubicon's Avatar
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    Here on the property we have a lot of black oak trees, they are a very large and beautiful tree. They are a host tree, or a mother tree as many in our area refer too them. When you cut one down, it doesn’t die. It continues to grow like a shrub, They are very ugly. Hundreds of sucker vines out of a stump as small as 12”. Several years ago I started dumping all our fire place ash on the freshly cut stumps, about an inch thick. It kills them dead as disco.

  15. #15
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    Ain't no used to about it. Lye made from wood (hardwood) ash is still how most lye soap is made. I have heard tell that sodium or potassium hydroxide can be purchased in hardware stores and works fine for soap. Cuts into the profits though.
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  16. #16
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    "Better living.............through chemistry!"

    True today - as well as 2 thousand years ago. I have a book somewhere that is 2.5" thick that lists all the "olde school" chemistry stuff people did to make living better. They did not call "stuff" by the chemical names as we do today, but by colloquial names everybody knew and could obtain from their local pharmacist and hardware store.

  17. #17
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    Potassium hydroxide plus wood ash equals Potash, a well known term here in New England.
    You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    I remember an old song from long ago about "Grandma's Lye Soap".
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bangerjim View Post
    "Better living.............through chemistry!"

    True today - as well as 2 thousand years ago. I have a book somewhere that is 2.5" thick that lists all the "olde school" chemistry stuff people did to make living better. They did not call "stuff" by the chemical names as we do today, but by colloquial names everybody knew and could obtain from their local pharmacist and hardware store.
    Sounds like "Hensley's Book of Formulas". I've looked at mine many times.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    Sounds like "Hensley's Book of Formulas". I've looked at mine many times.
    That is it!!!!!! Thanks. Now I just need to find it in the may thousands of books I have in the library shelves scattered in 5 different rooms of the house and shop.

    banger

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