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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:40 pm 
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The next step is usually pre-cutting to get your straw bits down to less than an inch so you can chop them into coconut-sized bits with your food processor. One contributor who makes his coconut from these wreaths cuts them once to make them into a "log," then feeds the log through a jig he's made that's kind of like a mitre box, using an ubersharp hand saw to cut the straw to >1" links.

I'm working on an article with more detailed information, but I wanted to give you a preview:

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:45 pm 
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For several of my readers, the next step involves dropping the stuff in a blender or food processor to get it down in size. Generally the first time or two you have to keep stopping the blender to shake the un-chopped stuff down on the blades. You chop, sift out the dust, chop, sift out the dust, chop, sift, and finally, chop, sift out the dust, then sift out the big pieces. Then you're ready for dyeing, not dying, although someone told me that to a lot of coconut makers, life is sift, and then you dye.

No photos of the blender stage yet, sorry.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:50 pm 
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For most do-it-yourself coconut makers, dyeing is the next stage. Or bleaching, if you want white coconut. for either, you get the stuff damp - it takes the color or bleach better that way. One way to dye is to use Rit dye. Use a bit of very warm water, a teaspoon or less of dye (to start out), and put on a lid to let set for a half hour.
With bleach, you still get the straw bits damp, but you pour bleach straight on. Don't let it sit for more than a half hour, or the bleach may take the shiny away. In both cases you rinse thoroughly, then press out the extra moisture. Next stop: Drying.

When I told you that the secret of coconut was cellulose and hard work, you really didn't believe me did you?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:28 pm 
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LOVE the straw saw!! :) I'm going to have to work that into my method for sure!!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:33 pm 
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Brian, we have more on the straw saw on this page now:

http://cardboardchristmas.com/html/coco ... rials.html


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:50 pm 
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Great start to the info in the coconut section.

Thanks Paul.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:51 pm 
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Just was reminded that it was Barbara Lovejoy who coined the name "coconut." The article gives her credit now. :-) Thanks, Barb.

I broke the individual subtopics on this forum into separate topics to make it easier to report on one aspect or another without making this particular "topic" sixteen pages long. :-)

Thanks, all who've contributed.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:23 pm 
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I just read Paul's large article on the making of coconut. He's makes it
sound pretty simple. LOL There are three main hurdles that even I haven't
been able to get over. If someone could break the code on getting
large quantities of CLEAN raw material we could haft the time needed
to manufacture coconut. If we found the right CHOPPER to CUT the
Coconut we could save a bundle of time. If you find a process for
making PURE WHITE COCONUT and retain any of it's original glitter/shine
fast and easy we'd save some time. If anyone finds solutions to these
problems I'll be glad to share other tips. The coloring of coconut is where
the magic of coconut making really takes patients, experimentation and
a small knowledge of chemistry and esthetic art. Coconut by it's characteristics
needs to be shinny. Things like Rice Hulks have none at all. Maria once
sent me a short YouTube video of an Asian man hacking away at a hand full
of rice stalks. You could tell from the 2 videos that the straw is very
dark and a total absents of shine. You can buy some here:
http://www.modernmastersinc.com/product ... up&gid=103
That eliminates Warasusa (Rice Straw). We have the right family
of plants we just don't have the one that the Japanese used. Maybe it's
Stipa Tenuissim? That's my next experiment! We're missing transparency!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:57 pm 
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Hey Pete! I recently had really good luck with a fairly large batch of PURE WHITE coco that didn't loose its shine. It was used on my latest two 10th ave houses if you want to check it out. I may have a few ideas for you, may or may not work with your process. Im still working on chopping of course, but I like a few of the ideas Paul has recently put fourth in his articles. I think Im going to try and get the Ninja blender and straw saw that was contributed on my next batch.
Im still having a problem with light blue coco too, I think Im going to have to start off with white coco instead of raw.???

Definitely not simple!! Several hours goes into making one decent sized batch!

Thanks for the input!!
-Brian


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:50 pm 
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Pete, thanks for chiming in. I was secretly hoping that you'd got around those hurdles so you weren't sweating blood over each batch like the rest of us.

Notice the name of the main article includes the words "hard work."

I didn't even report on all the things folks have tried and utterly failed with - different kinds of chopping tools, different kinds of prepreocessing, and so on. The Ninja multiple blade food processors are incrementally better than traditional food processors or blenders, but they're not exactly the perfect solution.

Considering that the Japanese who built the original houses did not exactly have a lot of resources, I can only imagine how they chopped the stuff.

My hope is that having articles that go a little deeper than the internet's average articles on putz houses will get some of the folks who don't get all that involved more excited about the hobby. And they'll tell their friends, and they'll tell their friends, and so on. We'll see.

In the meantime, we'll try not to burn out our blenders. :-)


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Note: All content on this forum is Copyright (c) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 by Paul D. Race
and by the posters who have contributed specific content. All material is for your personal use only. No content
or plans may be republished or sold, nor may any plans be used to make products to sell without prior written
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