Oregon: Hemp Medium Density Fiberboard - Hemp Equals Jobs

Oregon Hemp History, Connecting the Past to the Future

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

Oregon: Hemp Medium Density Fiberboard - Hemp Equals Jobs In the early 1990's, C & S Specialty Builder's Supply (namely Bill Conde, Dave Seber, Barry Davis, and Tim Pate) in Harrisburg, Oregon, imported regulated bales of hemp and began working on a medium density fiberboard (MDF). The evolution of hemp MDF as a viable building supply option began when Bill Conde of C & S took their hemp fiber research and ideas to Paul Maulberg, the head of Washington State University's Wood Engineering Laboratory.

Conde explains in a 2005 Mycotopia blog, "We asked if [Maulberg] would consider trying some hemp fiber to make some experimental hemp MDF, and his reply was, 'You bet, hemp is the King Cong of fiber. I would love a chance to work with some."

Excitedly, Conde and team began the process working with Maulberg on creation and testing of the hemp MDF. It was soon discovered how strong the hemp fiber truly was, as the full-length hemp fibers jammed both of the processing machines and brought things to a standstill. The process for breaking down the fibers was redesigned and restarted with ultimate success.

Explaining the process in his blog, Conde says, "The shortened fiber was worked through their two mills and was made ready to be pressed into MDF." After being fluffed hemp fibers are dropped into a spinning drum where glue is sprayed to mix with the fibers. Glue and fiber are then placed into a hot press under high pressure. According to Conde, within two attempts they had exceeded all world standards for other types of MDF that used tree fiber.

"It proved to be two and one half times stronger than wood MDF composites, plus hemp composite boards have three times more elasticity than wood composite boards," said Lynn and Judy Osburn of the North Coast Xpress in 1994, regarding this subject. The hardened hemp boards were considered stronger than steel, with superior water, rot, insect and fire resistant properties.

"The industrial hemp entrepreneurs at C & S Specialty Builders Supply have concluded that the best alternative to wood in construction products is hemp," said Lynn and Judy Osburn. "They believe hemp has the potential to be vastly superior to wood for everything from lumber to plywood to particle board or any other composite construction material."

Oregon: Hemp Medium Density Fiberboard - Hemp Equals Jobs "In fact, the hemp fiberboard met or surpassed every standard industry test by Washington State University Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory (http://www.wmel.wsu.edu/ ) in Pullman," stated Tim Pate, when discussing the testing with Hemp News. The WSU laboratory has a long and illustrious history in wood composite materials, design and construction. Since its founding in 1949, the scope of the research, outreach and education programs of the laboratory has expanded beyond wood materials to include other natural fibers, polymers, inorganic cements, masonry and steel, according to the WSU website.

The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 2012 feels it is time to take this collaborative work one step further and develop hemp within the industrial community to help stimulate Oregon's struggling economy. Over time, hemp will add thousands of jobs within the building industry and reduce the deforestation currently taking place across the Pacific Northwest.

The OCTA 2012 will allow farmers to grow cannabis hemp for fuel, fiber and food. OCTA 2012 will also raise an estimated $140 million a year by taxing commercial cannabis sales to adults 21 years of age and older, and save an estimated $61.5 million in law enforcement, corrections and judicial attention so they can refocus on violent crimes and theft.

Ninety percent of the proceeds from OCTA will go into the state general fund, seven percent for drug treatment programs, one percent each for drug education in public schools, and two new state commissions to promote hemp biofuel, fiber and food.

References:

Composite Materials & Engineering Center - Wood Materials & Engineering Laboratory http://www.wmel.wsu.edu/

Hemp Medium Density Fiberboard http://forums.mycotopia.net/lifestyles/22439-hemp-medium-density-fiberbo...

Hemp Plywood Becomes a Reality http://www.ratical.org/renewables/plywood.html

Learn more: http://www.cannabistaxact.org

Video Footage: Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012 News Conference, Portland, Oregon, March 28, 2011