Let's talk about cardboard Christmas houses and accessories

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:21 am 
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Years ago, "Papa" Ted Althoff was intrigued by that glistening, almost fuzzy-looking finish that shows up on so many prewar Japanese houses. He asked the community at large what they thought it was, and some of us have been researching on our own ever since.

Over four years later, I'm still not entirely sure how the Japanese got the effect they did. But I CAN report on things that I've tried, that readers have tried and told me about, or that I've seen discussed elsewhere. Yes, Pete Oehman seems to have it down to a science (http://cardboardputzhouses.com/marketpl ... conut.html), but I won't pry into his methods since he's counting on income from sales to help raise money for his research.

So the following "article," if I can grace it with that title, describes a range of materials and methods that seem to work for different people, with the hope that anyone who wants to try this at home has some idea where to start.

http://www.cardboardchristmas.com/html/ ... onut_.html

Also, I'll use this discussion page to collect feedback that I can later go back to refine the original article.

Happy putzing, all,

Paul


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:47 am 
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Hi there. Some straw--like the kind you find already made into little bales at craft stores--is coated; this coating per a friend prevents color from deeply saturating the stalk and should be removed before dying.

She just makes it a common practice of cleaning her stalks with a rag dipped in rubbing alcohol first; nothing special, just a few passes; she also uses inks to dye her straw as opposed to household dyes but then she is making very small batches.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:15 am 
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Thanks for the tip, Maria.

Has anyone found a good source for rice straw that has the darker outer layer taken off?

Or for rice straw in general? I see thousands of listings for products made from the stuff, but not many listings for the stuff itself.

Wheat straw I can get WAY more than I would ever need locally - one of the blessings of living in a heavily agricultural county.

Paul


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:11 pm 
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My friend bought a bunch of rice straw placemats at the dollar store and uses them as well as wheat straw items.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:52 pm 
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I've been looking for rice straw.
I never really found a source.

Be nice if there was an internet reseller of it.

Steve


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:19 pm 
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Holy SMOKES!! Nice work, and great article Paul! You definitely got all the basics on there as far as I can tell, I'm sure everybody has their own way of doing things, and finding a method that works best for each person can only come from experimentation. I only wish I had it down to a science like Pete does. I look fwd to hearing peoples attempts too. In my own attempt I have had several successes and several bags of unusable. Im still looking for a way to chop it up better. I get way too much dust and unusable raw material.. Almost 70% bad and 30% good after each chopping session. I recommend wearing a dust mask to anybody attempting to make it for obvious health reasons.
Several hours goes into each bag of usable that is for sure.
Can't wait to hear more people weigh in!
-Brian


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:42 pm 
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most of the rice straw sellers I have found on the net are large wholesalers but we'll keep looking

in the meantime, i came across this very interesting article about making paper from rice straw--thought I'd share in case anything jumps out at anyone http://bit.ly/1cMgeUO


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:48 pm 
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Steve,

I found a place in Pakistan that will ship me a container load of unprocessed rice straw, but I'm not sure I need that much. :-)

Apparently a lot of rice is grown in Northern California and the feed stores there carry rice straw in bales like they carry wheat straw in bales around here. Anyone in No Cal interested in starting an Etsy business? :-)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:03 pm 
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Interesting discussion. I remember WAY back when of having an online discussion with Ted of the possibility that the Japanese may have used rice straw for the coconut and he said no it was cellophane. So I never looked much further. I DID look up cellophane and must say it is more related to rayon than it is rice or wheat straw as it is made of a thick gooey product called VISCA. Yes it IS an extract of cellulose but it is just that - an extracted product and in no way in it's raw state resembles cellulose. In the case of Rayon it is run through a spinner to produce fine threads that are spun into larger threads that are woven into Rayon cloth. In the case of Cellophane it was an attempt by a Frenchman to make waterproof clothing. He painted the Visca to the material but when it dried it would peal off and that product intrigued him. He spent 10 years developing the machinery necessary to make cellophane (his name for it) and began producing it. It was a heavily patented process and he sold the rights to production with sales in North & South America to the Dupont corporation who already had their hand into cellulose with the production of gunpowder. The French company reserved the sales in the rest of the world to themselves. I have NO way of knowing if Cellophane was surreptitiously produced in Japan but I suspect it was. Some of the old cellophane has completely faded and some is as bright as the day it was installed so there ARE production differences. I have an old house I made back in 1971 using Hallmark Cellophane (from Dupont) and the color on the red has not faded.
The south raises the most rice in this country. So if you go down to Mardi Gras perhaps you can get some rice straw.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:20 pm 
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Frankly, I believe they may have used two or maybe more products for coconut based on differences in houses that I have seen--and own. In one case it so absolutely looks like cellophane it is amazing....when I had a sample scraped off for analysis about a year ago, that was the consensus at the time..."a cellophane-like by product".

I've talked to people over the years who have tried to mince/chop cellophane without success but I may have found a way--albeit a cumbersome one. I have to wait until something arrives in the mail on Friday and will try it then--of course, I'll keep everyone posted.

I'd rather try and fail than not try at all!


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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
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