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Equisetum— should I freeze it for 2 months?


violins88
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On 11/17/2021 at 9:19 PM, violins88 said:

I received some nice equisetum shoots from a generous fellow at the south end of New Zealand. It is freshly harvested. I won’t use it for possibly 2 months. How should I store it? In the freezer? Or dry it out?

 

Thanks,

 

John

Hey John:  I have learned some things about equisetum by ruining it and in one case using it to my satisfaction.  First, how I ruined it:  One batch I saved in my garage until the Valentine's Day freeze in San Antonio Texas; which pretty much turned it into dust.  My Lesson one:  don't freeze it.   After letting another batch dry out and turn brittle, I decided to rehydrate it by placing it in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.  After a week the entire bag was full of some sort of white fungus so I trashed it.  My lesson two:  rehydrate as described above, not my way.  Now for a success:  my first batch I flattened and glued to rubber backing (a car mat my dog had chewed up) as seen in the pic.   This survived the freeze, doesn't seem to be bothered by being dried out, and I love what it does to the surface of wood; gently smooths and burnishes at the same time.  I also use fine sandpaper on occasion but the equisetum is different.  On the spruce top I get some texture by using the equisetum grain parallel to the grain lines.  

I don't know about the effect of plant age on the characteristics for our use. I a going to Michigan and will look for some late fall/early winter specimens. 

equisetum.jpg

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There is historical evidence equisetum (or “Dutch rush”)  was used in violin making contemporaneous to Strad; from the 1670 inventory of the menslage/bouwmeester estate

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In de achterkamer bevinden zich 27 bosjes groene schaafstro die gebruikt worden om violen mee te schaven .

Jaarboek Amstelodamum, 1979, article is pg55-64, available online https://www.amstelodamum.nl/archieven/

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7 hours ago, violins88 said:

Carl,

I looked at the link, but could not translate the Dutch. Sorry.

Yeah, it’s a bit to wade through. It’s an excerpt from a journal article discussing the inventory of a violin maker/dealers estate from 1670, there were 89 violins in various states and other instruments, the excerpt I posted is the relevant part here which roughly translates as “in the back are 27 bundles of schaafstro (equisetum) that are for schaven (plane/grate/smooth/rub) violins”

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