A question we are often asked when customers are introduced to this rare wood product...Is it REALLY made from mushrooms? Our answer...technically, yes!
The features that set Mushroom Wood apart from other reclaimed products, such as its' unique texture and prominent raised grain pattern, are indeed
the effects of growing mushrooms!
Used originally to line the boxes of mushroom crops, Mushroom Wood is derived from wooden boards (similar to the ones below) salvaged and repurposed into some spectacular wood products.
Mushroom Farm (image credit: Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farm/http://www.sgsystemsusa.com/pti-labeling-solution/ )
But what is it about mushrooms (or fungi as some prefer) that cause the unique features of this wood?!
Fungiculture (the art of growing mushrooms) can be a lengthy process, covering six different stages from composting to harvesting. Mushrooms are not plants, therefore, they do go through the cycle of photosynthesis. Where sunlight is essential for photosynthesis to occur, a moist climate is necessary for fungi to grow and thrive.
Because of the climate limitations, materials used for this practice must be able to withstand high levels of acidity, moisture, and heat to produce a successful mushroom crop. Enter...Cypress and Hemlock!
Cypress Tree Tunnel (image credit: Joe Parks/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/parksjd/9002072932 )
Cypress and Hemlock are two species that stand up to the challenge of mushroom farming. These materials fare well in environments with high humidity and are durable enough to withstand the optimal time needed for the fungi growing process (2-3 months or more!)
During the mushrooms' growth cycle, the boards are exposed to an abundance of acidity and water released from the compost. These enzymes devour the soft fibers in the wood, leaving only the tough, durable wood behind.
The initial result of the boards living in the mushroom hot box is (for a lack of a better word)...
...a nasty piece of wood! Yuck.
However, after some tender love and Excelsior care, this piece of wood is transformed into...
... this beautiful rustic material! Much better.
The erosion of the soft fiber in the wood raises the grain, resulting in a truly unique texture. Once the boards are cleaned and milled (carefully), they can take on a whole new life outside of the mushroom farm.
Upcycling materials that would generally have been thrown away, we take pride in this sustainable product. Reclaimed, untreated wood can be hard to find; Mushroom Wood fits the bid for both.
The light-weight characteristic of this wood, in conjunction with its' natural resistance to moisture, makes for a versatile product we have used in a number of projects around the shop.
Coated or raw, this material has an ancient beauty not easily achieved by other milling processes.
From rustic doors and custom
For the love of wood...