Cork is the outer bark of the Cork Oak (Quercus suber). The Cork Oak is first harvested when it is twenty years old. Workers strip off the outer bark and the tree regrows a new cork layer of even higher quality. Each tree can be harvested every 8 to 10 years for 150 years! Cork bottle stoppers have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs. By the late 1700s, Cork Oaks were propagated for harvest. By the late 1800s, even the scraps were used to produce cork sheets.
When cork is harvested, it is left out in the sun and rain for six months to cure, strengthening it. The cork is then washed and cured in a dark environment. The lower quality cork is trimmed and ground up with other scraps, then packed into a mold and heated under pressure. The cork binds together naturally to make “agglomerated cork” in sheets, tiles, and other shapes.
The higher quality cork is cut in strips and steamed until puffy, then cut with hollow tubes to make plugs. These are trimmed to shape with a special rotating saw, then washed and sterilized, dried, and stamped with a label to be used as wine corks and bottle stoppers.
Even the dust is used as fuel in cork plants. Not only is every bit of the cork made useful but harvesting cork does not hurt the trees.
The Cork Craft Crate Contains:
Patterns & Instructions
Dark and Light Agglomerated Cork Tiles
Recycled Wine Corks
Precision Craft Knife
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