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26 November 2021

The story of Carmo poles (Drying 3/6)

The story of Carmo poles (Drying 3/6)

How can it be that there is a 20-year full warranty on wooden posts?

When you need the warranty, the company no longer exists and no one is home. These are comments we often hear. In the coming period we will be focusing on the 20-year full guarantee on wooden posts. These are not wooden poles, but Carmo poles.

In a series of articles we describe the Carmo wooden pole. In France, Austria and Switzerland, we spoke to fruit growers who were already using the same wooden posts for the 3rd round of cultivation. How is that possible? We went in search for the source. After a visit from our Spanish colleagues, we know who produces these poles and what the secret is. The production and treatment process is the secret of the Carmo wooden poles. Where in earlier times much more attention was paid to the quality of wooden poles, now the focus is completely on the price. What is the result? Poor wooden posts that are rotten after only a few years. There is no such thing as good quality posts anymore, or so the reasoning goes. And to be honest, we thought so ourselves for a while. Until we 'discovered' Carmo and were convinced that quality poles with a long life span still exist. Carmo as a manufacturer and Kopper, a large American company, together also guarantee the quality. 20 years full warranty! In a series of articles we will explain the production process and why quality is guaranteed. In the previous article you could read about the production of the wooden pole. In this article you can read how the Carmo wooden posts are dried.

"Deep cracks in the post accelerate the breakdown process. Cracks and fissures are caused by not drying correctly."

Carmo Wooden Poles

Natural drying

Drying the poles is an important step, if not the most important step, in the production of tree to Carmo post. Carmo Wood dries its posts naturally. Other producers often dry wooden poles in a drying cabinets or drying ovens.

Portugal has the ideal climate for natural drying. The relative humidity is low, there are many sunny days, and there is no snow. In addition, Portugal has mild temperatures. The whole country is close to the sea - Oliveira de Frades is 40 km away - It is windy daily which promotes the drying process. Carmo Wood has four production plants in strategically determined places as the best locations for drying wood naturally.

Drying is crucial and a critical factor for the rest of the process to wooden Carmo pole. The free water contained in the post (in each cell) must be removed by evaporation so that the impregnation process can be carried out successfully.

Drying stacks

Carmo Wood dries with drying stacks. Drying on a drying stack is a scientifically studied process. The process is as follows. Beforehand, the wood is sorted by length and diameters and transported to the place where it will be stacked. The entire stack is aligned to ensure stability and proper occupancy of space within the stack. This stack allows for air circulation, which gives uniform drying of all the posts that make up the drying stack.

Carmo drying stacks

Important when drying Carmo wood

  1. The drying process should be slow and controlled;
  2. The wooden posts should be stacked in a cross shape;
  3. Crossing the posts allows the wind to blow through the inside of the stack;
  4. This process ensures slow, uniform and even drying. As opposed to forced drying in drying cabinets and ovens;
  5. The last row of poles forms an umbrella for the whole stack, this row does get wet but it is the first row to dry again when the sun shines.
  6. Natural drying with high production and inventory costs vs. drying in a greenhouse with non-homogeneous results;
  7. Rapid drying in a greenhouse does not fully open the aperture of the cell, which will harm the penetration with treatment the product;
  8. The process takes an average of 16 weeks, depending on the season of the year/diameter of the poles;
  9. The moisture percentage should be measured weekly;
  10. A Carmo wood post is not considered dry until the moisture content is less than 15%. However, the wood may be treated provided it has less than 22% moisture. 

So the natural drying process is incredibly important. Water is not forced out of the poles to dry. Posts do not crack. The cells remain whole so that the protective agent can be absorbed properly. And that is the secret of the Carmo wooden post! Deep cracks in the post accelerate the degradation process. Cracks and fissures are caused by not drying properly. Therefore, choose Carmo wooden posts.

The following article will take a closer look at the treatment.

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