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Uses for Wood Ash

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Uses for Wood Ash

Postby oldclaypaws » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:23 pm

Judith's mention of using a dab of wood ash to clean stove glass inspired me to search for other uses, as we all probably have loads of it which we might just chuck in the bin.

Its seems to be quite versatile stuff, not sure you could sell it, but it has a diverse range of uses as follows; Anyone got any others?

Chicken bath- apparently they like to use it in a dust bath and it keeps down mites, etc.

Slug deterrant- sprinkle round treasured plants to keep veg chomping pests off.

Fertiliser- It contains valuable nutrients like calcium and potash and is good for tomatoes, lawns, and can be mixed in compost. It kills moss on lawns.

If bushcrafting or camping, it makes an effective toothpaste.

Cleaning paste- dab a damp cloth in ash and use on stove glass, aga's, rings left by glasses on wood, and silver.

Pavement treatment- adds grip and melts ice

Pond cleaner- A tablespoon in 1000 gallons helps suppress algae

Making soap- mix with water to form alkaline 'lye', then add to fatty or oily base to make soap, salt hardens it.

One I know very well- add a bit of clay and feldspar to make a beautiful runny green stoneware pottery glaze.


Anyone got any other uses or successful experience of the above ?
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Re: Uses for Wood Ash

Postby Dexter's Shed » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:18 pm

we use it once it's cold to scatter on top of "deposits" in our woodland WC
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Re: Uses for Wood Ash

Postby Bearwood » Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:50 am

It doesn't appear to be common knowledge after a quick Google search, but I use wood ash to double my seed potato bank before planting. I cut the seeds in half ensuring a chitted eye is present at both ends, and rub the cut ends in wood ash to form a callous. A couple of days in the dry and the seeds are ready to plant as normal.

I also use wood ash, grit and water to clean the dirty pans when camping in the woods. I guess it's a bit of a primitive way to do things, but I was shown it by my dear old dad so there must be some sort of science behind it?!
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Re: Uses for Wood Ash

Postby SimonFisher » Sat Oct 11, 2014 7:49 am

A quick search on Google ( results in quite a few lists of things to do with wood ash, many of them already mentioned by Paws. Anyone else wanting to make more use of this by product might find find them interesting.
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Re: Uses for Wood Ash

Postby The Barrowers » Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:20 pm

Hello Its commonly used in rural India to clean/scour the pots and pans
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Re: Uses for Wood Ash

Postby oldclaypaws » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:33 pm

A historic use is making glass. Add 2 parts sand, one part wood ash (preferably beech) and you get what was known as a yellow-greenish 'forest glass'. It was mainly made in Germany- Bohemia, and eastern Europe as a new form of manufacture when access to Egyptian natron dried up after the fall of Rome.

A lot of people don't realise that a main constituent of both pottery and glass is metal. Clay is a Silicon-Aluminium oxide (bauxite or high alumina clay is the source of aluminium) and glass is a combination of silica with potassium, sodium, lead or calcium as a fluxing agent. Metal is very runny when super-heated, and fluxes to 'glue' the quartz in pottery or glass together. Wood ash is a strong flux when hot in a kiln. Bone ash (calcium phosphate) is another good flux, I use quite a bit of ground up burnt cow in my pots, so my pots aren't vegetarian !
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