the Router Workshop

Router Tips


About a year ago I was introduced to a new material which looked like wood but which was made of straw. I have lived in grain-producing areas most of my life and I found it interesting that a wood-like material could be made from the previously discarded part of wheat.

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My question was how would this new material finish. I found that it was quite dense and could be beautifully sanded to an excellent smooth finish. It was also non-toxic and extremely resistant to moisture, all of which added up to a real plus.

Testing The Product

Just about this time my daughter-in-law needed some shelves for the craft corner of her recreation room. I considered this to be an ideal time to discover how my new straw-based material would perform. I found that it cuts beautifully with a circular saw and machines very precisely when using a router. The only negative to the material was the amount of dust created when machining. However, the dust can be reduced dramatically with proper vacuum attachments. It was a pleasure to work with.

Finishing WOODSTALK Board

I then discovered how it would accept finishes. I primed the shelving with two coats of acrylic undercoat. I then sanded the surfaces with #320 open-coat paper. I used a vacuum brush to clean the surfaces, then applied two coats of satin latex enamel. The finished surface was excellent. I discovered that a foam roller works extremely well on the material.

Experimentation was next. On samples of the material I used oil and water based stains. The results were quite encouraging. If I do future staining I will sand the surface with a #400 paper to remove any sanding marks left during manufacture. Straight lacquer is easily applied. I found that all water based and oil based finishes can be applied with little difficulty. For painted furniture units this material is a good choice. Try some and have some fun. Good Luck.