A Juncus Polissoir – II

One day at lunch last spring I mentioned to Mrs. Barn my correspondence with Yannick Chastang and my subsequent interest in finding some Juncus rush to experiment with making a polissoir from this fiber.  Where, oh where, could I find this exotic plant?

“Out back, it’s all over the place,” says she.  “We have some here along the pond.”

Immediately after lunch we went together to walk around the pond and she pointed out the few immature clumps of this spikey plant.  This was one of the hundreds of wetlands grasses, in our case Juncus effusis.  After looking it up I concluded that its geographic growth range is limited to planet Earth.  Apparently it is almost universal in its growing. Maybe even the river banks of Paris?

Cheered, I went back to work and after some more correspondence, knew I had to wait until autumn to harvest it.

Flash forward a few weeks to my chatting with stonemason extraordinaire Daniel as he was creating our new stone wall.

“Come over to my place, ” he said.  “I’ve got a ton of it around the pond.  Help yourself.  It’s just a weed the cows won’t eat.”

Now I was getting really jazzed.

Flash forward again, this time to September when my friend JohnH came to help teach a workbench-building workshop.  Since no one showed up to build a workbench we spent most of our week in great fellowship working on the ripple molding cutting machines, which he and I will be demonstrating at the upcoming Colonial Williamsburg Working Wood in the 18th Century shindig, we took time to go to Daniel’s and harvest a pile of  the “weed.”

We spread it out to dry in the sun for three days, then I bundled it up and moved it inside to finish seasoning.

Before long it was ready to work with.