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Retting flax/milk

So far as I know, milk was only used while bleaching bolts
of linen cloth spread out on grass in fields.  It was sprinkled on.

I was surprised to read Steve Miller's account of retting flax
from 2-6 months; surprised that there is much left.

My own retting takes only 5-10 days, depending on temperature.

Paul W. Allen, "The Retting of Flax & Hemp" written in 1926 for
the book, _Industrial Fermentations_ states that:

 "In Italy, where the whitest and softest hemp fiber is produced,
the stalks are placed in tanks of soft water for a few days, then
taken out and dried, and returned to the tanks for a second retting.

        Usually the stalks remain in the water first about eight days and
the second time a little longer."

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Laboratory
Portland, OR 97217

503/735-3942  (voice/fax)


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