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Camphor Laurel Mash Paddle

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squirt in the turns

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I've got this Camphor chopping board, never used:
20121112_105522_resized.jpg

I was thinking that if I attack it with a hole saw, it'd make a pretty decent mash paddle. Then I started hearing all this stuff about how camphor laurel is toxic and totally unsuitable for food preparation in general, let alone being immersed in hot wort. A bit of Googling suggests that a lot of the negativity about camphor stems from the (justifiable) environmental concerns. Not sure how much of it is applicable to utensils made out of it.

Has anyone used camphor to make a mash paddle? Is this is really a bad idea?

The wood has apparently been lightly treated with some kind of mineral oil. Is this likely to be detrimental to the wort? Should I further treat it with anything after drilling the holes?
 

barls

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i wont even turn on my lathe without a decent dust mask. what does that tell you.
 

Mardoo

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Here's some good information from a NSW Scientific Committee webpage:

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/determin...orlaurelktp.htm

I'll take it if you don't want it :p I won't take guesses with wild mushrooms but I'm willing to have a go on the simple fact that moisture penetration won't be more than a couple mil and therefore leachate will be minimal. If it was toxic enough for that amount of leachate to matter you'd probably already be dead.

Perhaps someone more reasonable than I can prevail with some solid data or just a good beating about my ears.
 

Batz

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My bar is a slab of Camphor Laurel and that's as close as I would have it in my brews, there's no way I'll use it for a mash paddle. On a side note I also use Camphor branches for my chickens to roost on, this kills/prevents any leg mite.
Camphor is a real pest around these parts and I spend a lot of my time eradicating it.

batz
 

Bizier

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You will get rid of that persistent moth problem in your mash.
 

bum

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Here's some good information from a NSW Scientific Committee webpage:

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/determin...orlaurelktp.htm

I'll take it if you don't want it :p I won't take guesses with wild mushrooms but I'm willing to have a go on the simple fact that moisture penetration won't be more than a couple mil and therefore leachate will be minimal. If it was toxic enough for that amount of leachate to matter you'd probably already be dead.
It is good information but it is entirely irrelevant. That is about the trees simply existing. Not about cutting them up and using them in the production of beverages for human consumption.
 

white.grant

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This from the woodwork forums

"The presence of anti-microbial chemicals in camphor laurel cutting boards raises the question of safety with regard to those chemicals contaminating food. The concentration & types of compounds in camphor wood can vary from tree to tree & between different parts of a tree.
The following compounds are found in Camphor Laurel samples: Camphor; Safrole; Cineole; Cinnamaldehyde; Fatty acids; Mannitol; Limonen; Tannins; Terpineol; Eugenol; Pinene; Linalool and Geraniol (3, 4)
Any of these substances can be toxic in purified form, but there is no evidence to suggest that food contact with Camphor laurel wood (particularly after curing) would produce any adverse effects. There is no guarantee, as there cannot be with any substance that a particular individual will not be allergic to any of the chemicals in timber, but most of them commonly occur in foods & confectionery.
Lavender, for instance, contains camphor, limonene, eugenol, pinene & linalool. Eucalyptus oil is predominantly cineole.
The most toxic of the above is safrole. However, it is a reasonably common constituent of plants.
It is known to occur in about 50 other species including angelica, sassafras, nutmeg, star anise, cinnamon, cacao and black pepper.
Other food plants containing these compounds include: Bay leaves (cineole & eugenol), cloves (eugenol), cinnamon (eugenol, cinnamaldehyde), coriander (linalool, pinene, & camphor), peppermint (pinene & limonene), sage (cineole, pinene & camphor), rosemary (cineole & pinene) [5,6,7,]. These Herbs & spices have long been used as preservatives.
Conclusion

Camphor Laurel Timber, as tested here, was the most effective food preparation surface with regard to reducing microbial growth. This appears to be a result of the nature of wood in general, & the presence in this particular wood of anti-microbial substances, which are also known to occur naturally in edible products.
Alan Waterson B.Sc. (Hons) Dip Ed, Southern Cross-University, Lismore, NSW
Test results on the 6th April 2002.
 

Sunshine_Brewer

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I would not be worried about waving a mash paddle made of camphor through a hot mash for a few minutes. If you are then soak it in hot water for a while before you use it.

They use grapeseed oil to finish chopping boards made of camphor around these parts.
 

squirt in the turns

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OK, so it's about a 50/50 split.

Batz, I suppose your aversion is based on the possibility of toxic chemicals leaching, such as the ones mentioned in the SCU study Grantw quoted, as opposed to any other reason such as imparted flavours?

It is interesting that these chemicals are present in so many common foods. The question, I suppose, is to what extent they are present in cured wood, and how much will leach out when immersed in liquid at 60+C.

I found some nice bits of jarrah under the house. What about a paddle made of jarrah? If camphor and jarrah are out, what's the best wood? I'm mashing in a plastic esky, so would prefer wood to stainless at this stage to avoid scratching the hell out of the tun.
 

Batz

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Chop a piece of camphor and have a sniff, it's strong stuff. Jarrah would be fine though.

They make chests out of camphor because it kills moths and silverfish, I personally would not want it near my beer.

Batz
 

Brew Matt

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I recently came across a large mash paddle made out of Banksia. Was wondering how suitable this would be for use in brewing for the same reasons.
 

brettprevans

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Just pony up $20 for a nice shiney ss paddle from foodutensils.com.au.
 

Sunshine_Brewer

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Chop a piece of camphor and have a sniff, it's strong stuff. Jarrah would be fine though.

They make chests out of camphor because it kills moths and silverfish, I personally would not want it near my beer.

Batz
Fresh it is strong, but cured/aged like a chopping board would be it should be fine.

I used to love putting camphor trees through the chipper they smell so...toxic :D the timber is beautiful and yes in these parts they are considered a noxious weed. But so would hops if they got out...
 

browndog

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Don't do it, bad move. I was a chippie in another life and used to do a bit of wood turning with camphor laurel, I'd happily bet my balls you will leach a certain amout of the compounds in the wood that give off the unique smell of camphor laurel into your wort.
 

Batz

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Don't do it, bad move. I was a chippie in another life and used to do a bit of wood turning with camphor laurel, I'd happily bet my balls you will leach a certain amout of the compounds in the wood that give off the unique smell of camphor laurel into your wort.

I'm with you Tony, so many timbers that would be so much better than camphor for a mash paddle. Then stainless is better than timber anyway.
How the brew go ? Sorry I couldn't stay until you finished it off.

Batz
 

bradsbrew

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Don't do it, bad move. I was a chippie in another life and used to do a bit of wood turning with camphor laurel, I'd happily bet my balls you will leach a certain amout of the compounds in the wood that give off the unique smell of camphor laurel into your wort.
And I would bet my left nut, except I lost it in my last bet. :lol:

Seriously dont use it.

Cheers
 

browndog

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I'm with you Tony, so many timbers that would be so much better than camphor for a mash paddle. Then stainless is better than timber anyway.
How the brew go ? Sorry I couldn't stay until you finished it off.

Batz
Good Batz, hit the right targets, but bailing out mash tun was a bugger.
 

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