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History of the Forest Products Laboratory

Interview #918: Laundrie, James F. (June, 2009)

View all of First Interview Session (February 21, 2008)

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00:08:56 - 00:11:06 Projects

projects, industry, water-tupelo, fiber

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00:08:56

LB

And what were some of the products that you worked on with industry or the projects that you worked on?

JL

Oh I guess an interesting one was water-tupelo; it grows in the swamps in the South. Anyway, it's got this great big buttress on the bottom of the tree and it comes up to a skinny tree and goes up. Anyway, these were the bottom parts that they wanted to use for pulping. But anyway, they had a really unique property because the fiber walls and the fibers on there were big diameter fibers and they had real thin walls. So anyway, you could process these things real easy and hardly any processing at all and it would become kind of gelatinous, and this is what they made glassine [and greaseproof] paper out of---for butter wrap, that type of thing. But it was just a whole different thing than routine wood, you know. Just the fibers in this thing; it was just a fascinating project as far as I was concerned. Oh I've had a lot of fascinating projects, I guess. One that I had later on was pulping, oh there was three different species, they were growing in Kenya and they wanted to have a pulp mill in Kenya so anyway they shipped over the three different species, and we pulped them to make all different things, [a variety of papers]. Oh, I forget what the products were now, but anyway, this was for a consulting engineering company and anyway they went back and built the pulp mill and all that. And that was the end of it as far as I was concerned. But then later on in my career I got involved with tropical woods and I got a chance to visit Africa, and we got a bunch of wood from Ghana, which was well it's on the other side of Africa, but on a trip I was able to go back and see this pulp mill. It was based on our work that we had done here oh maybe twenty years before that time; it was just interesting just to see some of the stuff actually in use, that we'd worked on.

LB

So, you had mentioned going to Ghana.

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