TWiV 186: From Buda to stump grinding

June 3, 2012

stump grinder

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, and Rich Condit

The TWiV chiefs tackle reader email about how to pronounce Buda, Texas, grinding tree stumps, and much more.

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  • http://twitter.com/GertrudRey Gertrud Rey

    I will never understand why people think there has to be a time limit on these episodes.  If I don’t finish listening to an episode on my way in to work, then I will finish it on my way home!  That’s the beauty of audio casts, which you can listen to while driving!  I loved the way you guys handled that question by talking about stump grinding!  LOL!

  • http://www.virology.ws profvrr

    I listen to many podcasts that are nearly 2 hr long, and I just listen till I’m done. It’s not a big deal. On another note, I didn’t cut down the trees this weekend, so stump grinding will have to wait for another time.

  • colm

    Those stump ‘dissolving’ solutions really are bollocks. A tree went down around the corner from me and someone drilled out a bunch of cores into the center of it and put the solutions down into the stump proper. It’s still there 2 years later.

  • Nicola

    Usually products like that don’t tell you what’s in them. I’m not aware of anything in which cellulose is soluable. So maybe the product contains a cellulase–which would be stable in the environment for how long? And washed away after how many rainfalls? Unless the product contains the makings of a termite colony, I’d be suspcious. As a chemist by training I see over and over how the marketing of chemical products relies on people’s ignorance of chemistry. Maybe a microbial product could be invented?
    over a

  • Matt

    Sven,

    Get in touch with me!

    Matt Frieman

  • Alan Dove

    Some contain potassium nitrate, but since people often use that to make explosives, the manufcturers have switched to other fertilizers. Search for “home made smoke bomb” to see what the off-label uses of KNO3 look like. Anyway, the theory behind these products is that they’re supposed to promote growth of decay organisms such as mosses. Maybe they do, but it still doesn’t accelerate the stump’s disappearance enough to make them worthwhile.

  • Nicola

    Maybe it would have been better if I researched a bit before commenting? I easily found a product called Stump-out which contains sodium metabisulfite, and claims to “dissolve” the lignan. The product claims that this is an ingredient used in paper mills to break down wood pulp. The process is described on wikipedia as the sulfite process. Given the conditions under which this industrial process is carried out, it hardly seems likely that the same result could be obtained in one’s yard. The chemical reaction (and it’s a reaction, not “dissolving”) could only take place at the surface of the wood and I imagine in the industrial process this would involve a lot of mechanic help (grinding, stirring. . .). Just pouring in a chemical into a couple of holes in a big stump—I would expect the result that colm described, but I haven’t done the experiment myself. Part of the fun of chemistry is that until you try you never know if everything is going to just sit there or if it’s going to explode. I exaggerate slightly.

  • Jspotila

    The Dead Parrot sketch is from the 8th episode, first series of Monty Pyton’s Flying Circus. I kept waiting for someone in episode 185 to say “This ferret has ceased to be!” Enjoy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIrBMt4eiRk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  • David

    Vince, you should consider one of these for mowing your lawn.  It is quiet so you can mow early in the morning or late in the evening and I love the way it looks like its shooting salad out in front of it as it cuts my weedy lawn.  You need to mow often enough so it doesnt get too long, otherwise it just bends the grass instead of cutting it.
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_317736-1078-6201_0__?productId=3168445

  • http://www.virology.ws profvrr

    In the 1950s we had one of these to mow our small lawn. I loved the sound of it, although it was hard to push for me (I was young then). I’ve seen people using these and have always thought about getting one. Very cool!