The History of Cork
Used by man for thousands of years, certainly at least since the nuraghe in Sardinia.
How is cork harvesting? How does the extraction season take place? What difficulties does it involve?
First of all the origin: the cork is the bark of the cork oak (Quercus Suber), a tree of the fagaceae that reaches centuries old and notable, and that for its majestic beauty and importance, not only economic, enjoys great respect and protection legal.
The cork extraction can take place every 10 years, as established by law and common sense, to avoid over-exploitation of the plant that produces it. But if its ripeness and its thickness are not adequate for processing, this time frame can be extended up to 12-15 years.
The first decortic of a young oak occurs when it is about 20-25 years and only if its circumference, measured at 130 cm from the ground, is more than 60 cm. This operation of putting into production is called “demaschiatura” and must be done with great care.
The product that is obtained, called “male cork”, is of poor quality and its value can not even repay the cost of labor for obtaining: it is a material that can only be used for grinding and subsequent agglomeration; it is used in a particular way for the construction of insulating panels, but also covering sheets, shoe wedges, industrial souvenirs.
As said, it is an economically inconvenient job, but it must be done to have new cork, both to increase the total production, and to replace the production of old oaks or damaged by fires, which no longer produce good quality cork.
After 10 years we proceed to the second extraction, which will finally give rise to some kind of cork, even though its characteristics are not optimal for processing and a large percentage of waste has to be made.
Only at the third extraction will finally have a fully workable and high quality cork.