All About Cork
Cork harvesting is the process of removing the bark off the cork tree. This is an extremely delicate operation. The bark can only be harvested every nine years. The cork is cut from the same trees generation after generation for some 200 years. A tree in its prime at 80 years old can yield 440 lbs. This is sufficient raw material to produce approximately 25,000 natural wine corks; most cork oak trees are just slightly larger than olive trees. The world record was set in 1889 by a cork oak in Portugal which yielded no less than 3,870 lbs of cork in one harvest.
Cork forests are carefully monitored and cultivated. Contrary to some beliefs and rumors, the health and sustainability of the cork oak is strong. In fact there are more cork trees today than there were some ten or fifteen years ago.
WHERE DOES CORK GROW?
The world’s main cork oak forests are found in Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy, and North Africa. It is the microclimate and soil types of these regions that allow cork oaks to grow and flourish and serve as the primary source of raw material for the cork industry. Today more than half of the world’s cork raw material comes from Portugal.
HEALTHY BENEFITS OF CORK
Cork tends to repel dust, hair, dirt and dander from its surface. Cork is easier to get completely clean, and because of this it tends to promote a higher indoor air quality. Cork also has a waxy substance called suberin. This material has the property of naturally repelling small vermin and insects. This makes cork and cork related products more resistant to growth and colonization of these organisms, and can help promote a more healthy environment.
Cork is light and will float. Beneficial for buoys, floats, fishing rod handles, level gauges. Light weight makes cork an excellent filler material for many products. Perfect for shoe insoles and soles and of course; yoga mats & blocks!
The cellular membranes are flexible so that the cork can be fitted against the wall of a bottle under pressure and when released bounces back to its original form.
Cork does not rot due to the suberin which makes it impermeable to gases and liquids. Combined with corks other characteristics it is the ideal material for bottle stoppers, gasket sealers, joint fillers, floor underlayment, bulletin boards and let’s not forget; yoga mats & blocks!
Gaseous elements in cork are sealed in tiny cell like compartments insulated and separated from each other. This provides for low conductivity to heat, sound and vibrations. One of the best insulating and acoustical capacities of all substances.
Resistance to Wear
The honeycomb structure of suberose surface gives cork a high friction coefficient and makes it very durable. It does not absorb dust and is fire resistant in its natural state.