Thursday, 2 July 2009

Processing rubber

I was given the opportunity to watch Jira’s sister’s husband processing rubber sap. In one night about 45 liters of sap is gathered by bleeding the rubber trees. This must take place daily otherwise the trees dry up like cow teats.

N. Rid cleaning up after rubber making

During rain no sap can be gathered so the Rubber farmer sleeps instead. Annually the rubber collecting stops for 3 months (approx. Jan-Apr) in order for the trees to recuperate, this is done when the tree drops all their leaves and grow new ones.

Once the sap is gathered the processing starts, 4 liters of sap is poured into a pail and mixed with 1 ltr water and 1-2dl of hardener, the mixture is stirred and then poured into a form.

This time there was a total of 12 forms filled, once the last was filled the 1st form had hardened. The Farmer then tipped the forms upside down starting from beginning and flattened the “cakes” out with a wooden bat and his feet, once this was done every flattened “cake” was fed into a roller that was operated by electric power.

The final stage was to feed them through another roller where a pattern was also made ontot the rubber “mat”. After this the mats were hanged to dry and after two days they could be sold to any rubber factory to be processed further to any plastic or rubber products that we need in our daily lives.

The whole operation took about 2hrs and will bring abt 1000 THB into the Farmer’s pocket. Some Farmer’s prefer to skip this whole process and sell the sap but there is a lot of cheating going on with middlemen, added water, measuring amounts and so-on…

To see the video I made abt it, click below:

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