Tuesday, January 25, 2011

MALAYSIA ~Rubber Tapping~

And a great and interesting Malaysian card...I didn't realize it was that labor intensive to harvest rubber.

Malaysia has always such great stamps!!

Each night a rubber tapper removes a thin layer of bark along a downward half spiral on the tree trunk. If done carefully and with skill, this tapping panel will yield latex for up to 5 years. Then the opposite side will be tapped allowing this side to heal over. The spiral allow the latex to run down to a collecting cup. (here a coconut shell is used as cup) The work is done at night so the latex will run longer before drying out.
The latex from multiple trees is then poured into flat pans, and this is mixed with formic acid, which serves as a coagulant. After a few hours, the very wet sheets of rubber are wrung out by putting them through a press before they are sent onto factories where vulcanization and further processing is done.

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