Hemp Wood Alternatives: Sustainable Building Materials With HempWood

Hemp Wood Alternatives: Sustainable Building Materials With HempWood
Ministry of Hemp Podcast

Hemp offers a promising alternatve to wood and synthetic building materials, as we learn in this week’s podcast.

Welcome to episode 60 of the Ministry of Hemp Podcast. In this episode, Matt has a conversation with Gregory Wilson, founder of Fibonacci LLC which manufactures HempWood. Wilson is creating beautiful wood for flooring, cabinetry, and so much more with compressed hemp fibers. Located in Murray Kentucky, Wilson and his crew of engineers are the only scaled fiber and hemp building manufacturer in the U.S.

They talk about the challenges of creating not only it but inventing the tools needed to manufacture HempWood, its benefits and comparison to other popular woods, and the challenges of launching a hemp start-up during the Covid pandemic. Wilson didn’t just move to Kentucky to be near the hemp his company needs; he’s also hiring agriculture students from nearby Murray State to work in the plant and better understand the hemp itself.

Brought to you by Blue Forest Farms Hemp

We’d like to thank our partners at Blue Forest Farms for making this episode possible.

The folks at BFF pride themselves on a fully seed-to-shelf process that is also fully organic. From selectively breeding their own high-quality varietals of hemp; growing plants locally on their sun-kissed, organic, Colorado farm; monitoring the state-of-the-art extraction process; and even engineering the best tasting formulas, Blue Forest Farms ensures quality at every step in the CBD product creation process.

The Blue Forest Farms What’s Your Number system comes from processing 6 different unique oils. Whether you’re looking for a full spectrum unrefined hemp oil, pure CBD isolate with absolutely no THC, or even an advanced sleep formula that combines CBD with a concentrated amount of CBN, BFF has six oil formulas to fit the unique needs of their customers. We also picked Blue Forest Farms Broad Spectrum Gummies as one of our top brands of CBD gummies.

Use the code “Ministry” at checkout for 20% off your purchase at bffhemp.com and help support a great CBD brand that supports the Ministry of Hemp.

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Greg Wilson joined the Ministry of Hemp podcast to introduce us to hempwood, a hemp-based wood alternative made from compressed hemp fibers.

Hemp Wood Alternatives: Complete episode transcript

Below you’ll find the complete transcript of episode 60 of the Ministry of Hemp podcast, “Hemp Wood Alternatives”:

Matt Baum:
I’m Matt Baum, and this is the Ministry of Hemp podcast brought to you by ministryofhemp.com, America’s leading advocate for hemp and hemp education.
Welcome back. Recently on the show, we were talking about hemp plastics, and today we’re going to talk about making wood out of hemp. It is stronger than oak, it looks just as nice, it’s not as flammable, and it sure grows faster than trees. But before we get into that, I want to say thanks to our partner, Blue Forest Farms. We are super pumped to be partnering with them again, this week. Blue Forest Farms or BFF, as we call them, has a whole line of amazing CBD products, including a new CBN advanced formula. And I’m going to tell you all about that later on, and how you can get 20% off just for listening to this show. That’s all coming up real soon here. But first, let me introduce you to Gregory Wilson.

Meet Greg Wilson, creator of HempWood

Greg Wilson:
My name is Greg Wilson. I’m the founder of Fibonacci, LLC, which manufactures hemp wood in the United States.

Matt Baum:
Gregory spoke to me from his plant in Murray, Kentucky, he’s out there in the middle of nowhere. You’ll hear him talk about it more later. And he showed me what they’ve got going on. It’s him and team of engineers that are creating machines to create hemp wood. It’s pretty amazing. And my conversation today with Gregory is all about hemp wood, how it works, how it is creating jobs for people right here in America and its future in American carpentry. Here’s my conversation with Gregory Wilson.

Greg Wilson:
We’ve been around for a couple of years now. And we’re the only scaled fiber manufacturer of hemp in the United States, and the only hemp-building materials manufacturer in the United States.

Matt Baum:
So let’s start right there. Why? Why do you think you’re the only one? Is that strange? Is this new? Are you guys diving into a new technology? Or is hemp wood been around for a while?

Greg Wilson:
Well, maybe because we’re the only ones dumb enough to do it. I don’t know.

Matt Baum:
That’s a good answer too. I like that.

Greg Wilson:
So, the journey begins years and years ago. When I was in school, I was studying building materials, studying engineering, and got into vinyl siding, and then Oak flooring. And when I graduated from college, I moved to China because I was studying Chinese as well and figured an engineer who can speak Chinese can write his own ticket.

Matt Baum:
Absolutely.

Greg Wilson:
Got involved in bamboo flooring and helped figure out how to make bamboo flooring acceptable for commercial use, which was a means of making it harder or densified. So you densify woods by either impregnating them with something, some sort of polymers or plastics, or different elements like that, or you compress them. So you can compress woods and then you typically have to glue them together. So we came up with impregnating it, bamboo, and then compressing it, and then baking it in an oven so it stays that same compression ratio or that same density, which gives you hardness and stability in your final product. And then it got into a whole bunch of science and math and stuff like that.

Matt Baum:
Fair enough.

Greg Wilson:
And then we turned it into an algorithm and then PAT and the standard operating procedure and ended up spending 14 years building bamboo factories.

Finding sustainable alternatives to wood and vinyl

Matt Baum:
Wow. So you went from bamboo to hemp? That was the next step.

Greg Wilson:
No, it was not the Chinese government deemed the bamboo patents to be a monopoly in 2009, 2010.

Matt Baum:
Oh my god.

Greg Wilson:
And so my boss then said, “Come up with a new raw material and has to be domestically sourced.” So we came up with fast-growing Eucalyptus grandis, which grows in the south of China. It actually has more Eucalyptus grandis trees in China than people really.

Matt Baum:
Really?

Greg Wilson:
So the raw material was readily available. And it fit into this process. And at that point had set up a nanotech lab in Australia, because we got bought out by an Australian company, so I was working for them. The powers that be just shifted patents. But I set up a nanotech lab there that would take technologies we’ve developed in the laboratory, and then try to commercialize them in China where I was at. So I would go and work with the scientist and then bring it back and find the engineering solution in the plants in China. So then we set up a [inaudible 00:04:48] called strand woven eucalyptus, and it’s still… Every Lowe’s in the United States still buy that stuff.

Matt Baum:
Really?

Greg Wilson:
The bamboo that we set up is… Yeah, the bamboo… We do 40% of the world’s bamboo flooring.

Matt Baum:
Wow.

Greg Wilson:
That company is huge.

Matt Baum:
Jeez.

Greg Wilson:
But I’m involved with it less and less because there has been change of ownership and moving this way and moving that way.

Matt Baum:
Fair enough.

Greg Wilson:
And actually the company does a lot more vinyl flooring now, which doesn’t fit the eco-friendly perspective we’ve been trying to do [crosstalk 00:05:20].

Before hemp, recycled wood

Matt Baum:
That seems like two steps back to me if you’re going for something a little more ecologically friendly, right? So you jumped from bamboo, to Eucalyptus, and then to hemp? Is that where we ended up?

Greg Wilson:
There was another step.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Greg Wilson:
So then after that I started getting pimped out with the algorithm to recycling woods. And so I ended up in Poland and the Ukraine and Tasmania-

Matt Baum:
You’ve been like everywhere.

Greg Wilson:
… figuring out various ways… Yeah.

Matt Baum:
Wow.

Greg Wilson:
And figured out various ways to take typically the offcuts from plywood mills and compress it back into wood that can be used as a solid.

Matt Baum:
I would assume it was a nice buck in that too, because you’re basically making money off scrap, stuff that would otherwise just be thrown away.

Greg Wilson:
Yeah, it works. Every place is a little different. And it seems like these days, no matter where you go, some sort of catastrophe or problem or whatever… I own a piece of a company called Smart Oak in Tasmania, where we do just that, and it burned down.

Matt Baum:
Oh.

Greg Wilson:
It was wildfires [crosstalk 00:06:27].

Matt Baum:
That’s awful.

Greg Wilson:
So yeah, it was going [inaudible 00:06:31], and then it caught on fire and I was trying to get back up but [crosstalk 00:06:35]-

Matt Baum:
It literally caught on fire, the bad way, not a good on fire. God, I’m sorry, man.

Greg Wilson:
Hey, I have a house in Annapolis that I actually use to underwrite loans and stuff like that for this place. But I built that place out with smart oak. It’s the only one in the United States.

Matt Baum:
Really?

Greg Wilson:
Yeah. My business partner when I got married, my wife and I… In China, if you get married without real estate already own, it’s called a naked wedding. So when we were going to get married and moved to the States, I had to buy a house. I bought an old beater to fix up because that’s what I do.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Greg Wilson:
And my business partner sent me over a couple of pallets of wood from Tasmania that we had made down there. So it turned from just getting a floor, which he thought it was funny, and instead just send me a couple hundred feet of flooring. He then sent me a couple of pallets of lumber and a couple of different specialty cuts and stuff like that. And so it turned into a hundred thousand dollar remodel with taking down walls and the new kitchen and bathrooms.

Matt Baum:
Jeez. Wow.

Greg Wilson:
Yeah. Just in time to move to Kentucky to start HempWood six months later. So my wife-

Creating a hemp-based wood alternative

Matt Baum:
So all of this background prepared you for where you are now, basically?

Greg Wilson:
Yeah. But nothing can prepare you for hemp.

Matt Baum:
No.

Greg Wilson:
But yeah, right place right time. One of my buddies is like, “Man, you’re standing under the basket, and the hemp basketball just got passed to you. All you got to do is let it [crosstalk 00:08:03].”

Matt Baum:
Yeah, literally.

Greg Wilson:
Not that easy.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. Okay, you’ve been throwing the word algorithm around a lot. And you named your company Fibonacci, who is a pretty famous mathematician and has his own sequence and everything. I’m guessing that’s on purpose because you guys are math nerds.

Greg Wilson:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
So, how do you apply this algorithm going from things like bamboo, to Eucalyptus, to scrap wood? How do you apply this to hemp which… I mean, bamboo is more of a plant, I guess. It’s a woody plant, but it’s got to be completely different. I mean, how did you even end up in this ballpark? Was it just something that you started talking to people and thought this could be possible, let’s mess around with it, or did you know this will work based on other stuff you’ve done?

Greg Wilson:
Oh yeah. I figured it out in 2010, we used to call it weed wood. I didn’t even really know the difference between any of this stuff. When in China-

Matt Baum:
That’s marketing right there, man; the stoner house buying population.

Greg Wilson:
Here’s the problem, people involved in that don’t usually buy higher end home goods.

Matt Baum:
Go figure.

Greg Wilson:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
They have different priorities.

Greg Wilson:
Now I can say that they are the hipster population-

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Greg Wilson:
… is a great demographic for us, because I mean, look at me, wearing flannel, I’ve got a beard.

Matt Baum:
You got the look.

Greg Wilson:
I like the environment.

Matt Baum:
There you go.

Greg Wilson:
And then you also have the population that grew up in the ’60s that are on to their forever home, and that are looking for nice things rather than the cheap vinyl or cheap tile that goes into their place. They’re looking for something that’s comfortable and that’s eco-friendly, and that makes them feel good. Because a lot of what it is, you can buy anything for a buck.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Greg Wilson:
But if you want to get that warm wood feeling in your house, it has to be wood. It can’t be vinyl that looks like wood. If you want to get the eco-friendly element where it doesn’t have VOCs being emitted all through your house, everything, you got to use the eco-friendly [inaudible 00:10:12]. You can’t use formaldehyde. And so all the corners that you can cut, not making it here in the United States, or using dirty glues or chemicals or whatever coatings and stuff on it, make it cheaper, and make it a heck of a lot more commercially viable. But then you’re not telling the truth when you’re saying, “Hey, eco-friendly building material. There’s no added VOCs here. There’s no negative aspects of this. We’re paying all our guys fair.” Where are we live at, it’s inexpensive. Plus Kentucky is not an expensive place to live. And we pay a living wage to everyone here at the factory where you work here full-time you can buy a single family home in town.

Matt Baum:
That’s awesome.

Greg Wilson:
And that gets passed through into the cost of making the product. But that’s the right thing to do.

Matt Baum:
Absolutely.

Greg Wilson:
So there’s where we have a big difference, or a big problem that we have is you can buy cheap flooring for four or five bucks a foot. You can buy American made flooring for six or eight bucks a foot, or you can buy eco-friendly early-adapter, American-made flooring for eight or 10 bucks a foot. And we’ll get better, but it’s all a matter of scaling and how many hours in a day.

Using Kentucky hemp to make hemp wood

Matt Baum:
Sure, sure. So tell me about the process. Before we started recording, you walked me through a little bit and you were like, “This does this and there’s the hemp, and then this comes down here.” And I was just like, “Oh my God, this looks amazing.” How does it work? You’re in Kentucky, so you’re in hemp country right there. Are you using local stuff? Are you using scrap? Where’s it start? What does it start with?

Greg Wilson:
Everything comes from within 100 miles of the plant. And actually, most of it comes from within 60. Because the round bales, you only get about 12 tons on a truck. And so your transportation cost is a large factor. It’s also a big carbon footprint. But the cost, if you go outside of 60 miles, then you’re only able to run two trucks a day. And when you’re running two trucks a day, you take a load in the morning, take a load in the afternoon, then it costs a lot more. It ends up getting close to 20% of your cost of raw material.

Matt Baum:
Jesus.

Greg Wilson:
So the closer you are the better.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, farm to table, almost.

Greg Wilson:
If you go to 100 miles with the square bales, you’re good because it’s still pencils out to the same. You can get 16 to 20 tons per truckload.

Matt Baum:
What’s the difference between a square bale and a round bale? I mean, I literally know nothing about this. So talk to me like I’m a third grader.

Greg Wilson:
Self-Explanatory, square versus round.

Matt Baum:
Really? It’s just more compact or?

Greg Wilson:
Yeah, it’s a circle. Think about stacking a bunch of circles together.

Matt Baum:
Got you.

Greg Wilson:
So you a whole bunch of-

Matt Baum:
Okay. So it’s literally just space?

Greg Wilson:
Yeah. Literally like a bale of hay.

Matt Baum:
Okay, that makes sense.

Greg Wilson:
You’ve seen a picture of a square bale of hay when you stack a bunch of Legos together?

Matt Baum:
Right.

Greg Wilson:
Fit a lot tighter.

Matt Baum:
I was just overthinking it. Okay.

Greg Wilson:
And then a round bale is a round bale around-

Matt Baum:
Literally a round bale.

Greg Wilson:
… like you saw out there, that when you try to stack those on a truck, you get about a quarter, maybe 40% less volume on one trip.

Matt Baum:
Wow. So it really does make sense to do this closer as well, almost farm to table, if you will, because your carbon footprint is lower, you’re spending less on transportation, and you’re getting the stuff right in where you can pull it in the factory and make beautiful wood out of it.

Greg Wilson:
There’s an input table right there.

Matt Baum:
It’s gorgeous. So take me through the process. The hemp comes in, then what happen?

Greg Wilson:
So the hemp comes in here. It is field dried. So it’s less than 15% moisture content. It comes in and it gets stuck on this machine that we had to invent. That guy, Charles, we met earlier, he is the machinist here. He came up with a way of unrolling it like a roll of toilet paper. And actually, the powers behind the scene, kind of the wizard from the Wizard of Oz, is Dario Dumont. And he lives in Tasmania and him and I work on these projects together. So he’s my engineering mentor. And then you have Jimmy Song, who lives in China and he works on the bamboo, and him and I cut our teeth together, working on that. And so, the strand woven Eucalyptus then were me and Jimmy Song, and that’s how we met Dario. And when he got involved with the strand woven Eucalyptus, then he brought the project smarter to us because that was a forestry grant in Tasmania.

Matt Baum:
This is awesome.

Greg Wilson:
So then roped both of them into doing this.

Matt Baum:
You’re like the A-team, you all have specialties. This is great. And it just came together.

Greg Wilson:
Oh yeah, kind of, sort of.

Matt Baum:
And you’re like [inaudible 00:14:55]. This is awesome.

Greg Wilson:
Dario came up with the concept of unrolling a bale of hemp because it has to get picked up. Actually, the format of the raw material coming in is what blindsided me. Because I was just doing lab scale, it looked like a stalk, a piece of bamboo. It was a pole.

Matt Baum:
Right. That’s what I’m thinking in my head, sort of picture it.

Greg Wilson:
But how do you get that out of the field by the thousands of tons? Yeah. Well you have to use existing equipment, which is used for bailing hay, then now use it for bailing hemp and modify it a little bit. And so then these bales come in, we had to come up with a concept of how to take it apart. So if it gets picked up, like a snail shell, like that, then you just reverse that to be able to unroll it. So when it’s getting rolled, it rolls it that way like a fruit roll-up, now it rolls it backwards.

Matt Baum:
And spin it the other way.

Greg Wilson:
Like roll a toilet paper.

Thanks to Blue Forest Farms

Matt Baum:
Let’s take a quick break so we can talk about our partner this week, Blue Forest Farms. Blue Forest Farms prides itself on a full seed to shelf process that is completely organic from selectively breeding their own high quality varietals growing their plants locally in their sun-kissed organic Colorado farms, monitoring the state-of-the-art extraction process and even engineering the best tasting formulas. Blue Forest Farms or BFF, as we call them in-house at Ministry of Hemp, ensures quality at every step in the CBD product creation process. They even have a very cool numbering system that helps you figure out what’s your number based on their six different CBD oils. Maybe you’re looking for a full spectrum, unrefined hemp oil, or you’re looking for pure CBD isolate with absolutely no THC. Or maybe you would be interested in their new sleep formula. It’s a CBN advanced formula, number six, their latest organic CBD oil. They sent me some and I’ve been using it. And I’ve got to say, I’ve been sleeping very well, which is great because I just ran out of my other one.
Blue Forest Farms has a CBD oil that is perfect for any of your needs. And you can find more information about their farm, the genetics, and how their extraction process works over at blueforestfarms.com and then head over to bffhemp.com and check out and buy their products. By the way, if you use the code ‘MINISTRY’ at checkout right now, you’ll get 20% off your first purchase just for listening to the show. Head to bffhemp.com, and of course we’ll have links to that in the show notes for this episode, and use the code MINISTRY to get 20% off your first purchase.
You guys are always contacting me and asking, “Matt, where can I get good CBD? Who is a good CBD company?” Blue Forest Farms is fantastic. We are proud to be partnering with them and I am so excited to recommend them to you guys. Again, head to bffhemp.com, check out their whole line of CBD oils, including their latest number six, which combines the benefit of CBD with a concentrated amount of CBN that’s going to help you get to sleep. And don’t forget to use the code MINISTRY at checkout to get 20% off and let them know you listen to Ministry of Hemp calm to get your information, and you want to support businesses that support us. And now back to my conversation with Gregory.

The process of creating hemp wood

Greg Wilson:
So we came up with this big arm that comes down and you stab a spike through the middle and you hold it up and this arm comes down and pushes it. And then it goes into a crushing machine, which actually we found an old plywood roller and hooked up the plywood roller and married the speed of the roller up to the speed of the bale on roller. So one of them pushes it while the other one pulls it and it breaks open the cell structure of it. And it feeds down a conveyor table and it gets rolled up again into a smaller bundle and chain link fence. And that way it keeps it spaced out, but we can dunk it into the glue. And the glue is actually plywood glue, the pure bond plywood glue, which is the eco-friendly soy-based, but we dilute it down by a significant percentage, so it’s very liquid. And-

Matt Baum:
Is that because you’re using hemp instead of plywood, basically?

Greg Wilson:
No, because plywood, you encapsulate or you roll it on top of the wood veneer.

Matt Baum:
All right.

Greg Wilson:
Well, ours we soak it into, so we dump the hemp for 10 minutes in it, and it’s big rolls. And then these rolls are unrolled on to these racks that go into the dryers that I showed you earlier. We took a bunch of tobacco barns. Actually, the most recent one, we took a rail car, flipped it on its side so we can get the nine foot width, hooked up the guts from five different tobacco barns flowing 75,000 CFM of air through there.

Matt Baum:
Oh my God.

Greg Wilson:
And then we hook all of these different elements that require heat to our bio burner. So we use the same fluid that you use for solar panels called glycol. You burn the ground up waste hemp that we have here, grind it, burn it. And then it transfers that heat to our ovens and dryers. So the same guts, we took the fans out of the tobacco dryers. We got the guts, the radiators, the heat transfers out of there too. So we hook all those up, blow the fans across the hot air, then it dries out the head.

Matt Baum:
So you’re using your own hot air to dry… from a different machine to dry out the hemp as well.

Greg Wilson:
Yeah. And we actually circulate it. So it hits the highest temperature requirement first and then drops. So the oven gets hit first, and then it can recirculate that same fluid to go to the drying, which uses a lower temperature. And then it feeds it back into the bio burner, which heats it back up and sends it through the circulation path again.

Matt Baum:
This is amazing nerd engineer magic you’re talking about right now. And I think-

Greg Wilson:
Oh yeah, this is all we do.

Matt Baum:
You’ve kind of just answered my question with like, “Why are you the only one?” Well, because you have to invent this stuff. It’s not out there. Like you guys are building this to do this.

Greg Wilson:
As we go, all the equipment. So and-

Matt Baum:
And you’re copywriting all of this, I assume. So you can be like, “Me, I did.”

Greg Wilson:
Oh yeah, there’s patents and trademarks and mayhem all over it.

Matt Baum:
Nice.

Greg Wilson:
Trademark the word HempWood, trademark the logo. So if you see hemp wood being manufactured anywhere in the world, it’s us.

Matt Baum:
It’s you.

Greg Wilson:
Then it goes to our next station. We’ve taken a whole bunch of agricultural equipment from the cotton industry, the tobacco industry, the bamboo industry, you name it. And actually our best employees are guys that we got from the ag school here. So the reason we’re based in Murray is because the first people to plant hemp since World War II was Murray State University.

Matt Baum:
Sure, sure.

Greg Wilson:
And so everybody that’s working on the farms, the school has five farms, they somehow, some way know something about hemp, because that’s one of their prime things here.

Matt Baum:
That’s so cool.

Greg Wilson:
This area doesn’t get huge yields for crops. We only get like 200 bushels an acre of corn, whereas if you go to Iowa, you get 250. So here does a lot more of the specialty crops. That’s why Kentucky is known for tobacco, and Kentucky is known for sorghum, and Kentucky is known for hemp.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Greg Wilson:
Kentucky is known for horses, because if you get a little bit farther west and a little bit farther north, then you’re in better soil and better climate for growing your row crops. So here’s the edge of row crops. But that’s why the school here gets into all these different specialty crops. And that’s why they’ve been researching hemp. And they set up the agricultural hemp innovation center, and they actually created an incubator for me to land here over top of some of the bigger universities-

Matt Baum:
Not only-

Greg Wilson:
… [crosstalk 00:22:41] out west with one of the Oregon schools.

Matt Baum:
Not only your raw materials, but you’re drawing from a pool of education as well that’s right there.

Greg Wilson:
Shoot, half of the employees here come from there-

Matt Baum:
That is awesome.

Greg Wilson:
… whether interns or whatever. Buy yeah.

Matt Baum:
That is awesome.

Greg Wilson:
Oh, yeah. And people that worked on a farm factory works easy for them. As farm workers, you got a roof over your head, right?

Matt Baum:
Yeah, man. It’s a huge plus.

The science behind HempWood

Greg Wilson:
Absolutely. But yeah. So getting back into the process, once it comes out of the dryer, we batch it again. And we’ve got a catalyst scale. Charles welded up these enormous racks for us so we can take it and batch for each block. So we have a uniform amount, which is the algorithm to… You’ve got 14 steps. So it’s algorithm that has to hit these numbers in order to make a uniform piece of material at the end that outperforms our target being Brazilian cherry, which is the high end benchmark of global wood. So-

Matt Baum:
Okay. When it’s done, is it the same? Is it stronger? Is it as strong as Brazilian cherry or?

Greg Wilson:
It is harder than hickory, has the same density of Brazilian cherry, and it is made in the USA in four months.

Matt Baum:
That is amazing.

Greg Wilson:
So it performs like a tropical hardwood, it has… stability is greater than Oak, harder than hickory, density of Brazilian cherry. So you can tick all the boxes of… There’s your mainstream American white Oak. That’s our price point that we’re trying to get to. That’s what everybody talks about. Red Oak. If you’re really into wood, you know that red Oak is not the Oak that you want to use, white Oak is. So red Oak costs half the price, it’s not as great for furniture. When you go to a box shop and you get your flooring at Lowe’s or Home Depot, and they’re like, “Oh, hey, solid Oak flooring,” is typically red Oak.

Matt Baum:
It’s red Oak.

Greg Wilson:
Red Oak doesn’t work as well. Well, it’s more susceptible to moisture than white Oak, so that’s why furniture is made out of it. White Oak actually works a lot better. It doesn’t chip and fracture and crack. So we’re trying to target white Oak as the mainstream, but we’re trying to outperform it by getting the density of Brazilian cherry, so if the density is higher, then so is your hardness, and so is your stability, because the density-

Matt Baum:
It lasts longer, better when it gets wet, I assume.

Greg Wilson:
Yep, absolutely.

Matt Baum:
Wow.

Greg Wilson:
Anyway, so getting back into it, again, we weigh it out, we batch it. We stick it into the press, we spray some more organic acid on it, which is the activator, which causes that cross-linking to happen, that we stole those proteins from the soy flour and impregnate it into-

Matt Baum:
Okay. [inaudible 00:25:23] all together, literally.

Greg Wilson:
3000 tons of pressure.

Matt Baum:
Wow.

Greg Wilson:
Yeah. Okay. I mean, the press is 24 feet tall, so 1200 gallons of hydraulic fluid [crosstalk 00:25:37].

Matt Baum:
Wow. What? Okay.

Greg Wilson:
Yeah. [inaudible 00:25:40] two flatbeds and three containers, and then we had to assemble it for 45 days.

Matt Baum:
Oh my god.

Greg Wilson:
We had to design that whole thing too.

Matt Baum:
It sounds like you built this around this monolithic monster machine basically.

Greg Wilson:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you have to crane this thing in through the ceiling.

Matt Baum:
Right. I picture you guys worshiping it like a god before you go to work daily.

Greg Wilson:
And we painted it hemp green.

Matt Baum:
Oh, nice. Very nice. So after it comes out of there it’s-

Greg Wilson: (crosstalk 00:26:11)

Matt Baum:
Oh, that’s him? Oh, wow. That is a monstrosity. Oh my god. So after it comes out of there it’s hemp wood, it’s done.

Greg Wilson:
Oh, no, it’s still got a week’s worth.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Creating hemp products sustainably

Greg Wilson:
So that process I just explained is a two-day process. You’re talking 36 to 48 hours from hemp stock to pressed into a mold. But then it has to go into an oven for 10 hours. And that oven we took… Actually, the first one we bought off the Facebook marketplace, there was an old motorcycle powder coating oven, and we were making our four foot blocks in it. And then we just recently got our new oven, which is a 20 foot container that we ripped apart, and we hooked up a 10,000 CFM blower on it and then hooked it into our bio burner. And so the bio burner then transfers the heat first, because that requires a higher temperature-

Matt Baum:
Which is the oven?

Greg Wilson:
Right, blows the hot air across the molds and bakes them and then recirculates it back to our dryers, which then throws the secondary heat. And because it’s too hot, then it actually has to throw it through a pipe that’s surrounded by another pipe full of water. And so it can actually heat the water to the temperature that we need because it only needs to be 100 degrees instead of 250. And so then it heats the water, which then recirculates through the dryer. And then the glycol goes back to the bio burner to get reheated and sent back out.

Matt Baum:
And this keeps you from having to have some stupid machine that just makes heat for this or just heats up this element. You have one machine that’s already making the heat and you’re taking that heat and pulling it everywhere you need it to go along the steps of the process.

Greg Wilson:
I replaces like four and a half million BTUs per hour of natural gas.

Matt Baum:
Jeez! Okay. That’s impressive.

Greg Wilson:
It creates a couple of thousand dollars a month worth of energy.

Matt Baum:
Wow.

Greg Wilson:
From a couple of thousand dollars worth of dumping fees we would had… In reality, we were just throwing it out in the field. I mean, we’re all farmers.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Greg Wilson:
You’re not allowed to burn it in the open. And so you it’s what we call ditch filler.

Matt Baum:
Fair enough.

Greg Wilson:
But there’s only so many ditches [crosstalk 00:28:19].

Matt Baum:
[crosstalk 00:28:20] mountain maker at some point, otherwise.

Greg Wilson:
Well, the first year we got mount hemp more, then ended up having like 150 tons of hemp that we couldn’t use because it got moldy or it got left out, or [inaudible 00:28:34] species. We had to try all the different cuttings as [inaudible 00:28:37] didn’t work, and all these different ways of trying to harvest it, ended up with like 150 tons of hemp. And it’s still sitting at the university farm.

Matt Baum:
Oh, wow.

Greg Wilson:
And so, yeah, we’re trying to get the ag fraternity to burn it at homecoming to try to get rid of it. They’re not going to let that happen.

Matt Baum:
Can you feed it to the race horses or something or? I don’t know.

Greg Wilson:
We do feed it to pigs.

Matt Baum:
Okay. So let’s get back to the wood though.

Greg Wilson:
Okay.

Matt Baum:
So now you’ve baked it. Is it done?

Making hemp wood, the final stages

Greg Wilson:
Nope. Then we have to take it and demold it. So it’s in these huge metal molds, it weighs 330 pounds inside of the mold and six foot long, six inches by six inches wide. A [crosstalk 00:29:19] weighs-

Matt Baum:
One six foot piece weighs 300 pounds?

Greg Wilson:
Including the metal mold around it.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Greg Wilson:
The actual wood inside, it’s 90 pounds, for a six footer or 60 pounds for a four footer. So then you have to open this out. So we have a jackhammer and an air gun. We’re opening these molds and you’ve got to take it with a crane, lift it upside down and pry it open. But then we had to come up with a machine to be able to automate that. So that’s just arrived from the fabricator, but we haven’t got to put it into play yet. We got hit with a $51,000 tariff on that, as well as the automation equipment to go into our press because the government, I guess, wasn’t real favorable towards making American manufacturing jobs, or maybe they just had their heads in the sand.

Matt Baum:
It’s funny because they keep saying that they are, so hmm. I wonder who’s lying. Ah, it drives me insane.

Greg Wilson:
It’s an election year, so.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Greg Wilson:
I can say that our local Congressman, Congressman Comer, is doing everything he can for us.

Matt Baum:
That’s great.

Greg Wilson:
But on a federal level, crickets. So these blocks come out, and then we open the mold, we’ve got an automation machine for that. And then they have to rest for a couple of weeks to stabilize.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Greg Wilson:
And then we have a saw, we just got our new saw in. We have to come up with a means of cutting it properly because our regular wood saws weren’t strong enough. And so our old baker resaw, now we’ve turned it into a fully automated, like 50 foot long saw, where it cuts the edge-

Matt Baum:
So this is so dense that you can’t just use a wood saw on it? A normal wood saw won’t cut it?

Greg Wilson:
No, it’s too strong.

Matt Baum:
Wow. That’s incredible.

Greg Wilson:
I had a hell of a wrench into our business plan.

Matt Baum:
I’ll bet.

Greg Wilson:
Because we were going to sell the wood, now we have to cut the wood because everybody initially said, “Oh, yeah, I’m a big wood guy. I got a big saw, send it my way.” And then they said, “Yeah, it’s a losing money operation [crosstalk 00:31:18] that stuff.”

Matt Baum:
“You broke my saw.”

Greg Wilson:
Exactly. And burns up your blades and breaks and everything. And so now, it came back to us, we got to cut the wood into the usable sizes for the manufacturers. So then we had to go and get a frickin hundred thousand dollars saw.

Matt Baum:
Good Lord.

Greg Wilson:
So then the wood is cut, and then we put into our balancing rooms, which once again, draw the heat from our bio burner to keep them at a certain temperature, and a dehumidifier in there. So you circulate dehumidified warm air, and then it causes it to dry out in about two weeks. And then we can turn it into flooring, and furniture, and picture frames, and cutting boards, and what we call home goods and [crosstalk 00:32:01] woods, there’s cabinetry and stuff like that.

Growing hemp for hemp wood

Matt Baum:
So what’s the color like? Because I mean, hemp is green and wood is not. At what point in the process are you like… Is the abuse on the cellular structure? I mean, that looks like wood, what you’re showing me. Is it just what you do to it you end up like that or are you adding something to it or taking something out of it to get it to look like wood? Or does it just end up looking like wood?

Greg Wilson:
We’ve had to do a whole lot to do that. But have you ever seen how wheat sun-dries? Wheat grows in a field and it’s green, right?

Matt Baum:
Sure. But it drys brown.

Greg Wilson:
And it sun dries and it turns a woody color, right?

Matt Baum:
Yeah, that makes sense. I guess, yeah. I mean, same with your grass clippings even, you know?

Greg Wilson:
Yep. So the key is to get it at a golden brown point before it molds, because if it molds, it turns black. If it’s too early, it’s green. So you got to, once you cut it, let it set for two or three days on one side, turn it over, let it set for one or two days in the sun, and then bale it up and get it out.

Matt Baum:
And then you go, “That’s the color we want, that looks like the cherry wood or the Oak or whatever we’re going for, get it in here and let’s turn it into wood.”

Greg Wilson:
Yep. Now, there is no cherry wood about it or anything like that. It is more of a Oak color. And then actually, there’s something called the maillard effect that happens in the glue, which I didn’t even know about until this happened. But the maillard effect is like the browning of gravy.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, I was going to say [inaudible 00:33:31]. And the maillard effect is like one thing we talked about when you’re searing proteins, the same thing.

Greg Wilson:
Protein to carbohydrates .So we’re stealing the proteins from the soy, baking it in an oven, and then it turns brown. So you’ve got the hemp stocks with the brown from the soy, which gives it the look it has.

Matt Baum:
That’s amazing. That is amazing. Instead of cutting down a tree that you said… It takes how long to grow before you can cut it down for wood?

Greg Wilson:
For Oak, usually 60 to 80 years is standard for Oak. And then a lot of times when you’re getting into your tropical hardwoods or old growth forest, you’re talking 100 or 200 year old stuff. Or even, I mean, as long as it’s been growing, if it’s old growth, they haven’t cut that forest before.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Greg Wilson:
That’s why the big deal about plantation forest versus old growth. Plantation, when someone was responsible enough, first time they cut it down, they planted something else there, and then you can get it in the cycle. Whereas if it’s old growth, then it becomes a mature forest and it’s got a whole different ecosystem that’s going on underneath of it, because you get that huge canopy that goes up. And once that canopy goes up, then you typically have your more traditional trees, at least in our area that are able to support more life. Maybe not from where they hide in it, but your nut trees and your… Like your walnuts and your acorns and different things like that, that take a lot longer to grow than your traditional trees that come up first or your poplars and your pines.
And your poplars and pines, 20 years, that’s a mature tree, maybe 40 years. Whereas your slower growing hardwoods are your Oaks and your hickories and your black walnuts and your ash and things like that. And so usually you have that cycle where the fast-growing ones get up first, and then your slower growing ones come up, but they eventually overtake your poplars and your pines. And that’s how you see an old growth forest come about.

Matt Baum:
So hemp-

Greg Wilson:
So we’re trying to replace those.

Matt Baum:
You’re replacing it with hemp and the hemp that you’re growing, that you guys are bringing in, how long is that growing?

Greg Wilson:
Four months-ish, three to four.

Matt Baum:
So four months versus 60 years, more or less?

Greg Wilson:
Yeah.

HempWood vs. traditional wood

Matt Baum:
Good Lord. Okay. And so when it comes to making wood-

Greg Wilson:
Numbers don’t lie.

Matt Baum:
When it comes to making wood, how many acres of forest are we cutting down to… I don’t even know the terms to use here, to make X amount of wood versus acres of hemp to make X amount of wood?

Greg Wilson:
So what we produce per acre of hemp that we get can replace about 30 Oak trees that are 60 years old-ish. It’s debatable how many trees grow on an acre.

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Greg Wilson:
Once it gets up there, then the canopy goes out. And so you actually have spacing in between the trees and everything. So is it a direct one for one replacement on a yearly basis? Probably not, but if you’ve got 60 years to have a crack at it, I guess it would be… It’s probably more like 40 to 50 of those years, you’d have a direct replacement. Or even if it’s half, if it replaces every two years what you can grow on an acre but you can do it 30 times-

Matt Baum:
That math catches up great.

Greg Wilson:
… in the same 60-year. [crosstalk 00:36:49] And it’s pulling all the carbon out. I mean, I’m not a carbon nerd or anything. I’m a bow hunter. My whole thing is, I need an Oak tree to hang my tree stand on, when a deer comes [crosstalk 00:37:02].

Matt Baum:
Sure. Yeah, so you can shoot a deer or a turkey while it walks by or whatever.

Greg Wilson:
Absolutely. So if somebody comes and cuts down all my Oak trees, then all of a sudden, I’m going to be hunting from the ground, you don’t get nearly as much.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. Is this the future of wood? Is this where we’re going?

Greg Wilson:
No.

Matt Baum:
No. Why is that?

Greg Wilson:
This will be a single digit percentage replacement for wood.

Matt Baum:
Why?

Greg Wilson:
You’re never going to replace because Oak, because Oak is a good thing. And if it’s done properly, having a wood floor or wood furniture that’s sustainably harvested, or is made here in the United States is always going to be the dominant player. And that’s not a bad thing. But if it can take care of some of those ones that are just clear-cut, or if it can take out some of those ones that are cutting areas that shouldn’t be cut, or if it can reduce some of that pressure by being, say, 3% or 4% of the hardwood industry, that’s where it’ll go.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, fair enough.

Greg Wilson:
Because there’s nothing wrong with Oak. There’s something wrong with us that take advantage of it in the wrong way.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, doing it irresponsibly.

Greg Wilson:
Correct. I mean, I work with wood. I love wood. There’s nothing wrong with wood. When people say, “Oh man, you’re trying to take out wood jobs.” No, we’re not.

Matt Baum:
See, now I-

Greg Wilson:
(crosstalk 00:38:31) another type of sawmill.

Matt Baum:
That’s where I was, like, “Oh, man, he’s trying to take our wood job.” I’m like, “Take out the wood jobs. The wood jobs are bad.” So I was really surprised to hear you say, no, it’s not bad. It’s just, it needs to be done responsibly. And right now it’s not being done responsibly everywhere.

Greg Wilson:
A lot of it is. The majority of your people are doing it the right way. But it’s a lot more profitable to do it the wrong way.

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Greg Wilson:
I mean, that’s what it all comes down to.

Matt Baum:
That’s pretty much every industry, unfortunately.

Greg Wilson:
And most things in life are.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Greg Wilson:
If you want to buy something made in America, expect a 20% premium. That’s just the way it is.

Building with HempWood

Matt Baum:
So what do these guys think about you? What do they think about a guy like you, who loves wood within the wood world and now you’re doing hemp wood? Are they making it funnier? Do they think you’re some kind of crazy hippie? Are they into this?

Greg Wilson:
It’s a mix. At the end of the day, people are genuinely good. And at the end of the day, people are trying to provide for theirs, whatever that is. And so if someone’s doing hardwood trade out of Africa, they’re probably not going into it saying, “Hey, I want to do this the wrong way to become overly wealthy.” They’re probably saying, “My customer gave me this order and it has to fit their budget. And that’s fine.” And the people that are doing those same types of things, more often than not, look at us, not as a disrupter that’s going to put them out of business, as, “Hey, maybe I can sell your wood too.” And so, I don’t know, instead of being a dick, it’s oftentimes better to just kind of be nice and work with people.

Matt Baum:
Right on. I love that answer. That’s great. I know, coming from our show where we do hemp education, we can get lost in the cheerleader aspect so much so that it’s easy to be like, “No, those guys are wrong. They’re doing it wrong. These guys are doing it right. We’ve got to stick with these guys.” And the answer is probably working together. The answer is saying like-

Greg Wilson:
Oh, absolutely.

Matt Baum:
… combining hemp wood with Oak, and showing like, “Look, they can both work together really well.”

Greg Wilson:
Why would you want to skirt 90% of the industry expertise? Why would you want to try to get around people who know how to work with wood? Why not just say, “Here’s a new product, play around with it? Tell me how it seals. Tell me how it sands. Tell me how it does this.” And share it on our platform. Because our big thing is, if somebody buys hemp wood from us and make something out of it, the trademark of, “Hey, this is a HempWood product,” goes right along with it. So they can say, “Hey, I’m making hemp wood tables, stack our logo on it.” And then actually, they can share it on our different platforms, whether it’s sending it to us, and we’ll put it on our social media, or putting it up on our website. And we send customers their way, and we allow all the different people working on it to tell each other how it works, and to avoid a bunch of those costly mistakes that end up getting people frustrated. Because it’s not the same as your traditional woods. And so very often, if you tell somebody how to do something, give them a 10-minute tutorial, they can avoid half of the mistakes that would cause them to reject a new material.
We’re still in that infancy stage of what we’re doing. And so our flooring right here, in order for people to be able to use it easily, and for us to be able to make enough of it, we lay it up on plywood, but we find eco-friendly plywood that uses the same glues that we use. And then when someone’s laying this piece of floor, it performs the same as a engineered Oak, which is the majority of your Oak flooring industry.

Matt Baum:
So the guys that work with it know what they’re getting and know how to use it, because it’s going to perform same way.

Greg Wilson:
Exactly. It’s a choice you have to make. And it’s not an easy choice, because making a buck ain’t easy. And you got what, 20% of the population that’s unemployed because of COVID? I mean, you got all types of situations and scenarios that are almost impossible to comprehend all of them.

The impact of COVID-19

Matt Baum:
Right. How hard did COVID hit you guys?

Greg Wilson:
COVID (censored by Matt) everything. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that on air.

Matt Baum:
You can say. No, it’s an adult show, don’t worry.

Greg Wilson:
So when COVID first came, luckily, we had raised some money before that to build out the plant. And so our sales turned off, our factory was shut down for six weeks. We weren’t allowed to manufacture.

Matt Baum:
Wow.

Greg Wilson:
And so we had almost no sales except for the stuff that was happening online. And John stuck with it and he went home for like a week and then said he couldn’t deal with that anymore. And just kept coming back into the office. He was like, “I’d rather be here.”

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Greg Wilson:
We weren’t allowed to have production because we have more than 10 people in a space. And so we shut for six weeks and then we had to open up with all these stupid rules that I understand, but it also kind of counteracts the other ones because we have to have like hand washing stations. But we don’t have a septic in order to capture all greywater that comes out. And so you’ve got to have… But you’re allowed to have a soap dish and a hose bib as long as it doesn’t have a base in underneath of it. And so we put these up with hand sanitizers everywhere and getting employees at the time is hard. And we still have double the absentee rate that we normally have.
Our customer base turned off, significantly, turned back on, now has turned back off. Our prime customer, people who like what we do are typically in your 20s, 30s, 40s; they typically are a homeowner, very often they’re associated with urban area. Maybe they’re not living in the urban area or maybe they work into it, and so they’re around… What I say is, someone who walks to work choking on tailpipe fumes usually cares a little bit more about the environment than somebody like myself. I live on a farm. It’s actually an organic farm, but I don’t do the paperwork for that. That’s the guys that actually take care of it. I just have the 30-some acres right around the house as like trees, and I got some cows, and I got some chickens and stuff like that. But for me, pollution isn’t a thing, I can pee outside, it doesn’t matter.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Greg Wilson:
But when you’re in a city with that many vehicles and that many people and all that stuff, thinking about the environment is a much bigger thing because you see what that many humans can change.

Matt Baum:
Definitely.

Greg Wilson:
And so most of our sales go to urban areas, or people that are in urban areas that don’t have a second home that’s in the mountains or on the beach. A lot of times it’s going into… It was hospitality, so ecotourism hotels and restaurants, sushi restaurants, and yoga studios, and stuff like that. COVID turned all that upside down. And so cannabis companies started buying hemp to build up their shops.

Matt Baum:
That’s cool.

Greg Wilson:
Because they were deemed to be essential everywhere, where hotels and restaurants all shut down.

Matt Baum:
That’s cool.

Greg Wilson:
And so, yeah, our industry friends kind of picked it up and said, “The election is coming, we’re going to still be building this stuff out.”

Matt Baum:
That’s awesome.

Greg Wilson:
It’s on the ballot in all types of states. And so we haven’t quite mastered how to talk to, or work with cannabis companies because it seems like a significant portion of that market segment are consultants and resellers that don’t actually have skin in the game or break and motor.

Matt Baum:
I’ve talked to a lot of them. So yeah, I know what you mean.

Greg Wilson:
A lot of my news feed turned into mask salesmen and gloves salesmen during COVID. But I can say that that’s where people are already accepting. So you don’t have to explain hemp to those people-

Matt Baum:
Right, they’re in.

Greg Wilson:
They already get it.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, you’re preaching to the choir.

Greg Wilson:
Exactly. So yeah, COVID threw everything [inaudible 00:46:57], and we’re still turned upside down. We’re stuck with the plan of continuing to build out and automate the facility while we let the whole market… What we can’t control will work its way out. And so we have to just keep building, keep moving forward. And what we do need to do is we need to get everyone per stakeholders to support the product by buying some hemp wood. Go to hempwood.com and, well, you can see all the stuff that’s on there. We’ve got our office number on there. Yep, [email protected] You can contact us and just kind of be part of the solution, because it takes a village to get this thing off the ground.

Matt Baum:
Definitely.

Greg Wilson:
And man, is it wearing hard on… Well, we started in 2018. We got our factory operational in ’19, and we actually had our finished goods ready to launch at NoCo the end of March, and then at the North American Wood Flooring Association at the end of April.

Matt Baum:
Just in time that you shut down.

Greg Wilson:
And so we’ve had all four of our trade shows canceled. And it’s been a dog’s breakfast with trying to scrape that back.

Matt Baum:
But even in a perfect year, it would still be difficult, but with this garbage, oh, my God. I mean, it’s got to be a nightmare.

The future of HempWood

Greg Wilson:
Oh, yeah. It’s insane. The only thing I know to do is just trust our team to keep working.

Matt Baum:
Right, and just keep going.

Greg Wilson:
Yeah, keep the publicity going, because we’re literally in the middle of a field. It was corn this year, it was hemp last year. We’re in the middle of the field. The closest town to us is five miles. And so there’s not a whole lot of foot traffic that happens due to COVID.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Greg Wilson:
The only way that we can get it out there and let people know is through stuff like this.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, and talk about it.

Greg Wilson:
And we just started traveling again. And so we’re literally driving around every week. We go to a new city with a trailer full of hemp wood try to figure it out. I can say that builders, for the most part, the younger generation say, “Well, that’s cool.” We get over a 90%, “Tell me more” rate. But then converting to actual sales on large scale build out, everyone wants to kind of see how it works and what it does and what’s happening. It started with friends and family and members of the company.
I actually build something new every Sunday out of it. Sunday afternoons are for making something out of hemp wood. And so I can speak intelligently about how to make it. So this past Sunday, I made a chicken coop. That doesn’t count, that was out of pine. Sunday before I made a cabinet for my wife, and we put it up in the bathroom. And so I had to figure out how to laminate lamellas onto plywood to be able to build a cabinet out of it. The doors are solid on the front, the face is solid, but then I had to get skins on the side. And so the number one reason that cabinetry makers, which are typically still made in the US, were not accepting of the product is because we didn’t offer plywood that had the face on it to do the skins on the side so it looks like it’s all hemp wood.

Matt Baum:
Right. And so they couldn’t get it to match or sync up.

Greg Wilson:
Yup. And so I do go and start working with that and say, “Hey, it is possible, look this way.”

Matt Baum:
That’s R&D, though. It’s just R&D, is what you’re doing.

Greg Wilson:
Exactly. Before that was building coffee tables. So I actually made the table during COVID… Our first table was made, and we made it out of a solid and it was way too heavy. And so we chopped that into three… Actually fell under the knife, maybe a month ago, and chopped it into three coffee tables because the table weighed over 200 pounds. So you couldn’t move it around. So that was three coffee tables that are like 70 pounds.

Matt Baum:
But if a tornado hits and you climb under that thing, you’re fine. Like it’s not blown away.

Greg Wilson:
In case somebody comes to shoot up the office just-

Matt Baum:
Yeah, just turn the 200-pound table over and you’re fine.

Greg Wilson:
So just working through all that stuff. The picture frames came about because we took it to our cabinet door manufacturer, and said, “Hey, what can you do here?” We need something that we can sell direct to people were showing up last year like crazy at our factory, just wanting to do tours. But people don’t buy wood. Nobody has tools to just buy [crosstalk 00:51:31].

Matt Baum:
Yeah. You don’t just walk in and, “I’m going to buy some wood, please.” “How much wood can I buy for $15?” Or whatever.

Greg Wilson:
Exactly. But everybody that tours the factory, we now figured out where you end the tour in the wood shop and we say, “And here’s picture frames for sale.”

Matt Baum:
You always end in the gift shop. That’s the rule, you always end in the gift shop.

Greg Wilson:
Exactly. Now here’s the next one. The number one question that we get about hemp wood; the number one thing people do when they get a piece in their hand is smell it. The number two thing or the number one thing that they say to us is, “What happens when it catches on fire, you’re going to get high and the firefighters? This and that.”

Matt Baum:
Give me a break.

Greg Wilson:
So now we’re making firestarter logs, so I can say, “Why don’t you buy some firestarters and then tell me?” So when people come up with a smart ass comment about, “Well, are you going to get high in case it’s on fire?” I say, “Buy some logs and you-“

Matt Baum:
Yes, one way to find out, huh?

Greg Wilson:
Exactly.

Matt Baum:
So let me ask you, on the subject of burning… And I’m not going to ask you that stupid question. Does it burn like normal wood? I mean, or it doesn’t? I wouldn’t assume so because it’s so dense.

Greg Wilson:
Correct. So higher density causes lower flammability, as well as being a composite because it has a glue based out of that soy. It actually burns much slower and it smokes much less.

Matt Baum:
So it’s safer, too.

Greg Wilson:
And the smoke is actually… It’s cleaner smoke. It’s white smoke rather than black smoke. And that actually comes from the soy burning. Go figure. When we built that bio burner and we had to burn the residuals in there, when we grind it up, it came out white. I was like, “What the hell is that?” And then all of a sudden we found out that was from the soy.

Matt Baum:
That’s the soy. So it’s even safer from like a flammability perspective too.

Greg Wilson:
Yes, it is less flammable than your traditional woods, especially your softwoods. It is less flammable than your traditional hardwoods like your Oaks and your hickories because the density is higher. So it doesn’t catch on fire as easy.

Final thoughts from Matt

Matt Baum:
I want to thank Gregory again for coming on the show. We had an amazing talk and it went on for much longer than this. And there’s actually a podcast extra you’ll be able to check out with me and Greg talking about his farm and some other things he’s involved in. That’ll be up for our Patreon Ministry of Hemp Insiders. And I’ll tell you how to become one of those shortly here.

Of course, you can find all the links to HempWood and HempWood’s Instagram and their Twitter feed and everything they’re up to in the show notes for this episode.

That’s about it for this episode of the Ministry of Hemp podcast. And I know I promised you that there was a show about Delta-8-THC coming, and it is coming. I’m just trying to put it together and get the right people to talk about it. So in the meantime, check out our Delta-8-THC FAQ. What is Delta-8-THC? It’s all about this new cannabinoid. And you can find that article on ministryofhemp.com, along with a new review of Healist Naturals body relief lotions, really nice for everyday aches and pains. Check out that review as well.
Again, huge, thanks to BFF for partnering with us. And you can find links to their site and information on how to get 20% off your first order in the show notes. And speaking of shownotes, here at Ministry of Hemp, we believe that a more accessible world is better for everybody. So we have a complete written transcript for this episode in the notes too.

If you dig this show and you like what we do on the site, then do us a favor and become a Ministry of Hemp Patreon Insider. Go to patreonministryofhemp, and any amount of money you give, makes you an Insider and get you all kinds of cool stuff like early access to articles, podcast extras, like the one I mentioned with Gregory, and all kinds of other cool things that we’re doing. It is the best way to support Ministry of Hemp.

And if you want to help support this podcast, drop us a review, a little star, or a quick written review, wherever you are downloading or listening to podcasts. It really helps us to get this information in front of people that are looking for it. And that brings us to the end of the show where I like to end the same way every time by saying, remember to take care of yourself, take care of others, and vote next week if you haven’t already. Oh, and make good decisions to, will you? This is Matt Baum with the Ministry of Hemp, signing off.

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