Did You Know Why: Why We Refer to The Harvest Moon?

Loggers that I have met tell me of the importance moon cycles have to the durability and strength of wood products. Timbers felled during a waning moon produce inferior lumber with a diminished resistance to insects and degraded structural strength.

Artisanal woodsmen decry commercial logging that disregards natural cycles, harvesting on timber a business rather than a lunar calendar.   I thought this was all a matter of superstition.

It turns out that moon harvesting has ancient roots as a method of preserving timbers because moon cycles impact tree sap in the same way the waxing and waning cause ocean currents to rise and fall. A waxing moon draws sap up a tree, filling fibers with a natural preservative that keeps insects at bay and extends the resulting lumber’s resistance to cracking, warping and checking as the lumber dries.

Eco Design Architects and Consultants form Woodstock, NY, has conducted research on this method of natural wood preservation and they recommend cutting, “During the 3 days before the New Moon, but only between the Autumn Equinox & Winter Solstice.”