Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
A fungus amongus - for David Weaver...

Bill Houghton, Sebastopol, CA
...and perhaps other folks.

I have been reading a book by an English author on medieval and later English country life. In it, she makes reference to a shelf fungus that grows on birch trees and that was used as a strop for woodworking tools, razors, etc.

The fungus has apparently wandered around a bit taxonomically, but I found two articles that both reference this use, although they seem to differ on what part of the fungus is the relevant part:
https://www.wildfooduk.com/mushroom-guide/birch-polypore/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fomitopsis_betulina

Birch is not common around us - it appears we're not in the natural range of the various species - and I don't recall having seen this fungus. But it does sound interesting.

If you get excited by it, David, I'll look forward to the results of your research.

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