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Bog Oak: Mining


Traditions of mining as well as manufacture of goods made of bog oak underwent a lot of changes during the last century. Since bog oak resources are limited the resource of bog oak on the territory of Europe havs practically run out. That’s why materials extracted in Russia were delivered to Europe where such items of interior for royal palaces as stairs, railings and other parts of decor were made of bog oak.

Since ancient times bog oak was developed by handicraft method: prospectors found trunks and got them out of water mostly by hand. Later on industrial method was developed and applied by the Joint-Stock Company «Zheleznaya Doroga Moscow-Kazan». Then, in connection with the World War I, all contracts with Europeans were cancelled and bog oak mining was stopped. Later on the development of deposits was reviving with variable success.

In February 1948 according to the regulation of the USSR Party and the Government of the USSR the processes of mining and processing of bog oak was considered to be unprofitable. As a result Saransk Republican Bureau, the only plant dealing with bog oak on the territory of the USSR, was closed. Thus, bog oak was «crossed off» for more than 60 years despite the fact that Russia had centuries-old experience in bog oak mining and processing.

Nowadays once lost mining and processing technology is being revived although it is available and accessible only to experienced specialists. It is very complicated and long-standing process which demands great efforts and resources. Before the season starts the specialists explore hundred kilometers of river-beds, analyse features of the banks, current speed, depth and structure of the river bottom. In the places of the supposed oak deposits at different depth skin-divers explore the river bottom in search of sunk oak-wood, dig out a space around in order to have a chance to deliver it to the bank with the help of modern equipment. Further, these raw materials are processed, transported, classified and dried. Only after the three-year process of drying the material can be used for further processing.

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