21 November 2017

Aceite negro

     In Virginia and most of the United States we get to go to Home Depot or a similar place, pick our wood, load it and head for the job site:  2"x4"s, 1"x8"s, 2"x10"s; treated or untreated.
     Those aren't choices in most of Nicaragua and for sure not in the Bluefields area.  Instead you give a list of the wood sizes you need to someone and he goes out with a chain saw and cuts your wood to order.  
     And then you build into your project an extra three weeks or three months for your fresh cut wood to dry - we're accustomed to kiln dried wood we can use right away. Again, that's not an option in in the Bluefields area.
     This said, there is one place in Bluefields that offers a selection of wood sizes ready-cut but the wood is more costly, not planed, not treated, and not dried.
     Another thing to take into consideration when using wood along the Caribbean coast is termites: there are a lot of them. Treating wood to prevent, or slow them down, is pretty critical.  And even if you build your home of block and concrete, there are wood elements as food for termites.

     So a practice has developed along the Caribbean coast of treating the wood in situ, that is after it's put into place in the building.  In other words you build your house or shed or room and then apply either diesel fuel or aceite negro, (used motor oil) to all the wood.  Given the cost of diesel, black oil is what's usually applied.  
     So when a building goes up, a crew goes through the entire thing with throw-away containers full of oil and throw-away brushes and they coat every wood surface with used motor oil (or diesel) which termites DO NOT LIKE.
     Here's Cesper, certainly our builder of choice, and part of his crew coating El Nido from the top down.  It's messy but it's a very effective treatment against termites.  Two or three weeks after the oil's applied you can paint right over it and never know that such a thing as aceite negro had ever been applied.