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Hemp Hurds as Paper-Making Material United States Department of Agriculture, Bulletin No. 404   By:

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=BULLETIN No. 404=

Contribution from the Bureau of Plant Industry WM. A. TAYLOR, Chief

[Illustration: USDA crests flanking bulletin banner]

Washington, D.C. PROFESSIONAL PAPER October 14, 1916


By LYSTER H. DEWEY, Botanist in Charge of Fiber Plant Investigations , and JASON L. MERRILL, Paper Plant Chemist, Paper Plant Investigations .

=CONTENTS.= Page. The production and handling of hemp hurds, by Lyster H. Dewey:

What hemp hurds are 1 Pith, wood, and fiber 2 Character of hurds affected by retting 2 Proportion of hurds to fiber and yield per acre 3 Hurds available from machine broken hemp 3 Present uses of hemp hurds 4 Present supplies of hurds available 5 Baling for shipment 5 Cost of baling 5 Summary 6

The manufacture of paper from hemp hurds, by Jason L. Merrill:

Introduction 7 Factors justifying an investigation of hemp hurds 8 Character of the material 11 Character of the tests 12 Operations involved in a test 13 Description of tests 16 Comparison of the tests and commercial practice 21 Physical tests of the papers produced 24 Conclusions 25

In preparing the report on the manufacture of paper from hemp hurds it became evident that a short discussion of the agricultural aspects of this material should be included in the publication. Such an article was prepared, therefore, and the two reports are here presented together.

[NOTE. This bulletin should be useful to all persons who are interested in the economic phases of paper making, especially to print and book paper manufacturers. It also should be of interest to scientific investigators and chemists.]


By LYSTER H. DEWEY, Botanist in Charge of Fiber Plant Investigations .


The woody inner portion of the hemp stalk, broken into pieces and separated from the fiber in the processes of breaking and scutching, is called hemp hurds. These hurds correspond to shives in flax, but are much coarser and are usually softer in texture.

The hemp stalk grown in a broadcast crop for fiber production is from one eighth to three eighths of an inch in diameter and from 4 to 10 feet tall. The stalk is hollow, with a cylindrical woody shell, thick near the base, where the stalk is nearly solid, and thinner above, where the hollow is relatively wider.

In the process of breaking, the woody cylinder inside of the fiber bearing bark is broken into pieces one half of an inch to 3 inches long and usually split into numerous segments. The thicker lower sections are split less than the thin shelled upper ones, and they are often left quite solid.


The inner surface of the hurds usually bears a layer of pith, consisting of thin walled cells nearly spherical or angular, but not elongated. They are more or less crushed and torn. They are probably of little value for paper, but they constitute less than 1 per cent of the weight of the hurds. The principal weight and bulk consist of slender elongated woody cells. The outer surface is covered with fine secondary fibers composed of slender elongated cells, tougher than those of the wood but finer and shorter than those of the hemp fiber of commerce. No method has been devised thus far which completely separates from the hurds all of the long fiber... Continue reading book >>

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