I wanted to make sure the mycelium was fully dry before photographing it, so I let the pieces dry for a number of weeks as opposed to just the couple days recommended before baking. Now I have two bases with three slices each, and an additional bottom slice that may be attached to one of the larger sections.
Today I tried to remove the weights (books) from the mycelium and pull the plastic away from the sides so the white coating can start to grow. I had some metal toilet paper holders, so I clipped the plastic bag to the holders to pull it away from the mycelium. There will probably still be some places where the plastic touches, but it should allow much more of the coating to develop than my last attempt. In the process, I accidentally pulled one of the layers off of the base, so I added the books back. Hopefully it will stitch together again (and be stronger than it was before).
Today I demolded the mycelium slices and stacked them. The cups do seem to have taken up more space in the mold than the last spacers I used, which explains the extra mycelium I had. Since my oven can only fit 3 slices stacked at once, I chose not to add the fourth slice at this stage. I might add it after they are fully dry, or maybe not at all.
While stacking the slices, I tried to press them together a little bit to help fill in some of the gaps that were left in my first attempt, so we will have to see how that works.
In a few days I will try to pull the plastic away so the mycelium can grow the white coating over it, then I will leave everything out to dry.
The mycelium component of the foot stool is now dry, and I baked it to kill off the fungus. There are some brown/orange spots and the seams don’t line up, so I might sand it down and put some kind of finish over it before adding the bamboo top, but that won’t happen for a while. It is now a single piece, so the growing the slices together worked.
Today I removed the stacked mycelium from the incubating bag and set it out to air dry. The slices seem to have grown together well, so it should stay in one piece. The areas where the bag touched the mycelium are not fully coated in the white powdery coating, but I’m fine with it. The white part seems to flake off and get all over everything in my previous tests, so I may need to scrape/sand it off, or maybe even seal or paint the final piece.
Because I only have three slices, the resulting foot stool should fit into my oven, so I have brought the piece home to air dry, and I will bake it when I have a chance.
Yesterday I worked on my presentation. I created a diagram showing the textures of the mycelium throughout the growth process, and I redesigned some previous slides.
It has been over a week since I last attempted to dry the mycelium. I have been checking on the air dry process, and two days ago I realized that all of the pieces are around 50 percent of their original mass and not getting lighter, so they are probably fully dry. The instruction from the grow.bio are probably for a different mycelium mixture that they used to sell, so the the final mass could be different. To check, I ordered a moisture meter that I need for the full chair anyway. It arrived today, and each mycelium piece registers as 5 percent or less moisture, which is the low end of what grow.bio says. They say that a full dry piece should be between 5 and 12 percent moisture, so everything is dry.
I can now continue the design for the chair which I began last Wednesday, and then possibly order more mycelium. I checked the sizing of the kilns at school, so I know what size I can make the chair, and I have a space to work, so I just need to set everything up.
Today I tried to bake the mycelium test pieces that have been air drying for 2 days. The pieces are supposed to be baked at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, and they are supposed to end up about a third of their original mass.
When I checked on the pieces before baking them, I noticed that some had started to yellow or turn brown around the edges. I’m not sure what caused that, but it isn’t too noticeable (the planter is not white because it was in a mold, so the color on it is from the crop waste itself. I could have let it grow in a bag for a few days to turn fully white, but I didn’t).
It didn’t go ask I planned. I ended up baking some of the pieces for an hour, and the rest for the 30 minutes, but none of them are fully dry. One piece was even damp to the touch after baking. I’m going to air dry them for another day or two, then I will bake them again. Hopefully it will work.
Today I removed the mycelium test pieces from their molds and set them out to dry. Removing the planter proved extremely difficult until I realized that hitting the mold with a mallet in the same spot over and over would release the opposite side, and I had previously been rotating the piece around.
I weighed each piece to determine their wet mass, that way I will be able to weigh them again once they have dried to make sure they are about a third of their original weight, meaning that they are fully dry.
The piece need to dry in open air for 1 or 2 days before I can put them in the oven. And once I do, I will be able to see how the final piece turned out.