Our Briar and Morta
The first and most important step in the curing process is proper aging. I don't believe that any process, no matter how sophisticated, can bypass the need to age the wood and let it dry naturally. My long-term stock is kept stored in a dark drying room for at least a couple of years before I even touch it (most of my briar stock has been air-drying for over 15 years), and then it transfers to my workshop where it sits in ventilated storage shelves being regularly turned for another year before being used. Ideally, I believe at least 5 years of natural aging is essential to the wood.
Once the natural drying is done, I take the process a few extra steps with controlled heating and some dehydration techniques, applied after initial drilling. First, the stummels are boiled one extra time in a treated mixture I've worked out over the years, which has the effect of removing any remaining resin from with the drilled tobacco chamber and also of enhancing the wood's burn resistance. After this, the stummels are dried naturally and treated with yet another process to aid the removal of the water gained during boiling.
The majority of our morta stock now is morta from the Briere park in Brittany, where we lived, worked, cut, and dried the material for the past seven years. However, the Briere morta can only be harvested by residents within the park borders, so we will be unable to obtain any more of this particular morta source - When our current stock is gone, it's gone for good. I am currently searching for other suppliers of morta of equal quality, which is something of a challenge, because I'm only interested in the blackest, hardest, densest morta. Anyone with connections to suppliers of quality morta is invited to contact me via the contact link above.