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Category Flax

Flax update April 2015

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It is now the beginning of May, and what lovely weather we been having!

I (Rhea) have been developing several presentations and a content marketing plan for TapRoot Fibre Lab Inc. Currently, I have been looking into several existing organic flax growing and processing standards. We are hoping to eventually have a set of standards and governance for a Nova Scotia label for flax that is grown and processed here in Nova Scotia.


We submitted an application, back in March 2015, to secure some support to move forward with this process was .

I have been experimenting with flax paper making over the last few weeks to explore different uses for flax. With every trial I have been making slight changes to see what works and what does not work. My first two trials were with flax tow by itself and then a mixture of flax tow and shive. Initially, I did not cut the fibres up before soaking. This created some issues when I tried to put the fibres through the blender. However, with a pair of good scissors, I was able to overcome this hurdle. My next couple experiments will include working with the whole flax plant. I am experimenting soaking one bundle of flax ( cut into ½ “ pieces) overnight before cooking. With the other bunch of flax I am going to skip over the soaking and cook the dried plant (also cut into ½ “ pieces). By keeping all 

measurements and steps the same, besides soak overnight, I want to identify how soaking the flax before cooking it will affect the end product.

Recently, I relocated to the farm on Canard Street.This move will allow me to experiment with flax and development our own TapRoot Fibre Lab product line.


I would like to friendly reminder you that TapRoot Fibre Lab is now on Facebook. If you’d like to say in the loop, I invite you to ‘like’ us on Facebook, just follow this link.

TapRoot Fibre Lab is in need of a logo!

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Attention all graphic designers: TapRoot Fibre Lab is in need of a logo!

TapRoot Fibre Lab is at the next phase. Help us to identify a logo for our new business. We are inviting you to submit a logo design to be shared and voted on via Facebook. The logo with the most likes that best represents our new company will receive a $100 gift basket of local goodies.

Send your submission to Rhea at fibrelab@taprootfarms.ca by April 30th, 2015.


About us: 
We are developing a small scale long line flax fibre processing machinery to transform retted flax into fine linen yarn.

We are offering an alternative to globalized textile industry.

We value sustainable economies.

We hope our equipment will generate localized economic growth in smaller, intentional and rural communities.

We will provide small scale and affordable equipment, expert advice, installation & technical support, and service relating to all aspects of growing and processing flax into fine linen.

We like purple - flax has a purplish blue flower.

We want to see flax products of all kinds available in Atlantic Canada grown and processed in Atlantic Canada.

Click here to learn more about TapRoot Fibre Lab.


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Taproot Farms Fibre Lab




I am Rhea Hamlin and I am the Marketing and Communication Specialist for the TapRoot Fibre Lab. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and share with you what I will be doing here at TapRoot Fibre Lab.


My education background is in marketing and management. I attended Nova Scotia Community College, where I graduated with a diploma in Business Administration, marketing concentration. From there, I transferred to Mount Saint Vincent University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in marketing and a minor in management.


As the Marketing and Communications Specialist, I will be conducting market research for the TapRoot Fibre Lab--identifying target markets and strategic partnerships, developing client relationships, developing a marketing strategy, and managing social and digital media profiles.

TapRoot Fibre Lab is now on Facebook! Follow this link (https://www.facebook.com/TaprootFibreLab) to 'like' the page.

Personally, I love to cook and bake and am always trying new recipes. I have been vegetable gardening since I was five years old--I like seeing a small seed grow into something I can eventually eat--and I volunteer with my local 4-H club and Regional Development Society.



Have a great day!



TapRoot Fibre Lab is closer to becoming a reality!

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Tap Root Fibre Lab


Winter Update


Since our last update, we have shifted our focus from processing flax into linen to designing, prototyping, and building small-scale processing equipment to transform retted flax into fine linen yarn. We did this primarily because we could not find small-scale, long line flax processing machinery anywhere in the world. So we decided to build it.  


We remain passionate about investing in community infrastructure and generating growth in a sustainable, localised economy. We believe TapRoot Fibre Lab can give communities the opportunity to generate more income and have more control over their local resources. We can offer affordable, small-scale, long line flax to linen production capacity with machinery that is straightforward to use, requires few people to operate, and will yield a high quality end product.

To that end, we are building a 6-stage modular system that can be sold in individual units. The full system will have the capacity to handle 750lbs of flax straw per day. The system is modular and will be built for shipping and operating in a standard 48’ ISO shipping container with 5KVA, 230VAC, 60Hz power requirements.


Mike, our design engineer, has been busy creating our first set of plans to build a rippling machine (rippling removes the seed bolls from the flax stem.) We are very excited about moving forward and to do that, we need funding. We are working with the National Research Council (NRC) on a proposal that will enable us to move into the next stage of realising TapRoot Fibre Lab. In order for us to secure funding to support the development of this, we are required to demonstrate demand for this equipment.

Here is the price breakdown for each component of and the full processing system:


Sale Price       

Removes the seed boll from the flax stem.


The first step in separating the fibre from the straw. The outer woody stem is crushed and bent, then the broken and crushed woody “shive” is separated from the fibre.


The fibre is combed smooth and straight while the shorter and lower quality fibre (tow) is separated.   


The fibre is drawn out into a continuous ribbon called a “sliver.”


The sliver is further drawn out and twisted into a yarn.


Full System


The NRC wants to see that we have potential investors in place as well as a core of customers who want to purchase all or part of our processing system.

We would be grateful if you can take a few minutes to complete this (very—only four questions!) short survey to convey to us your interest (or non-interest) in TapRoot Fibre Lab. If you are interested in becoming an investor, there is a comments section at the end of the survery where you can indicate this.



Thanks so much!






Flax Meeting Notes

Posted on by Patricia Bishop

I am sorting through paper work today, cleaning up my desk. I have come across notes from when Zdenek was here teaching us about flax and flax processing equipment. I have no idea where to put these rough notes so I will be able to find them again (yes I have a hard time with organization that works for me later).  I decided a blog post would work as a safe place to store this maybe necessary, maybe not necessary info. Note to reader: these are just a few things i jotted down in one of our talks.

So here are my rough notes:

Flax is a complicated plant. It is necessary to start step by step.

First summarize what you have done as of now.

Then what we will do up until the end of the year.

Check out laboratory equipment in Montreal.

Seeding Rate

Weed Protection

Necessary to recognize what kind of weeds we have here.

Flax must be clean - very clean.

ready to harvest: 2 cm maximum, 120 lbs per acre, brown/black seeds too old.

Time to harvest for fibre is when seed are yellow/green

15% moisture

unretted fibre will be yellow


Dry until yellow 3-6 days it is okay to get wet.

1 kilo of good quality tow $1/CDN

1 kilo of long fibre $4 CDN

Prices of flax depend on cotton prices - cotton goes up flax goes up.

Craylar technology.

2% flax used in clothing around the world.

Polish Institute for Natural Fibres

Get quote for roller/breaker and small sctuching machine in Poland.