Beginning a journey to live more simply…

Enjoyed a unique opportunity to visit the Oregon Shepherd factory to see first-hand how they make their natural wool insulation. Even though they were in the middle of taking apart all of their equipment and moving the operation, Bob Workman took about 45 minutes of his day to show me around and explain their manufacturing process.

Oregon Shepherd is the only wool insulation manufacturer that we could find that does not utilize petrochemicals in processing their wool. They use a natural protein bonded borax treatment (Bob developed the technology. He says its even safe to drink!) to make their insulation fire and vermin-proof. He showed me how they combine this with the wool, as well as walked me through the process from a pile of raw wool to the finished product.

They use several different types of wool, some from Navajo sheep growers in New Mexico (left overs from the wool used to make Navajo Blankets), some from the textile industry (including a huge stock of ‘waste’ wool from the Pendleton Wool factory that otherwise would have been sent to the land-fill), and some off-cuts of wool from sheep growers all over the Pacific Northwest that had no market before.

The following video of the visit is quite rough. I shot some clips on a little digital camera (so sound and video quality leave a lot to be desired). Bob was gracious enough to allow me to film as he showed me around. If you listen closely, you’ll be able to enjoy the tour and learn about their company as well.

Thanks again to Oregon Shepherd for taking such an active part in our tiny house project!

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