It takes on average 7-10 years for a agave to mature from 'seedling' depending on the variety. I have found agave americana grows biggest where I am living. It grows as a rhizome under the ground like ginger or banana tree and many pups grow around the base, kind of like clumping bamboo. One agave can turn into hundreds in a matter of one life cycle so beware it is very invasive under the right conditions. Once the plant dies it makes the flower, which is used as wood. The flower also grows thousands of pups and millions of seeds.
The agave farm is th future for western usa. Mexico, Australia and Brazil all have major biofuel programs and industry using it.The advantage of agave is it requires very little energy input to convert flowers to wood and then blanks. No chemical processes. It can be done by hand. And the waste can be reused as fuel or compost, although it is very acidic for the soil.
Its only a matter of time until Exxon and others catch on. It is an incredibly useful plant like coconut, bamboo, cannabis and others. Its the the original foam and solar panel.
Agave sounds unique as a plant and definitely has the ability to produce an aesthetically beautiful product. I have heard it can be difficult to work with, particularly compared to the ease of today's polyurethane and expanded polystyrene - which both materials can be recycled.
I wonder if the same care in shaping agave has to be exercised as with balsa, which, without proper vacuum and/or mask protection the fibers will swell inside your lungs if breathed in while shaping? (Note: moisture in your lungs will cause balsa particles to swell causing discomfort and impaired respiration).
You bring up a good point in taking precautions when working with agave, although I would take the same care with foam or wood and wear a mask and have good ventilation. Personally, I would choose a lung full of organic matrial rather than coating them with microplastics. Agave dust can cause breathing problems because it is hydrophilic like the eucalyptus mentioned. Agave is a water magnet, so it makes sense it would attract water if inside the lungs. I wear a full face mask like Hizenberg when working it because it also dries my eyes out. I dont have proper vaccum system in my shop, yet, and the dust is everywhere and particles are always suspended in the air. So a vaccum and particle filter would be ideal but down the road.
Working agave is difficult but not impossible and a lot more aligned with foam than hollow wood construction. For me the difficulty is in the glue lines, which are hard like glass in comparison to the soft, foam like agave core. So when shaping the less dense material is taken off faster and more easily than harder exterior skin or glue. I would equate it to driving a manual transmission to an automatic one. Surely, manual is more complicated and fun to use while the auto is less complicated both achieve a similar end. If one only learned and experienced driving with an auromatic then transitioning to manual may sem daunting and difficult. Although, if one is learns proper technique for driving a manual then that unknown is readily mastered.
Don't be scurred. Find a piece of agave that is dead and dried out and play with the material. It will blow your mind. It is like no other wood or material I have come across and it is very easy to shape, sans the hard skin which should be removed and the glue up lines.
Best foam available is Keahana. We have HPPS, pps foam blanks, it Fixes all problems with poly and eps starting with its water resistance
Checked out your website etc. Interesting approach. Not something for a guy like me, but definitely workable for "one offs" and beginners. The whole packaged kit, premeasured etc. is good marketing. Over here in the U.S. everybody's an expert and they want to do everything on the cheap. They all think they can shape and glass a board that looks better than a custom $1200 board from a local shaper and surf shop. So they probably wouldn't watch your videos, nor follow instructions. Lowel. PS -- kiddin a bit; but now I know what a "Sash" is and learned a new use for what we call over here a "dust pan". Wish you sucess.
That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.