detoxifying giant hogweed

[I've already tried this query on sci.botany and sci.pharmacy; no joy. And there doesn't seem to be a publicly accessible toxicology forum where such a question could be posted.]
I am well aware of how hazardous giant hogweed is, before anybody posts trivial responses to this.
A friend of mine made himself a very nice musical instrument (a harmonic whistle resembling a Hungarian tilinko) from part of a giant hogweed stem. His had been detoxified - he lives on the shore of the Forth, and the stem was washed up after sloshing around in the sea, maybe for weeks (the Forth has strong and chaotic tides). Cutting, polishing, painting and playing it produced no adverse reactions, so the toxin must have all gone after its saline soak and subsequent drying.
I would like to try the same, using an intact stem to make a longer, deeper instrument. There's plenty of giant hogweed growing around here, but I don't have a private ocean to dunk it in. Any ideas on how to detoxify the stuff at home? I was thinking of simply standing the stems in a bucket of saline or alcohol, but maybe there's some specific chemical agent that will deactivate furanocoumarin? Is drying enough? (I doubt it).
And to repeat, yes I know I'm talking about handling something as hazardous as a chemical warfare agent. I'm thinking Tyvek overalls, rubber gloves and a full-face mask when harvesting it (using a small handsaw which will be immediately disposed of along with the clothing).
============== j-c ====== @ ====== purr . demon . co . uk =============Jack Campin: 11 Third St, Newtongrange EH22 4PU, Scotland | tel 0131 660 4760 <http://www.purr.demon.co.uk/jack/ for CD-ROMs and free | fax 0870 0554 975 stuff: Scottish music, food intolerance, & Mac logic fonts | mob 07800 739 557
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On Jul 10, 6:44 pm, Jack Campin - bogus address

I understand the stuff is free, but if they _paid_ me to use it, I still wouldn't. Where's the benefit? http://www.life.uiuc.edu/berenbaum/newpage1.htm
This is a tilinko
http://danmoi.de/shop/images/medium/kt-1_MED.jpg
Seems to me that you could make one out of wood in any number of ways. If you're not limiting yourself to wood, you could expand the construction possibilities by quite a bit.
How about using an acrylic tube and wrapping it with wood veneer and plugging the ends with solid wood or bone as required?
R
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It sounds good. Which harmonics you get, and how strong each one is, depends on fine details of the bore geometry. Whatever the exact shape of the bore of a giant hogweed might be, in practice it gives an instrument it's particularly easy to blow tunes on; I found it far preferable to the parallel bore of a conventional tilinko. The only way to reproduce that would be to X-ray a giant hogweed and use computer machining to replicate it. I don't have anything like the tools required to do that.
It's also unusually light, and the ridges on the stem make for an interesting look, like something out of a Max Ernst or H.R. Giger picture.

That would give a parallel-bore instrument, which is not what I want.
============== j-c ====== @ ====== purr . demon . co . uk =============Jack Campin: 11 Third St, Newtongrange EH22 4PU, Scotland | tel 0131 660 4760 <http://www.purr.demon.co.uk/jack/ for CD-ROMs and free | fax 0870 0554 975 stuff: Scottish music, food intolerance, & Mac logic fonts | mob 07800 739 557
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On Jul 11, 8:48 am, Jack Campin - bogus address

What leads you believe that your hogweed stick will sound the same as your friend's? If the harmonics are dependent on the fine details of the bore geometry, little differences can have a big effect, so why would you think you'd be able to replicate that sound? You don't know what the fine details are in your friend's stick and you're assuming that your stick will have the same details. Maybe, maybe not. It's also unclear what effect, if any, the brine soak had on the sound.

That sounds attractive.

You could built it up from laminations of veneer - either wrapped or radiating from the center like bike spokes. That would allow you to tweak the interior so the sides are not parallel. You could make a male mold and use a lost wax or similar process. Etc.
I am not convinced that any piece of hogweed would make a nice sounding instrument any more than any piece of bamboo would. I suppose you're willing to make a number of test sticks to arrive at one you like. Still seems like a lot of work, with potentially dire consequences, with no guarantee of success.
I'm not sure what the equivalent agency would be on your side of the drink, but the first people I'd ask would be my state's agricultural department. They're the ones most familiar with the local flora, and particularly the more problematic plants. You might find the information on neutralizing the toxin is well known, or someone there might be willing to do some leg work to help you out.
Good luck with it.
R
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For grass-family plants, bore geometry is highly reproducible (as in Chinese and Japanese flutes). Giant hogweed looks as uniform in its growth pattern as bamboo, so it seems worth a try.

Crystalline materials are usually not good for tonal stability if you leave them in place - I would guess he washed it out, I'll ask. But soaking in simulated seawater is easy enough, if that's what it takes.
One way of detoxifying it is just to leave it. The seeds were (maybe still are) harvested for culinary use, so presumably people didn't lose large areas of skin in the process - the toxins must have gone by late autumn. The problem with that approach is that the dead stem rots quite fast in damp Scottish autumn weather, the plants fall over around November.
At least I don't already have a hypersensitivity to any other plant containing furanocoumarins, so I have some margin of safety.
Actually I doubt this stuff is as bad in the long run as Dalbergia species. The irritants in those stay in the wood forever.
I find one paper on the web about removing furanocoumarins from grapefruit juice using "food grade solvents" and absorption resins.
============== j-c ====== @ ====== purr . demon . co . uk =============Jack Campin: 11 Third St, Newtongrange EH22 4PU, Scotland | tel 0131 660 4760 <http://www.purr.demon.co.uk/jack/ for CD-ROMs and free | fax 0870 0554 975 stuff: Scottish music, food intolerance, & Mac logic fonts | mob 07800 739 557
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Jack Campin - bogus address wrote:

Have you thought of calling your nearest university biology department and asking a botanist? I would think if anyone would know he'd be the one to ask.
ron
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Jack there are several plces where you coul try for information about giant hogweed. Scottish Agricultural College, The Macaulay Land Institute near Aberdeen, and the Royal Botannical Gardens in Edinburgh. There is an agricultural Dept in the Scottish Executive in Edinburgh but their exact title escapes me at present. I am based in Glenrothes myself and are aware of the dangers of Hogweed and remind my kids regularly of the dangers from it, although we dont seem to have much of it around here at our local pond and river. There is a big campaign on the go just now to eradicate it and I cant remember who the lead agency is, it might be SEPA. Good luck with your hunt for info. Mike Dempsey
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On Thu, 12 Jul 2007 11:31:20 GMT, "Mike Dempsey"

Genesis "Nursery Crimes" track 3.
Mark
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Jack Campin - bogus address wrote:

Soak the newly harvested stems in brine for at least a month, changing the water once a week.
Do not allow bare skin to contact the solution.
Then dry in an oven at about 180 F. for ten hours. Any parts of the stem that may contact the skin should be well dressed with beeswax.
JJ
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