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Thread: Creating spalting

  1. #1
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    Creating spalting

    Suppose a turner has more than enough of wood from a particularly special tree to last him a while. How might one go about maximising the chances of one or more pieces pulling minerals from the ground? Set it vertical to the ground with an inch or 2 burried or laying it on the ground horizontal with an inch or so burried?

    Or 3: Stupid question.

    It is a walnut tree from my daughter's property.

  2. #2
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    I'm not an expert, but I think that spalting looks best with woods that are NOT particularly dark. Because walnut is pretty dark, the effect of the spalting wouldn't be as pronounced as it might be on medium or lighter colored woods.

    A question for people smarter than I am - - does the chatoyance of a wood seem to lessen or disappear when spalting occurs?? I have been turning a bunch of spalted Liquid Amber and am finding very little chatoyance.

  3. #3
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    My basic understanding of spalting is that it is the decaying process of various fungi. The black lines are the lines where 2 different fungi are meeting. And, yes, it is most visible in lighter colored woods, such as silver maple, or hackberry, or box elder. And I have a few pieces I am turning right now of Sweet Gum that have been cut and sitting outside for about a year, and they are spalted and sorry to say punky. As the wood sets uncut longer, more mapping (black lines) occurs. A Box Elder that I cut 3 objects from, progressively had more mapping as time progressed between each piece I turned. I also don't thing dark woods such a black walnut will spalt and create map lines. Perhaps English Walnut would, though, because it tends to be much lighter in color. Just my 2 cents, YMMV.
    Maker of Fine Kindling, and small metal chips on the floor.
    Embellishments to the Stars - or wannabees.

  4. #4
    The sap wood on walnut will spalt, I don't think the heart wood will. put the piece on dirt, end grain down, cover and wait about 1 to 2 months. For more than you ever knew you didn't know:

    http://www.northernspalting.com/about-me/

    robo hippy

  5. #5
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    Can't get the link to open.
    Do I bury the whole piece or just a small part of it?
    Know of any particular chemicals that can be added to the soil that would be drawn in and look good?
    This walnut tree us mostly very dark. In fact when I first started turning it I thought I saw some purple coloring, but then, I'm colorblind. I will say that it is by far the prettiest walnut I've ever turned. Just wish I'd taken more if it but my wife is already threatening to torch all of my wood.

  6. #6
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    Try spalting wood by placing the cut surfaces on the organic soil and wetting weekly. Also cover with a tarp if possible. Fungi love damp. You can also infect wood with spalted shavings from previous pieces. Of the same species of course--fungi are often picky about feeding. For hackberry, you can hardly stop it from spalting.

  7. #7
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    There is a LOT of info out there on spalting wood. Try Google and have fun reading. It appears that you can pick the type of fungi and become very scientific about it. I think that some have put a lot of effort into doing it and almost becomes a hobby of its own.

  8. #8
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    Walnut heartwood will occasionally show some shades of purple and green, however, they may not persist as the wood dries. Walnut heartwood, like all wood is susceptible to fungal decay, however, it generally does not provide particularly spectacular and highly visible spalting, as seen in the lighter woods. As regards mineral staining, once the wood is dead, it is not going to take up anything more from the soil. Your best bet is probably just to seal the ends to reduce checking, and go with what you have.

  9. #9
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    Want to know about spalting? Go to you tube and search for this :

    The intricacies of spalting: A master overview by Sara Robinson Phd.

  10. #10
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    Here are a couple of Sara's videos.
    Her book is now available from Amazon if you are so inclined.
    https://www.amazon.com/Spalted-Wood-...spalting++sara

    At OUS it is the fourth one down. (Different from the youtube)
    http://oregonstate.edu/terra/2013/07...ge-of-science/

    "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity." - Edgar Allan Poe

  11. #11
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    Spalted walnut sapwood can be just gorgeous. I turned a few walnut crotch bowls recently for a church auction and I left a bit of the (slightly) spalted sapwood from the top of the crotch. The wood was so beautiful I have many requests for more.

    walnut bowls2.jpgwalnut bowls4.jpgwalnut bowls3.jpg

    I didn't do anything to spalt this. The logs sat in the bed of my truck for a few weeks before I roughed out the blanks, so I assume the spalting was already there. Some of the walnut I've turned has sat on the ground for several months without any heartwood spalting, but the sapwood seems to spalt pretty quickly.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Ramsey View Post
    Spalted walnut sapwood can be just gorgeous. I turned a few walnut crotch bowls recently for a church auction and I left a bit of the (slightly) spalted sapwood from the top of the crotch. The wood was so beautiful I have many requests for more.

    walnut bowls2.jpgwalnut bowls4.jpgwalnut bowls3.jpg

    I didn't do anything to spalt this. The logs sat in the bed of my truck for a few weeks before I roughed out the blanks, so I assume the spalting was already there. Some of the walnut I've turned has sat on the ground for several months without any heartwood spalting, but the sapwood seems to spalt pretty quickly.
    Now that is beautiful...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Craven View Post
    Now that is beautiful...
    Thanks Aaron! Didn't mean to steal the thread, just wanted to show what it could look like

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the links.
    Looks like something I'd like to try.
    I have a fairly good supply of hedge. Being much lighter than walnut, I bet you could come up with some very special colors.
    I had been told that cherry darkens or "blushes" in sunlight. I found that to be true with hedge, too.

  15. #15
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    Are the fungi able to create spalting on a finished piece?
    She may have addressed that, but I had dificulty understanding her speech.

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