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Spalted Beech

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mudman

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The other thread reminded me of some beech logs that I wrapped up in plastic to see if I could get some spalting to happen.
Unwrapped them at the weekend and had a look, one is showing some pretty dramatic spalting on the ends so I assume that it is now 'ripe' for turning and that I should do something with it. Another though seems to have decayed a bit with the outside of it having gone very soft. I think this was one that looked like it had been lying on the ground for a long while before I happened along. I think I should split it and have a look to see what the wood is like inside.

Does anybody know if my first log will spoil if I can't get around to doing something with it soon? If it will, what is the best way of preserving it?
If the second log is softish all the way through but seems promising, is it possible to 'harden' up the wood for turning? Or is just a case of chopping up into fire wood?
 

Taffy Turner

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The first log should be fine - you need to get it somewhere dry, as once the moisture content drops below a certain point, the spalting process stops.

As far as teh one that got a bit over "ripe", I find that a good soaking with shellac sanding sealer firms the wood up nicely, and makes it easier to turn. I would guess that any type of sanding sealer would work, it's just that I only have shellac based.

I have quite a lot of spalted beech waiting to be turned. I have found that a good method of inducing spalting is to leave the fresh cut wood lying in contact with the earth where the rain can get at it. Most of mine was left like that for about 12 onths before being brought inside to dry off.

I also read an article on teh web somewher that said putting teh cut logs into a plastic bag with some horse manure worked well also.
 

jasonB

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I'd agree with TT the firm one will be fine. I would rough turn the other , leaving it a bit thick, then dry it. Once dry, rechuck and turn with the aid of sanding sealer (I use celulose) to firm up the soft bits. Watch out when sanding as the soft stuff will be removed much quicker and you may end up with an uneven surface.

Here are a few of my turnings alot of which are spalted birch, hornbeam and the flat box is beech.

http://photobucket.com/albums/v156/jaso ... 20turning/

Jason
 

mudman

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Thanks for the replies.

I think I'll take your advice and get them out of the bags to dry off.
The other one though was a lost cause. I tried to rough turn it with the intention of letting it dry out slowly but it developed a pretty major crack as I turned it. I decided that it might be a bit dodgy to continue and left it. The crack turned into a full length crack right down to the pith. :( Oh, well, I had a feeling it wasn't going to be much good.
 

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