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Spalting

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Matt1245

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I love the look of spalted wood, but is it posible to make unspalted wood spalt? And if so, how long does it take?

Or is this just something that happens to live trees?

Matt.
 

Gary H

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Still trying to get the 'woodshack' watertight in
Yes I've heard of this before. Something to do with leaving it in a bag with compost and other things I think. I'm no expert as I don't do turning but it can be done, I'm sure.

FWIW I hope this helps m8. Someone will be along who knows better than I ;)

Gary
 

jasonB

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Some woods spalt easier than others, beech is about the easiest but I have also used silver birch, hornbeam, sycamore and even ash. You will not get it in living wood but may find it in a tree that has been damaged and is starting to decay. If you want to spalt your own you will need to start with green wood, not kiln dried.

Most people recon that if the wood is left in contact with the ground in moist conditions then it stands a good chance of spalting. Other methods such as storing with grass clippings, sealing in a bag with plant feed and leaving in a pile of shavings from other spalted wood all work.

The main thing is catching it before it goes too far and becomes unusable. Once the wood is dried the decay will stop unless reactivated by moisture, this is why you should always wear a mask when working spalted wood as the spores will become active in your warm, moist lungs.

Jason
 

JFC

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As far as i know spalting is the start / is rot entering the structure of the timber . Every timber will rot during time but maybe not with such a nice effect as spalting . The only way i can think of trying it is to leave a peice of timber on its end in your garden , maybe in the dirt or on the concrete . The timber is sure to rot but not sure if you'll get spalting .
The other way is nip down to your local woods and "borrow" a few logs that have been there a while :lol:
Ill be taking this borrowed timber back to the woods very soon :lol:
This is the type of log you need . You can knock the bark off very easy .

Heres the same log machined up.

Maybe i should add that your local council will have rotten branches they have cut down and im sure they would let you take a few rather than taking your own from local woods :lol:
Ah it looks like Ive been beaten to the first reply , im still learning about spalting myself and am looking forward to hearing more comments on this .
 

CHJ

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I currently have a couple of Silver Birch logs (freshly cut ) that were placed in plastic bags to conserve whilst I got my act together with a drying routine. After several bag reversals to dump the large volume of water that was being expelled they started to grow mold of various colours. Investigation of one log leads me to believe that spalting is occurring and they have been left to do there own thing for a few months to see what developes.
 

Steve Maskery

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Dunno.
But Here's my ha'p'orth.
As I understand it, the spalting is produced where competing colonies of bacteria meet. They are the defence walls which stop one colony from overrunning another. So conditions have to be right for colonies to exist, hence the warm damp stuff. I'ce seen spalted beech, ash. maple and oak. My bench is made from spalted beech. Unfortunately it also has woodworm, which is probably as a result of the same conditions :(

I did hear once of someone who planked a maple tree, covered it with a polythene sheet and forgot about it, then, months later, dicovered he had perfect spated maple, but I have no idea how you can reliably reproduce it. Perhaps there is a business idea there somewhere?

Hmm, I'm getting desperate, aren't I?

Cheers
Steve
 

Matt1245

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Thanks for the quick replies chaps.

I was thinking more of trying it with dried timber planks that i already have, for boxex etc rather than turning blanks. But if it has to be green then thats out the window anyway. :lol:

Might take a walk down to the local woods (still off work for another week :D ) and see what i can find.

Matt.
 

CHJ

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Matt1245":s67sfrm1 said:
Thanks for the quick replies chaps.

I was thinking more of trying it with dried timber planks that i already have, for boxex etc rather than turning blanks. But if it has to be green then thats out the window anyway. :lol:

Might take a walk down to the local woods (still off work for another week :D ) and see what i can find.

Matt.
Might I suggest a rucksack, plastic bin liner and a short hard point saw. (NO not to cut that desirable bit down) but wet wood tends to be a little heavy and is easier to cart back in a rucksack.
 

JFC

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You'll never get a good sized log in a rucksack , better people think your a nutter dragging a log down the high street than compromise on the size of your timber :lol: Im sure if you shout out now and again "ITS SPALTED" people will understand :lol:
 

CHJ

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JFC":19qchp6i said:
You'll never get a good sized log in a rucksack ,
Depends on what you need the wood for.
items (131-154-155-158-159) were all transported this way and I can assure you a wet beech log 450mmLX225mmD is more than I can carry in my arms for any distance.

JFC":19qchp6i said:
better people think your a nutter dragging a log down the high street than compromise on the size of your timber :lol: Im sure if you shout out now and again "ITS SPALTED" people will understand :lol:
Who the H**l has got enough breath left to whisper, let alone shout anything after climbing 100mtrs back up to the village from our valley.
 

JFC

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Sorry i forgot your not all 32 and indestructible like me :lol:
 

Dickymint

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Well, on a recent trip to the logs-to-be-burnt pile, I came across a nice 5ft log with a little star shake in the ends. Being as it was a very cold night, I decided to chop the old log up an' bung it on the open fire.
With the chain saw being a little on the blunt side I decided to put the log through the Band Saw. Much to my pleasure, on observing cut #1 it had spalted!!! 1 inch of cut later the wood seemed shake free and 2 lathe turnings later, with much self-congratulatory-recognition of results achieved, I have gathered the composure to ask: what is your perfered finishing of Spalted Beech?
I have turned the blanks, followed by 80, 120, 180, 240. 400, 600, 1000 grit sandings followed by multiple applications of Antique Pine effect wax.
I have 4 ft or so to go and am willing to give a go to your suggested finishes.
Happy New Year,
Dicky(after8)mint
 
G

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Dicky, I find that sanding sealer helps a great deal when finishing spalted timber, more than one coat often.
 

CHJ

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jaymar":blp8x3o6 said:
Dicky, I find that sanding sealer helps a great deal when finishing spalted timber, more than one coat often.
Also a coat or so of sealer before final cuts can be very beneficial in reducing tearing and reduce the need for the coarser grits
 
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