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Wood identification please

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expatscot

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Hi all.

I've been noticing some unusual markings on some of the logs I got as firewood and putting them aside until I could do some work on them to figure out what was going on.

I'm new to woodworking and anything but up on my woods, but the chap told me before that most of the logs he has are ash and oak, so this could be one of those or something else, but can anyone confirm and maybe tell me what's going on in this piece of wood, which is the best I've had so far at showing these markings?

I'd also be really interested to get info on usability of this, whether the effect is likely to burnish up nicely or if something in the dark bits is liable to kill me!

Thanks in advance.

IMG_20210103_195947720.jpg
 

Fitzroy

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It’s called spalting and can happen to any wood. It’s the start of the rot process and normally due to a log laying for a while, years, after being felled. If it goes too far the wood will get very soft and unusable. The dark areas are normally softer than the other parts.
 

expatscot

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Ah, brill, thanks Fitzroy. Pity it's rot and thus not going to be something I can use, but hey ho.
 

marcros

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Ah, brill, thanks Fitzroy. Pity it's rot and thus not going to be something I can use, but hey ho.
Well don't jump to conclusions. It is fungal and if left too long will become too soft to use (also known as being a bit "punky"). Catch it before that point and you can use it. If it is borderline, then you can look at wood hardeners.

I am not a huge fan of spalted wood in general but I have a set of coasters from it that look good.
 

--Tom--

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Spalting can make pretty plain domestic timbers have a lot of figure. I’ve got some nice book matched spalted beech that I plan on using for cupboard doors eventually.
If it’s still solid I’d use it for something
 

Orraloon

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Most woodturners and a lot of box makers would love to get hold of that. As has been said its caused by fungus so if you do have a go using it a good mask is advised so as not to breath any dust in.
Regards
John
 

Fitzroy

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Sorry if I gave the impression it was unusable, as above many folks have used it to great effect.
 

expatscot

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OK, so I take back everything I said - I think I'm guilty of jumping to a conclusion! What I'm now thinking is that I need to dig into the woodpile to see what else I can find - I reckon I have at least a dozen logs with at least some spelting going on, so need to put them aside and get them properly dry and then see what I can do. Further investigation definitely required and I probably need to build my skill base a little more before trying to use this stuff as I don't want to waste it.

Thanks everybody
 

Owd Jockey

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There are various methods to create the spalting, which basically involve emulating the conditions that wood would naturally rot down, including covering in plastic in a dark place, covering in horse manure or even soaking in beer! Why any sane male would want to do that is beyond me me, except if the beer in question was a pint of John Smith!

Of course invoking spalting cannot be achieved overnight and requires regular checking that the wood does not become too "punky".
 
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