Is this junk wood?

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Forum topic by D_Allen posted 11-13-2010 04:48 AM 1871 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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495 posts in 2808 days

11-13-2010 04:48 AM

Recently I bought some maple from a guy and 2 of the boards have this black figuring.
Is this just junk or would it finish with some ‘character?

-- Website is finally up and

19 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3099 days

#1 posted 11-13-2010 05:00 AM

If the wood is solid, this is called character. If it is soft and punky it is called junk.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View mpounders's profile


875 posts in 2919 days

#2 posted 11-13-2010 05:00 AM

It looks like spalting to me. Spalting is caused by a fungus I believe, and it is usually considered desirable and beautiful, the more the better! But it really depends on what you plan for the wood or if you are trying to match something. I bet it would look pretty good!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View cabs4less's profile


235 posts in 2786 days

#3 posted 11-13-2010 05:02 AM

looks like spalting to me i like it just be sure to seal it wit super glue or cynowhateveritscalled first

-- As Best I Can

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3761 days

#4 posted 11-13-2010 05:08 AM

Spalted wod is very desirable. You can resaw it and do book matched panels etc. Make sure you you a respirator and some ventilation when working with spalted woods because of the fungus. This is a standard precausion.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Ryan's profile


238 posts in 2954 days

#5 posted 11-13-2010 05:18 AM

Looks like spalted maple. It may be a good work piece depending on how you use it.
I used the splated wood for clock dial. Take a look at this:

View tnwood's profile


259 posts in 3111 days

#6 posted 11-13-2010 04:56 PM

To me that is the best maple you bought. If you don’t want it, I will be glad to take it. It finishes beautifully. Use it for door panels or whatever.

View Beeguy's profile


179 posts in 3660 days

#7 posted 11-14-2010 11:51 PM

I did a large farm table using this type of maple. Around here it is called “wormy maple” as you find some nice little worm holes in the spalted area. I think it really adds to the look, especially on country style furniture. I have found it also costs a little more if the mill pulls these out.

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2808 days

#8 posted 11-15-2010 04:14 AM

Thanks all for the info and coments.
I guess it is spalted then. Shows what I know about wood.
I cannot press my thumbnail into it so it is hard. Currently I am building a 5-drawer cabinet for the better half that will be used for misc stuff, letters, postage items, etc.
Since the faceframes and end panels are done and made with the clearer stuff, I’ll save this for another project. Sorry tnwood, I think I’ll keep it.
And about the stuff with wormholes in it…....I hated that stuff. That was from an earlier stock of wood from my brother. I spent too much extra time figuring out where to use the wormy stuff so it wouldn’t show.
It turned out OK, just don’t look too close!

-- Website is finally up and

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 2787 days

#9 posted 11-15-2010 05:58 AM

Keep it, keep it, keep it ! If it’s not soft, like you can stick your digits through, it is wonderful markings. Ask
any wood turner, this type of wood is to die for.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

View tnwood's profile


259 posts in 3111 days

#10 posted 11-15-2010 03:56 PM

I fill the worm holes with super glue and sawdust. Works well if you fill it well. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries to get it right. Most of the finishes I use do not seem to be incompatible with CA glues as long as I remove the excess by scraping.

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3365 days

#11 posted 11-15-2010 04:23 PM

Ambrosia Wood Description

The dramatic coloring in this maple, Acer Rubrum, is caused by the Ambrosia Beetle. The beetle causes pinholes 1/100” – 1/4” in diameter and attacks only recently killed/cut trees, logs, and green lumber. They usually bore into the sapwood of both hard and softwoods although sometimes they affect the heartwood. Interestingly, the beetle does not consume the wood; rather, when he excavates his “tunnel”, he introduces two types of fungus.

The first grows on the walls of the “tunnel” and it is this fungus which is consumed by the beetle for nourishment. The fungus is called Ambrosia and the name was passed on to include the beetle.

The second fungus is a staining fungus which, if introduced, causes greenish-gray or bluish-black staining around the pinholes.

this is also called wormy maple (as stated above)
and spalted maple (ditto)

here is some of it’s beauty

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View helluvawreck's profile


31378 posts in 2891 days

#12 posted 11-15-2010 04:26 PM

I love the look of it and I think that if is solid then why not use it for something pretty.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2863 days

#13 posted 11-16-2010 01:20 AM

Use it! :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 3055 days

#14 posted 11-16-2010 04:30 AM

An excellent use for it would be the draw fronts. The plain ends and face frame would make a beautiful offset for the draw fronts.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2808 days

#15 posted 11-16-2010 05:20 AM

Interesting idea Jack. I’ll consider it.

-- Website is finally up and

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