Spaulted wood question:

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Forum topic by RRGR posted 11-17-2011 08:34 PM 1172 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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54 posts in 3512 days

11-17-2011 08:34 PM

I love the look of spaulted wood. I do wonder however if an individual uses spaulted wood in a project should something be done to the wood to stop the continued rotting of the wood or does taking the wood out of the bad environment naturally stop the rotting action.

Seems to me that the closer the wood comes to food the more interesting the question becomes.

7 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16278 posts in 4396 days

#1 posted 11-17-2011 08:42 PM

That’s a question I never really gave much though to. I’ve done a lot of projects with spalted wood, and my own experience would suggest that removing the wood from the elements, combined with the application of a finish, pretty much halts the decay process.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Don W's profile

Don W

18992 posts in 2745 days

#2 posted 11-17-2011 09:23 PM

I’m with charlie. I beleive its a fungi that causes the decay, and fungi won’t grow on dry wood.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3165 days

#3 posted 11-17-2011 10:47 PM

I agree with the above. If the wood was air dried the fungus is dormant. If it was kiln dried it is dead.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View RRGR's profile


54 posts in 3512 days

#4 posted 11-18-2011 03:39 AM

Thanks guys for your expertise.

View Tennessee's profile


2891 posts in 2692 days

#5 posted 11-18-2011 08:35 PM

One thing you might consider…spalted wood does have a fungus in it, and working a fresh piece, albeit dead, will still release dormant fungus spores into the air when sanded. Found out the hard way my system doesn’t take well to spalted oak. Did fine with maple. Different people will react differently. Mask time, and a good one at that!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3448 days

#6 posted 11-18-2011 09:04 PM

Paul is correct here…the fungus involved give off spores and some of these and their waste products can be very toxic. Typical bacteria of this nature requires humidity, proper temperature and sugar to grow and thrive….remove one and they will expire.

The sugar is in the wood sap and in the fibres itself….so it is pretty much impossible to control or remove this food source….humidity is another issue and this can be controlled. Heat is another way to stop the process….If your wood is small enough, a good bath in boiling water…or a few moments in a microwave will kill them off – as long as you reach the proper temperatures (consider how you kill salmonella in food – by cooking until the food reaches the proper temperature to kill the bacteria). Kiln drying will provide the heat and is another choice if available (you can build a solar kiln which works great – google this and there are tons of plans and recommendations). It is always better to make sure you kill the bacteria before working with the wood – If you do not then the spores will go dormant and will come to life again if the right environment presents itself.

ALLWAYS, wear a mask and clean up the sawdust from working with spalted woods…..treat them like a toxic substance….your health with thank you.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View EPJartisan's profile


1122 posts in 3303 days

#7 posted 11-19-2011 08:20 PM

Where is Sodadowski … he seems to be the resident Mycology researcher. LOL

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

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