Spalted Maple

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Forum topic by coachmancuso posted 02-11-2013 08:48 AM 1125 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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259 posts in 1897 days

02-11-2013 08:48 AM

I am new and have never worked with spalted maple. I am going to make a band saw box with it what should I know about the wood before I start?

-- Coach Mancuso

10 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28933 posts in 2304 days

#1 posted 02-11-2013 10:33 AM

Can be pretty awesome looking. Other than that it’s just maple. Be sure to post it.

Welcome to LJ’s

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 1985 days

#2 posted 02-11-2013 11:18 AM

I second what monte says. It’s a beautiful wood, we look forward to seeing what you come up with.

View lew's profile


12018 posts in 3721 days

#3 posted 02-12-2013 01:32 AM

Don’t know if it is true or urban legend but they say the spalting is produced from mold/fungus and some folks have allergic reactions. I don’t take any chances and wear a respirator when turning and sanding it.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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259 posts in 1897 days

#4 posted 02-12-2013 03:16 AM

Lew that is what i heard too. Does anyone know if this is true?

-- Coach Mancuso

View ShaneA's profile


6909 posts in 2564 days

#5 posted 02-12-2013 03:18 AM

It would be best to have at least a dust mask, it is a fungus. Better safe than sorry on this one.

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2099 posts in 2154 days

#6 posted 02-12-2013 03:25 AM

I have turned a lot of spalted maple and haven’t noticed any particular health issues. When dried, the fungus is dead as a door nail, but I guess the residue could be an issue. The big thing with spalted woods is that they can vary wildly in hardness throughout the piece, especially if the spalting is well advanced. Sometimes beautiful pieces are unusable because the wood is so soft and crumbly. I use a respirator when sawing/sanding; a good idea whether the wood is spalted or not.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

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18247 posts in 3641 days

#7 posted 02-12-2013 03:36 AM

Just like hantavirus and allergies; depends on you and your susceptibility.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Picken5's profile


250 posts in 2657 days

#8 posted 02-12-2013 04:28 AM

I agree with the others—spalted maple can result in some beautiful projects. I’ve heard the same about personal allergies to this. It’s never been an issue for me, but it wouldn’t hurt to be cautious.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

View mbs's profile


1652 posts in 2906 days

#9 posted 02-12-2013 05:28 AM

Another thing you should know is spalting is in some stage of decay. You may hit a very soft, punky section that isn’t stable at all. I spent 4 hours this weekend cutting out some spalted walnut from a chair seat because it wasn’t hard enough and kept getting damaged. You can help firm the soft areas up with minwax wood hardener. I think turners use super glue but I’m not sure.

Years ago I made a head board and foot board of a bed out of spalted maple. I made the panels first because I wasnt sure what their finished dimension would be since the wood has a tendency to fall a part. Overall, I lost a couple of inches of material and had to make up for it by making bigger rails and stiles. I think I have some pics in my projects.

There are articles on making your own spalted wood. Basically need to bury wood under leaves and mulch in a dark moist environment and let them sit for a while.

Good luck.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 1897 days

#10 posted 02-12-2013 12:10 PM

Thanks everyone for your help I will give it a try this weekend. I will let everyone know what happens and how the band saw box turns out

-- Coach Mancuso

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