Home Spalting #1: What is spalting?

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Blog entry by OiBowyer posted 06-07-2018 11:01 PM 757 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Spalting is the decay of wood by fungal attack. At this point I should say that most of what I have learned about this subject has come from: classes and instruction from Dr. Seri Robinson, her book, and Sculpting Wood contemporary tools and techniques by Mark Lindquist. That being said my thoughts, feelings and experiments are my own.

If spalting is just rotten wood why can’t you just go out in to the woods and find it? Well you can. However it may be more difficult than you think finding wood that’s been down the right amount of time, in the species that you want, in a place that you have permission to cut, where you can haul out the wood. By comparison If I spalting it myself I can choose the species, and the type of spalting that I want, while eliminating all of the other problems.

There are many different types of spalting including zone lines, white rot, brown rot, and various discolorations.

This piece of Big Leaf Maple burl has the first three. Zone lines can be back, brown, or nearly any color of the rainbow. Sometimes a very high concentration of pigment makes the zone lines appear black. Zone lines are often considered to be the most beautiful type of spalting. They are created when two types of fungi interact. The fungi each want to block off their resources so they build a fence out of melanin. That’s right the same thing that gives your skin color gives your wood zone lines.

-- Matt Bielenberg- turning student

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