Home grown spalted laurel oak pen

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Project by Gary posted 12-28-2006 04:29 AM 2932 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Monday’s Florida tornados took down a sweet gum that spanned my driveway.
Since I had to get out the chainsaw to clean it up, I also cleaned up the oak tree that fell across the front of the driveway a few weeks ago.
I had pushed the oak out of the way and left it lay.

When I went to move it, I noticed serious spalting and upon cutting,
I found most of it is solid. Thoroughly spalted without being punky.

The pen is sitting on the slice the blank came out of.
The photo on the slice (slab) is taken in natural light.
The photo on the keyboard is taken under halogen lights.

So, I now have about 10-12’ 10-12” diameter chunks of this wood.
Way too much for one person to use.

What’d y’all think?


-- Gary, Florida

9 comments so far

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4691 days

#1 posted 12-28-2006 04:37 AM

Beautiful work, Garry. I just might give pen turning a go one of these days.

I hope you are taking sufficient precautions against inhaling the dust from spalted wood.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4841 days

#2 posted 12-28-2006 06:18 AM

beauty from destruction. Very nice. What a great find.

as for the wood surplus. Slap a couple stamps on it and send some off to your lumberjock buds!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4814 days

#3 posted 12-28-2006 01:14 PM

Beautiful, it looks a lot like marble. How did you remove the moisture so soon ?
I also like the curvy shape.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4825 days

#4 posted 12-28-2006 02:40 PM

Hello, Gary. Beautiful pen. If you’re passing through, Louisiana anytime, I’ll be glad to help you use up that spalted wood. Please, go to this link and see what I turned out of some spalted oak on my bungie cord powered treadle lathe. I haven’t tried pen turning, but it looks like fun.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4841 days

#5 posted 12-28-2006 04:31 PM

Oscorner – how about sharing some photos of your homemade lathe? Been interested in making one.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Gary's profile


1417 posts in 4838 days

#6 posted 12-29-2006 06:35 PM

The USPS has a flat rate box that’s $8.10.
I’ll be glad to stuff one of those full of this wood and send it off for exact cost of
postage plus $10.00 to cover some of my time, gas, and effort.
Rather than cutting slices and just stuffing it in the box, I’ll cull as much waste as makes
sense and square it off so as to eliminate wasted space.
I’ll check this weekend but I’d expect that a box will hold enough material to make 30-40 pen blanks and/or some nice bowl blanks.
The box is 11” X 8.5” X 5.5”

As to drying it, I didn’t and should have ‘cause I don’t know if the pen shown will last.
However, for small projects like pens and thin bowls or platters, people have been known to
use the microwave to dry ‘em.

I went to and did a search on microwave—a lot of people have had good experience doing it that way.


-- Gary, Florida

View Gary's profile


1417 posts in 4838 days

#7 posted 12-30-2006 07:06 PM

I’m unhappy to report that the oak is not going to produce the blanks I’d hoped to see.
I guess I got very lucky on the first slab I took off.
As I was filling orders this morning, I found it’s about 60% or more waste.
That’s not really worth anyone’s time or energy.

Should I find a strong section with good yield, I’ll make some pen blanks.
If that happens, I’ll let you know. There certainly won’t be enough for anyone to buy
but there may be enough to give one or two per person away.

My sincerest apologies,

-- Gary, Florida

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4761 days

#8 posted 01-01-2007 10:27 PM

Beautiful spalting, just love it. Be careful of the dust. I’ve got some spalted maple I’m going to make a bowl out of, it’s soaking in Polycryl right now it was pretty spongy. Nice work Gary. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Gary's profile


1417 posts in 4838 days

#9 posted 01-08-2007 04:12 AM

So many projects going on around here. Last weekend, I pressure washed two sides of
the house, and then it rained several days. Today was dry enough, and I started putting the roofing felt over the old siding. Got part of one wall done, then it started drizzling.
It’s going to be a longish project as I’m residing our home with Cypress in a board’n’batten fashion—it’ll match my shop. ;-)

Ahh, at least I had a chance to make a few more pens.
Sapelle slimline and Bloodwood slimline

I’m preparing some pen blanks from a downed maple that is heavily spalted albeit buggy.
I’ve used a few to make some pens and have dried the blanks in the microwave. Kills them critters too.
So, if someone wants a few—or a handful—send me your mailing address and I’ll send
you some spalted maple blanks. They’ll be oversized and will need microwaving, but they’ll make some pretty stuff.
Spalted maple sitting on a sample blank

-- Gary, Florida

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