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Project by Dick, & Barb Cain posted 09-21-2010 11:47 PM 5247 views 1 time favorited 52 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This bowl sure gave me a hard time. When I started out with this I intended it to be about nine inches in diameter, & about four inches tall, but the wood wouldn’t cooperate with me. The wood was so spalted that it was almost like dry oatmeal. The fibers would keep pulling out, no matter how sharp I made my chisel.
The only way I could complete this was with lots of sanding, & I finally won the battle.

This thing soaked up the Formbys Hand Rubbed Oil Finish, like a sponge would.

I usually just use wax on most of my turnings, but this wood wouldn’t work with wax.

I have some more of this wood, but I plan on treating it with something before I try it again.

I have turned spalted wood many times before, but I never had this problem That’s why the finished piece ended up 6 1/2” X 2 1/2”.

I just found this in a search for spalted wood. It has a lot of info

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

52 comments so far

View Diane's profile


546 posts in 4801 days

#1 posted 09-21-2010 11:51 PM

Even with all the trouble you had it is still a beauty.


View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4376 days

#2 posted 09-21-2010 11:53 PM

Great job Dick came out very nice.

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 4672 days

#3 posted 09-21-2010 11:54 PM

Very nice work, Dick, on a very beautiful piece of wood. Way to hang in there and get the victory!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Grumpy's profile


26154 posts in 4529 days

#4 posted 09-22-2010 12:23 AM

A great effort Dick & worth the trouble. Good luck with turning the remaining stock

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4592 days

#5 posted 09-22-2010 12:28 AM

It was all worth it, Dick!
I remember a line from Sir Roy Underhill who said “I remember when spalted wood was just called rotten wood”
but you’ve proven why we like to work with ‘rotten’ wood.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View branch's profile


1142 posts in 3832 days

#6 posted 09-22-2010 12:43 AM

hi nice bowl love great job glad you staed with it and did not give up turning it because you don a great Job spalterd timber can be a bit of a task some times but if steeped in water basted glue can make it a bit easier it doesn’t tear out as much it worked s for me

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3696 days

#7 posted 09-22-2010 12:44 AM

Exquisite spalting on this lovely bowl! I think you had such a hard time because this wood is soft to begin with but you came out with a winner. I read in “American Woodturner” magazine Spring 2006 Vol. 21 No. 1 on page 61 that you can strenthen spalted wood by soaking it in a mixture of 50 percent white glue and 50 percent water. Soak the wood for several hours or even overnight. Let dry, then turn as normal. The water helps the glue soak deeper than normal to help stabilize the wood. This also helps end grain cracks, the water swells the wood and the glue keeps them from opening back up. End quote. I happened to have this info handy cause I won a 4 years’ back issues from my turning club monthly raffle and I was reading through these old issues.

Hopefully this can/will help you and others in the future.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4658 days

#8 posted 09-22-2010 12:48 AM

Fantastic Job Dick!!!

What a beautiful bowl.

Question, did you protect your lungs while turning this? I’ve heard spalted lumber can have a bad effect on the lungs. Have you heard of this being a problem?


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Karson's profile


35216 posts in 5079 days

#9 posted 09-22-2010 12:49 AM

That is a beautiful bowl Dick. Did you try super glue to firm up the fibers. It might take a few applications to use it turn it off and add some more.

I’m just filling in some time before supper. I really haven’t tried it my self, but I think I read it or heard it in some helf help article.

Good luck on your additional pieces.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View CharlieM1958's profile


16285 posts in 4896 days

#10 posted 09-22-2010 01:06 AM

That’s really beautiful, Dick!

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

View tdv's profile


1203 posts in 3748 days

#11 posted 09-22-2010 01:23 AM

It was really worth the effort Dick pretty wood & a great shape

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4978 days

#12 posted 09-22-2010 01:33 AM

Thanks to all of you beautiful LJs!

That means LJs, can be just as beautiful, or more than fungi in wood.

Lee, I try to be careful about dust.

Branch, & Bearpie.
I plan on trying the PVA glue on my next piece. I always use PVA glue to seal the ends of my turning, & carving blocks. I get very few checks, or cracking.

I’ve heard of using super glue, but I don’t care for the smell, or the price.

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

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4560 days

#13 posted 09-22-2010 02:08 AM

Hey guys,

That is really striking. I love it.

Good job and keep ‘em coming,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2008 posts in 5084 days

#14 posted 09-22-2010 02:30 AM

seems worth the effort Dick. Another wonderful project posting by you.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View MichaelA's profile


778 posts in 3566 days

#15 posted 09-22-2010 03:25 AM


-- The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. "Helen Keller"

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