Working with Spalted Wood


What causes spalting in wood?

Spalting in simple terms can be referred to as rotting of the wood. This happens when the wood is invaded by fungi that cause some areas on the board of wood to bleach in color. The common color would be the champagne color, while the rest of the board will maintain the original color of the wood before. Depending on the type of fungi, you can end up with different colors such as pink, blue or many other different colors.

The fungi often create what you can call territorial boundaries from other fungi by using dark lines. To a person, these dark lines will look like a form of impressive art. They often look as if they were drawn using a calligraphy pen.

The fungal deposits in the wood would grow better in dark, humid, and warm conditions. The wood should still have an impressive amount of moisture content of about 20 percent. This would be ideal conditions to keep the fungi spreading fast. The user would now halt the rotting process after most of the patterns have been formed. The next step is to rapidly dry the wood in a kiln to strengthen it again.

Where to find spalted wood

By now you must be intrigued to learn more about working with spalted wood using miter saw (reviews). Well, you get spalted wood easily if you decide to buy one. You would get these type of woods coming from maple, sycamore, and holly trees. You can always visit a woodwork shop to see if they have what you need for your case. You might be lucky to get one just waiting for you.

You can still go outdoors looking for one. It will be like looking for gold most of the time. Sometimes you might not find the right patterns or the wood would be completely rotten making the logs useless. The best place to check would be the forests to see if there are any logs on the forest floor. For most users, the dead but standing trees often offer the best choice you will ever need in spalted wood.

If you decided to do it yourself at home, just make sure you keep a close eye on the wood so that it does not rot completely. A complete rot makes the logs too soft and unusable.

Stabilizing spalted wood

Now that you have found the perfect spalted wood, you have to stabilize it before using it with a miter saw or it will break. You need to make the conditions hard for the fungi now to survive. This means that you have to lower the moisture content and keep the wood at a low relative humidity. You can do all this by drying the wood in a kiln.

You might also need to reinforce some parts of the wood by soaking it in cyanoacrylate glue. The best thing with this glue is that it does not show after applying your finish. No more worries about the wood now breaking anytime soon.

Handling spalted wood

With the right skills and spalted wood, you can turn it from some partially rotten wood into something amazing. Normally you would use it as an aesthetic feature. You would find such type of wood being used for doors rather than the case.

The type of looks you get with the wood cannot be done by a machine or hand, it is all about the work of nature.

Even if you are looking to use the spalted wood, it is advisable that you avoid the boards whose rot has progressed further than the recommended stage. As much as you can harden some parts of the wood, it will always feel too flexible to be used on anything.

If you are going to use power tools such as miter saws, you have to be careful as to where to apply more pressure than the others. The same applies to sanding. It has to be well controlled to avoid easy breaking of the spalted wood.

Spalted finishing

Because of the soft nature of the spalted wood, avoid using it for joinery purposes. They would not hold for a very long time. The soft areas of the wood will tend to soak up more of the finish. You will have to apply more coats before the structure is fully saturated.

The best finish you can give spalted wood is using water-based acrylic. This type of finish will not give any color change meaning you get to maintain the natural look of the spalted wood.


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