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Forced Spalting

Discussion in 'Tutorials and Tips' started by David Schmidtke, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. David Schmidtke

    David Schmidtke

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2
    Location (City & State):
    Michigan
    I know I have read somewhere how to force birch and maple to spalt, but can't remember where I read it. Can someone help with that information? I looked in a small dictionary for spalt and could not find it so am not sure of the spelling either.
     
  2. George Van Beynen

    George Van Beynen

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    171
    Location (City & State):
    Mercer, WI
    Hi Dave,

    I have had good results setting the log sections, 6'-16',on the ground. I put them in areas that avoid heavy sunlight. The fungus spores are everywhere so they will find the log, rain provides the water. I roll them every month to keep the moisture and spalting more even. (if left on one side the spalting seems to be primarily on the side with ground contact) I check the logs with fine end cuts to see how spalting is progressing.

    White birch spalts fast and then rots, I watch closly. Yellow birch and maple seem to take two years. I am on the WI/MI border. I would assume things would spalt sooner where the number of 50+ degree days are more.

    I have also put sections on end on the ground, covered with garbage bags, turning also. I find this more bother than a log and a cant hook.

    Good luck, George
     
  3. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,540
    This is as good or better than the article in Fine Woodworking, and free.
    http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/techline/producing_spalted_wood.pdf

    I also roll the logs. Some say set them on end on the ground, but that tends to produce a punky few inches, a spalted few, and then sound. If you are making a bowl, they're all in the same piece. The pieces look silly and turn worse.

    With birch, you don't need them in contact with the ground, because the bark is waterproof. With other woods, you'll want to keep them sheltered or let them touch the ground, realizing that the sapwood may be a total loss.

    Not much percentage in trying to spalt woods with a reputation for durability. Sapwood will be useless before much happens in the heart. Red oak and cherry are two that won't spalt here. Beech, even though the heartwood is not known for durability, can be a touchy call to catch the sapwood just right.
     
  4. David Schmidtke

    David Schmidtke

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2
    Location (City & State):
    Michigan
    Thanks, the Forest Products Lab article was right on target for my needs.
     

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