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Brian Brown
02-29-2008, 1:51 PM
I have some poplar that I got the day it was cut. I anchor sealed the ends, and put it in storage standing on end on a concrete floor. When I moved it 10 months later, I saw that the end was moldy. When I cut into the wood, it had just started spalting. I have more of the wood, and I want it to spalt, especially a nice crotch piece. The problem is, that the other pieces are starting to crack even though they have been heavily sealed. So, do I cut the remaining pieces into blanks, reseal and try to get them to spalt, or leave them whole, and hope the cracking does not ruin a lot of good wood? Thanks for the help.

Steve Schlumpf
02-29-2008, 1:59 PM
Brian - I have found the key to spalting is moisture. I have had luck with cutting the wood into blank size and then storing it in a couple of plastic grocery bags. That way the moisture within the wood is trapped. In a week or so (as long as the temps are warm enough) the wood will be full of mold and the spalting process will have taken off. I'll let it sit for a week or more and then just scrape the mold/fungus off, rough turn, then soak in DNA.

Matt Hutchinson
02-29-2008, 2:48 PM
I have not tried this method out yet, but I was told I should try horse manure to cause extremely intense spalting. He admitted that it could get rather stinky, plus you have to handle wood that has horse junk on it, but he said it should be worth it.

He came up with this idea because he had a friend who was cleaning out a barn. There was wood that was either on the ground or buried. He said it stank to high heaven, but that it was gorgeous.

I actually would like to attempt this some time. I think if the manure was used just on the endgrain, rather than burying it, than most, or all, of the smell would be lost after rough turning.

It's an interesting idea. Now to just call a stable.....

Hutch

Brian Brown
02-29-2008, 3:24 PM
Steve,

The spalting I got was unintentional, but it seemed so easy I thought I would try to force some more. You mentioned 2 weeks to spalt, and I have heard 6 months from others. How warm is warm enough for two weeks? I live in the great frozen north. I don't want to go too far and get a punky mess.

I have also heard about the horse manure route, but due to an intense aversion to hores manure smell, I'll save that one for emergencies. I'm afraid the manure would make me spalt, among other things! I have heard that a little miracle grow and water will do a similar job with less smell. The neighbors already think that I'm crazy, and they hate the sawdust I create, so I'll try something less stinky right now.

I guess I'll just have to experiment, but I hate to waste the wood.

Mark Paulley
02-29-2008, 3:51 PM
Hello all,
I have used a mixture of beer, miracle grow and grass clippings in a blender to make a sluury and then spread on the end of logs. Cover in plastic and wait. It took several months but it spalted great. I don't beleive spalting can be done in 2 weeks. Could be wrong, but it just doesn't seem that could happen.
Mark

Sam Yerardi
02-29-2008, 4:06 PM
Any of those methods above will work. The key is to give the fungus a source of food, and water, and the right growing conditions. The trick, which no one to my knowledge has ever figured out, is to know WHEN to catch the wood at the right time, especially with logs. Stopping the process too early, and you won't have much spalting. Wait too long and you'll just have rot.

Brian Poor
02-29-2008, 6:22 PM
Most of the ingredients needed for spalting occurs within the wood prior to its being harvested. This is why you will note spalting in trees that are standing in the forest.
Poplar is a species that is both quick to spalt and to also to rot past being usable. Often in species that have similar grain textures, the most highly spalted pieces are almost unusable.

If you do have poplar that you would like to push spalting in, enclosing in plastic will accomplish this, as the bacteria that provide the most color are often anerobic or thrive in the absence of oxygen. Burying it in poo will accomplish the same thing, but will give you poplar that smells like what it was buried in.

robert hainstock
02-29-2008, 6:24 PM
Right on Sam!

Steve Schlumpf
02-29-2008, 6:35 PM
Brian - if I remember correctly it took about 2 weeks to have the blank become covered in mold. I should also mention that I had the blank stored in my basement and this was during the summer - so temps were around 65* to 70*. I believe I left the blank covered in the mold for a couple of weeks but was probably closer to a month. The wood was white birch and it did spalt but not as heavy as the logs I left outside for a couple of months.

John Fricke
02-29-2008, 9:16 PM
I don 't mean to hijack the thread but can Cherry be encouraged to spalt using any of these enhancing methods?

Brian McInturff
02-29-2008, 10:19 PM
Brian,
Put the logs in plastic bags if they will fit and keep them in the dark. Preferably where it is warm or hot. Add some water. This should keep it from cracking anymore.If you aren't in any hurry to turn them then just leave them in the bag and check periodically. You'll know when it is beginning to get punky, the ends usually will before the middle.
Brian

Joe Chritz
02-29-2008, 10:26 PM
I have not tried this method out yet, but I was told I should try horse manure to cause extremely intense spalting. He admitted that it could get rather stinky, plus you have to handle wood that has horse junk on it, but he said it should be worth it.

He came up with this idea because he had a friend who was cleaning out a barn. There was wood that was either on the ground or buried. He said it stank to high heaven, but that it was gorgeous.

I actually would like to attempt this some time. I think if the manure was used just on the endgrain, rather than burying it, than most, or all, of the smell would be lost after rough turning.

It's an interesting idea. Now to just call a stable.....

Hutch

Since you are in MI, just come up anytime with a trailer I will give you all you want. I even have a tractor with bucket to load it up.

Good for spalting and growing tomatoes.

Joe

Brian Poor
02-29-2008, 10:55 PM
I don 't mean to hijack the thread but can Cherry be encouraged to spalt using any of these enhancing methods?Be aware that spalting takes place because of a variety of internal factors within the wood itself- so not all species spalt equally; some, not at all.
The PH of the soil that the tree grew in, any inherent sugars that the wood may possess, all contribute or detract from spalting.

In my experience, cherry spalts very little.

Ken Fitzgerald
02-29-2008, 11:19 PM
Brian,

Russ Fairfield at Woodcentral's "Russ's corner" has a recipe for spalting wood. It does, IIRC, involve horse manure.

David Wilhelm
03-01-2008, 12:33 AM
I raised this topic a few weeks ago with only one responce and 400 plus views. Figuring it was a dead issue here in the creek I took my quest for learning to searching the web and found there has been studies done on spalting since the late 1800s ( but spalting is still not a word???) I have also found some interesting reports on test monitering results on as many as 21 different fungus combonations for a period of 16 weeks. I also learned that there are 3 types of spalting: pigment, white rot, and zone line fingi. These test were all done on sugar maple if i remember. I've also found conflicting information. One pertains to a question asked here. The writer states that (Black, Wild) Cherry does not spalt. It may not gian zone fungi as does maple or other paler woods but it will rot. I feel if fed the right fungi while in white rot pigment can be gained. Being able to controll and duplicate is key. What is hard is knowing what your wood already has in it. The plastic bag is good. I want to be in total control of my woods enivorment. The temp, humidity and darkness. I figure it's going to be a long process of keeping notes and there are several different woods out there to keep notes on. So who out there wants to experiment and see what we can some up with???? Email me and I'll share my idea

Curt Fuller
03-01-2008, 12:06 PM
Brian, with our 10-15% humidity out here in the Mountain West, it's hard to get wood to spalt. If you know someone in someplace like Mississippi you could send it to them, have them throw it out in the yard for a couple weeks, and send it back spalted. The best experiment I had with getting wood to spalt was burying it in my garden for a summer. Between the fertilizer and the watering it did the trick.

David Wilhelm
03-01-2008, 3:01 PM
Hutch you got mail let me know if for some reason it doesn't show up. Thanks for your interest!!!

Dennis Peacock
03-01-2008, 7:30 PM
Cut the log longer than the blank you want to turn. lay it on the wet ground, push up some wet leaves/grass clipping/what-have-you and let it set. I've spalted Yellow Poplar with some very stunning results. Some of the bowls have been posted right here on SMC.

Paul Downes
03-02-2008, 1:03 AM
I just leave the logs in the woods and let mother nature take it's course. You do have to check them every so often. I've got a dozen or so maple logs laying about. The farmer friend cut them down and just took the tops for firewood. He doesn't like messing with the big diameter stuff-- to much splitting or something. What a bummer! (stealth gloat)