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Thread: Is spalted wood food safe?

  1. #1

    Is spalted wood food safe?

    Started working on a large salad bowl out of a piece of oak but the wood is spalted. Isn't spalting caused by a fungus and would there be any problems using it for food?

  2. #2
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    Not safe for food in my house.

  3. #3
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    How much spalting?

    Glenn, Most of the oak that I have that is spalted is still pretty hard and not to punky at all. If the spalting is not to heavy or just a little on the rim or bottom. There are some salad bowl finishes out there that are more like urethane but food safe. It would seal it pretty good. But the first thing are you going to use it for wet food or dry food? Oak is not very a very good wood to begin with for food as it is very porous. So if you used it as a popcorn or chip bowl that propably would be ok. To seal all the pores in the oak would take some effort but I guess it could be done. Post some pictures of the wood that would help.

    Have a great day!


    Jeff
    To turn or not to turn that is the question: ........Of course the answer is...........TURN ,TURN,TURN!!!!
    Anyone "Fool" can know, The important thing is to Understand................Albert Einstein
    To follow blindly, is to never become a leader............................................ .....Unknown

  4. #4
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    Not sure but I won't use spalted wood for food utility items. Just me though.
    Bernie

    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.



  5. #5
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    I've never eaten spalted oak before!

  6. #6
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    You beat me to it Barry, as I was going to say I've never thought that wood did taste very good, spalted or otherwise .

    However there are at least two issues here, one is the spalting, the fungus dies as soon as it is too dry for it to live, second to this is the live spores of these fungi are all around us, and humans have lived with these for ever without detrimental affects.

    The other thing is the wood choice here, if it is White Oak, I don't see a problem, but if it's a red Oak species you'll have a problem with the woods open pore structure, in that it will take up food into the wood, as sealing will never be complete IMO, as the wood will move with humidity changes.

    So even as it has been proven that wood is a bacteria killer, I would advice not to use Red Oak for a food bowl, just my two cents here.

    I'll ad this report on woods ability to kill-off bacteria, it is good to know.

    http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF11/1121B.html


    Have fun and take care

  7. #7
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    Not Me

    I personally will not use any type of spalted wood for salad bowls or any other food contact item. Not worth it to me. Save the spalted wood for the artsy stuff.
    Happy and Safe Turning, Don


    Woodturners make the world go ROUND!

  8. #8

    I guess my brain went into a vapor lock !

    After I read your replies I had to pick up the keyboard and hit my self in the head with it, duuuhhh. I have done plenty of work with oak and I've seen just how porous it is. I guess blue cheese dressing would probably get pretty rancid a few weeks after it soaked into the pores. As far as the spalted wood, I think I will just avoid it unless Im feeling artistic.

    Thanks for the help.

    GT

  9. #9
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    Spalted wood is just as safe as any other wood for food items. As has been said, the same fungus is around us all the time, and the fungus dies when it's dry. With a good finish on it... (all finishes in the USA are required to be food safe when cured)... it will be just as safe as any other. I eat cereal out of a wooden bowl, but I'm not sure if it spalted any before I turned it... (It's in my travel trailer, and I don't want to go out there this late)... but my personal utility bowls don't have any finish on them.
    Oak wouldn't be good because of the porosity of the wood. Mind you, these are just my opinions. But I'm not ill or dead.
    Allen
    The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.
    And.... I'm located just 1,075 miles SW of Steve Schlumpf.

  10. I first saw spalted woods in the turners' forums here.

    Because of this thread, I have searched for scientific info on spalting. All this time, I thought it was mineralization, but it is the result of a fungus? I simply find this interesting and would like to know more.

    So is spalted wood taken from fallen trees? Where does one acquire it? Does the fungus favor one wood species over another?

  11. #11
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    Have fun and take care

  12. Thanks, Leo! Great info. I'm continually amazed by the art of working with wood. I had no idea that the spalting process itself has a technique.

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