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Mold vs Spalting? (Read 657 times)
 
John Grace
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Mold vs Spalting?
Jun 3rd, 2017 at 12:24pm
 
I just prepped some beautiful slabs of highly spalted maple and have begun my 'first' turning of them.  A couple of the pieces seem to have what appears to 'mold' speckling through the pieces.  Does this make the wood 'bad' as a future user piece or will this simply dry out and become inert?  I'd hate to lose this beautiful wood but thought I'd check first with those who possibly have dealt with this previously.

Thanks as always...John
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Ed Weber
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #1 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 12:46pm
 
Without getting into what determines a mold vs. a fungus and how spalting is caused.
"Typically" the wood requires a relatively high (in the 25% range) moisture content.
Once deprived of moisture these molds and fungi will die and not progress any further.
Without knowing what exactly your dealing with, it's hard to say.

If you have the ability (time) I would suggest monitoring it for grow or spread, hopefully there is none.
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Mike Mills
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #2 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 3:25pm
 
I agree with Ed, once dry it should stop and not hurt anything.  If it is interior I would suspect spalt not  mold.
This is Seri's facebook page (Dr. Spalt).  There are also websites and lots of articles by her on spalting as well as several turning club presentations on youtube.
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John Grace
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #3 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 3:57pm
 
As always...thanks guys.

I've rough turned two pieces with one sealed and the other bagged...we'll see what happens in four or so months.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #4 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 5:20pm
 
"Bagged" - plastic or paper?  If plastic I would expect mold to grow willy nilly.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #5 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 7:11pm
 
Don Stephan wrote on Jun 3rd, 2017 at 5:20pm:
willy nilly.


I would have thought helter skelter,  Smiley
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John Grace
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #6 - Jun 3rd, 2017 at 7:40pm
 
Brown paper grocery bag...I typically place the piece in the bag and then cover the piece with shavings.  Tape the entire bag shut with the date and type of wood.  I've had pretty good success with this method and will typically wait three to four months before finish turning.
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Tom Coghill
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #7 - Jun 5th, 2017 at 3:12pm
 
I agree:

  • When I cover green wood with plastic - it will mold. (looking like the photo below, sometimes black)
  • When I cover green wood with sealer - it does not mold.
  • When I cover green wood in only paper (3 wraps of brown shipping paper) it does not mold, but it has a higher chance of cracking (because it is drying faster).
  • When I cover green wood with its own shavings and put that into brown paper wrapping, I find that I get mold about 30% of the time.

    These are my observations, nothing scientific about it.. so take these as just my $0.02  Thumbs Up
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robert baccus
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #8 - Jun 5th, 2017 at 9:36pm
 
Roger that Tom---spot on.
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Ron Rutter
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #9 - Jun 5th, 2017 at 11:37pm
 
I have done a lot of spalted maple & have not have a cracking problem. I did all to finish at the same time. The tree is basically dead. Do it in one stage & save yourself some time & trouble!!
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Don Stephan
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #10 - Jun 6th, 2017 at 6:51pm
 
Ron

My impression is that the majority of participants here twice turn bowls, but I've always made once turned.  I expect that even though the tree you are turning was dead, the moisture content still was high, especially if there were no checks and cracks under the bark.  At best in my area (Cincinnati) air dried wood probably goes no lower than about 12% outdoors, but should reach equilibrium at around 7% after several months in a conditioned space.
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Ron Rutter
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #11 - Jun 9th, 2017 at 12:43am
 
Don. Surprisingly the wood was not that wet. It had a lot of solid wood but had been attacked by vines & mushroom/mycelium. It was very stable. A small portion was too punky.
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Steve Doerr
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #12 - Jun 10th, 2017 at 11:27am
 
I have also found that if I include wet shavings from the wood, with the turning in a brown paper bag that I will get mildew.  Once mildew is in the wood, it is impossible to get it out.  Kind of like trying to get black mold out of your house Sad
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #13 - Jun 11th, 2017 at 6:28pm
 
Yes I agree over the years I have found what works the best for my area where high humidity is an every day thing. I never use green shavings anymore because they tend to cause different molds to grow. I coat my green turned bowls with anchor seal then wrap in brown packing paper for a month or so then remove the paper and put them on a higher shelf to finish drying. The paper does help to slow down the drying pace. The bowl will lose the majority of it's water the 1st month or so then slow drying will occur better without the extra layer of paper. Following these methods I never have mold period or spalting unless it had already started before sealing. Thumbs Up
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Re: Mold vs Spalting?
Reply #14 - Jun 27th, 2017 at 9:56am
 
Wood is wet and if you store it in a cool dry place with no air circulation it will mold.  I turn a lot of spalted maple and myrtle wood, splatting is the beginning to decay; creates the color which varies by specie.  If the spalting has gone too far and the wood is soft I use a hardener after rough turning and sanding.  Wear a mask.
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