Spalting and Color

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Bartleby

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Aug 20, 2019
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11
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Los Angeles, CA
Hello all, I turned a spalted maple pen and noticed, only after turning, that the bottom portion, along the spalting line was a slightly different color. More muted but still interesting. I am used to larger color differences with spalting.

I went to my copy of Understanding Wood by R. Hoadley, but I still don’t understand the effect of spalting on coloring and brightness, etc. Possibly lack of nutrients? Obviously I’m not scientist, but does someone know why this happens so that I can explain it to friends and clients?
 

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1080Wayne

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Brownfield, Alberta, Canada.
Thanks for giving me the incentive to re-read Hoadley . I am in no way an expert , but there are a few things that could be going on with your piece .

Your suggestion of nutrient differences could enter into it in several ways . Nutrients stored in a piece of wood will reflect the site where it was grown . Many plant species are bio-accumulators of some chemical elements that are only needed in very small amounts , if at all , for their metabolism . Concentration of those elements can vary widely with topography and soil type . They in turn may well affect fungal growth , and will probably affect different fungi differently . It is quite possible that several different fungi are present in your sample , perhaps both sap staining and white rot types as described by Hoadley . His descriptions of how fungal advance through wood may change with the seasons , and with wet/dry cycles , are also pertinent .

Don`t know if that helps you or not . I commend your desire to provide customers with a detailed story of the wood . Spalted woods are fun . Keep exploring !
 

robutacion

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Joined
Aug 6, 2009
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Location
Australia - SA Adelaide Hills
I have had many pieces of wood with that exact appearance and in my view, 2 things may have happened, 1 is the fungi hasn't yet reached that bottom area or 2, that part of the wood has a different density or is saturated with sap resins still no broken down, fungi keeps away of that.

Cheers
George
 

PreacherJon

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Joined
Aug 28, 2019
Messages
118
Location
Ohio
Hello all, I turned a spalted maple pen and noticed, only after turning, that the bottom portion, along the spalting line was a slightly different color. More muted but still interesting. I am used to larger color differences with spalting.

I went to my copy of Understanding Wood by R. Hoadley, but I still don’t understand the effect of spalting on coloring and brightness, etc. Possibly lack of nutrients? Obviously I’m not scientist, but does someone know why this happens so that I can explain it to friends and clients?
What happens is different mold spores compete for space (if you will) Some mold will die off... then later, a different type will also grow into the same area. These mold spores can vary in color and how the travel through the wood. You can see how a few different mold spores actually attacked this maple bowl I made. I have no idea what mold made the orangish coloring... but I'd love to find out and grow it.
 

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