with Spalted Woods
definition of spalting could be the partial decomposition of wood.
It can produce some very unusual patterns and coloration.
One way to spalt wood is to keep it kind of damp under a pile of leaves
for a couple months.
Minerals, bacteria and other things penetrate the wood and that
These woods have their own problems.
Wood that is left to spalt too long looks nice but can become very
If you can press a thumb nail well into the wood, it is very pithy.
The pithy wood can be mixed with areas that have become quite
hard and that causes problems.
The Ebay stuff in my opinion is about 50-50. The only time I
really bi&*^ched was when I started
rounding a couple blanks and the tool went right through the wood to
brass in a matter of seconds.
When I have problems like this I always take
pictures, contact the Ebay seller and show him what happened.
They have always replaced the bad stuff free of charge.
Better doing that than receiving negative feedback.
The Spalted Alder shown above was from Ebay. Most of it was
The Spalted Maple shown below was from a local store and was worse than
the stuff from Ebay, but still workable.
If you are hand sanding a blanks that are both pithy and
hard, odds are you will end up with oval blanks.
Same applies to bowls.
The Spalted Alder pen shown in the upper right corner of the page was
extremely pithy where the wood is white and was
pretty hard where the wood is discolored.
What to do
Well, one thing to do is to equalize the hardness
and density with CA glue.
This is Spalted Maple, Both blanks are very pithy.
blanks down to within 1/16" or so of their final diameter.
Use a thin CA glue and slowly drench until the wood will not hold any
One thing about CA glue is it does tend to darken the wood.
Sometimes this produces a desirable effect and other times.......
The really pithy stuff absorbs glue like a dry sponge absorbs water.
Let it dry overnight.
I don't use accellerant because it can cause the glue to bubble up and
it can turn white in cavities,
which doesn't look very nice.
There is a non-rising CA glue but it costs a bit more and it can be
purchased from Arizona Silhouette.
I prefer everything settle at a more natural pace.
Sand the blanks down using a sanding block until you get to a fine
The reason for the sanding block is to keep sanding pressure equal
across the blank until close to completion.
It is quite easy to turn a round pen blank into an oval pen blank
without a sanding block, especially without CA glue.
This pencil is finished with EEE and a little CA glue.
I'd count on messing more than a few of blanks up, so make sure you
have enough extra for replacements.
One of the pencil blanks split with in a few minutes of turning, right
along a spalt line.
Spalted wood does make for some nice pieces but it takes a bit more
time and patience.