Spalted Maple: Nature’s Penmanship

Spalting is a phenomenon that occurs in the early stages of wood decay. The partial decay, spalting, gives the wood dark contrasting lines, or steaks, where fungus has began to attack the wood. When caught at the perfect time, spalting can be seen as beautiful displays of dark lines running through the wood. Spalting occurs in numerous types of wood including Beech, Birch, and Poplar, but is most beautifully and commonly seen in Maple.

Maple is the preferable choice as its white sapwood acts as a blank canvas for the fungi to demonstrate their decaying magic. The appearance of spalting can vary from very thin lines to very thick and dramatic lines, depending on how long the period was before it was sawn or kiln dried. The lines created can be likened to pens on canvas: thickness may vary as may the lines created.

Spalted Maple is not unique to a specific species of maple, rather it is any species of Maple that has begun the stages of decay. As the fungi continues to decay the wood, it is vital to process the wood soon enough to maintain physical integrity of the piece. If caught at the right stage, the beautifully spalted pieces can be transformed into tables, shelves, and any sort of accent piece.

Spalted maple – no finish
Spalted maple – no finish

Considering Spalted Maple has begun to decay, some have wondered whether or not this creates poor working conditions for woodworkers. Fortunately, working with Spalted Maple poses no higher of a risk than with any other wood. With this excellent news, why not consider adding uniquely marked Spalted Maple accents to your next wood piece, or an entire piece on its own!

We can set you up with The Axe and Adze to create some custom spalted maple pieces for your home or cottage.

Spalted maple table
Finished spalted maple table top

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