Spalted wood - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 12-11-2010, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Spalted wood

My youngest Rian (16) brought me a log off the burn pile because it was spalted. I'm wondering if there's any way to stabilize the pen blanks I cut from it? I wanted to turn bowls but it was to far gone in my opinion although I have about 30 pen blanks to try. Some are in pretty good shape and some are on the bad side. I told him try and get me more but in better shape next time, The boy lives in the woods.
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post #2 of 21 Old 12-11-2010, 07:54 AM
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Minwax makes a wood stabilizer for punky wood. My old brain isn't able to pull up the exact name of the product. It is used primarily to stablilize exterior punky wood before painting.

I have no idea if it would work to stabilize wood for turning. Maybe someone else on the forum will know.

Roger from the Great Horicon Swamp
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post #3 of 21 Old 12-11-2010, 08:11 AM
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I usually use thin CA for soft spalted pen blanks. The stuff just sucks in the CA, be careful how fast you apply it though it'll get hot, smoke, and be annoying. I've rescued pen blanks that were crumbling to powder with that. This pen blank had broken and crumbled but the figure looked great so I put it back together and wet it down with CA. After the hissing quit and the smoke cleared I was able to turn the pen with no trouble.
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Last edited by Gary Beasley; 12-11-2010 at 08:19 AM.
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post #4 of 21 Old 12-11-2010, 09:10 AM
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That is cool. I have never turned a pen. Maybe it is time. I have some heavily spalted red oak. Maybe I'll play with something easier first.

Roger from the Great Horicon Swamp
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post #5 of 21 Old 12-12-2010, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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This is the first pen from the log Rian brought home. It's hard getting a good picture to show accurate colors but this one is pretty close.
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Last edited by rrbrown; 12-12-2010 at 02:31 PM.
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post #6 of 21 Old 12-12-2010, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Beasley View Post
I usually use thin CA for soft spalted pen blanks. The stuff just sucks in the CA, be careful how fast you apply it though it'll get hot, smoke, and be annoying. I've rescued pen blanks that were crumbling to powder with that. This pen blank had broken and crumbled but the figure looked great so I put it back together and wet it down with CA. After the hissing quit and the smoke cleared I was able to turn the pen with no trouble.
Hey Gary what is the finish process you use. It seams to be a little more glossy then mine.
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post #7 of 21 Old 12-12-2010, 03:44 PM
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First off I use the Scott Rag in a Box, get it from Sams Club. Its a very dense smooth paper towel. I fold a full sheet in half about 4 times. I set my lathe on the slowest speed. Be sure your bushings have had a good coat of wax recently.
First on is two coats of thin CA to seal the wood. A spot on the towel then wipe once and back then let dry between each coat. This needs to be warm so if the shop is cold a heater on the floor blowing so the rising warm air covers the blanks is good.
Next I turn the pad over to a clean spot and use medium CA, a pea sized or slightly larger spot depending on the size of the blank. Wipe once then back and get the pad clear of the blank. Any lingering may cause ripples in the CA.
Do this for four layers, let each set for a while before using a quick spray of accelerator. Be sure it is fully set before applying the next layer.
Finish wet sanding with the nine pad micromesh set, stopping after each grit to cross sand that grit lenghthways. When you are done you can do an optional polish with carnauba wax or any good car wax without polishing compound in it. When I pull the blanks from the bushings I do a quick sand with the coarse micromesh on the ends of the tube to remove and tag ends of CA hanging out.
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post #8 of 21 Old 12-13-2010, 09:56 AM
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rrbrown, if your spalted blanks don't work out let me know and I'll send you a few. Semper fi.
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post #9 of 21 Old 12-13-2010, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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rrbrown, if your spalted blanks don't work out let me know and I'll send you a few. Semper fi.
I think I'm ok i have about 30-40 to choose from plus this little section of the log left. I wish I knew the type of tree but since I don't here is a picture of what I have.

What kind of spalted blanks do you have?
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Last edited by rrbrown; 12-13-2010 at 01:02 PM.
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post #10 of 21 Old 12-13-2010, 09:10 PM
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Mostly spalted maple and a little bit of spalted beech. Your picture looks like spalted maple to me. Nice lines.
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post #11 of 21 Old 12-25-2010, 08:12 PM
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i have a 18" spalted beech bowl blank sitting in my woodstore that im scared to turn.
my experience with turning spalted wood has been poor. i get massive chip-out with every cut i take, no matter how sharp the tool or how light the cut.
does anyone know the best technique to use when turning spalted wood? when i do eventually turn it i dont want the beautiful wood to go to waste if i cant cut it right.

Last edited by mike s; 12-25-2010 at 08:13 PM. Reason: mis-spelt words
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post #12 of 21 Old 12-25-2010, 08:43 PM
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You may need to harden the soft spots with thin CA before and while turning to keep the tearout to a minimum.
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post #13 of 21 Old 12-26-2010, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Beasley View Post
You may need to harden the soft spots with thin CA before and while turning to keep the tearout to a minimum.
What is "thin CA"? (said the rookie...)
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post #14 of 21 Old 12-26-2010, 11:14 AM
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What is "thin CA"? (said the rookie...)
Cyanoacrylate AKA superglue. Sold at your woodworking supply stores in thin, medium and thick grades. Indispensable for working with soft and half rotten woods and will put a split out woodturning back together pretty easy.
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post #15 of 21 Old 12-26-2010, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary Beasley View Post
Cyanoacrylate AKA superglue. Sold at your woodworking supply stores in thin, medium and thick grades. Indispensable for working with soft and half rotten woods and will put a split out woodturning back together pretty easy.
Thank you very much. I have 3 10" diameter by 8 foot logs that are highly spalted but about 30% rotten. I was about to cut them for firewood , not now though
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post #16 of 21 Old 12-26-2010, 01:54 PM
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Thats a LOT of CA for that!
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post #17 of 21 Old 12-26-2010, 02:01 PM
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Hackberry

$10.00 says it is spalted Hackberry. I have probably used hundreds of pounds of that wood as it grows very prolifically around pastures
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post #18 of 21 Old 12-28-2010, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Beasley View Post
Cyanoacrylate AKA superglue. Sold at your woodworking supply stores in thin, medium and thick grades. Indispensable for working with soft and half rotten woods and will put a split out woodturning back together pretty easy.
If you have a decent hobby store near you check for CA there before you pay the high prices at woodworking stores! Woodcraft and Rockler here want around $4.50 and up per ounce and I can get the same stuff from a local hobby shop for about half of that. Just a thought...

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post #19 of 21 Old 12-28-2010, 05:58 PM
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i recently read in a book that using a ring tool reduces tear out on spalted wood, has anyone tried this?
does it work?
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post #20 of 21 Old 12-28-2010, 09:38 PM
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If you have a "Hobby Lobby" near you go look in the model car section and they have Thin, Med, and Thick CA glue. It's 4.99 for a 2oz. bottle. Thin is great for punky wood and VERY good for a CA finish on pens.
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