Big Leaf Maple (Spalted Figure)
Spalted Maple figure is often even more dramatic than the figuration in Quilted, Curly, or Fiddleback Maple. You can identify spalting by the distinct black and brown lines winding through the light and dark patches in the wood.
The unique coloration of Spalted Maple is caused by pigmentation fungi that either bleach/lighten or stain darker the patches of the wood they affect. The meandering outlines around these patches are zone lines, and they represent the barriers that the fungi erected to protect their resources. (Although spalting can be introduced artificially, all of our spalted blocks have developed the figure through natural processes.)
The fungi that produce spalting are not the same as molds or mildew that produce wood decay without any aesthetic benefit. The twisting spalt lines do not degrade the wood cell walls, though they may cause weight and strength loss in the wood and increase permeability. We have learned that blanks and slabs that are heavily spalted may require additional skill and time to work, and care should be taken to stabilize any weaker areas of the wood.
Generally when a customer wants to create a project with high contrast and visual appeal, we recommend Spalted Maple. The appearance of a well-turned bowl, pen, vase or other object can be quite dramatic. If you are looking for an even stronger figuration in maple, see the products in our Extreme Spalt Maple category.
Big Leaf Maple (Spalted Figure) Products
Note: our wood products are sold with no guarantee of moisture content.
Woodturning Bowl Blanks
Specialty Turning Blanks
Spalting is caused by fungi, the group of organisms that includes yeasts and molds. There is not full consensus in the medical community on the potential health consequences of exposure to these organisms. If you have a compromised immune systems, allergies, asthma, other lung disease, or medical concerns, please consult your physician before working with spalted wood. It may be advisable to work with a respirator mask and ensure proper dust collection.