Spalted Maple is a decorative, highly figured wood, with light and dark streaks which contrast with the lightness of the Maple. It is very difficult to obtain, is not available commercially, and most pieces are very small. It is very popular with woodworkers for the beauty and uniqueness of its grain. Other pale woods such as sugar maple, birch and beech can become spalted, but Maple lends itself to the process and to the outcome because of its light color and hardness. Spalted Maple is only found in log form, and the way these logs become “spalted” is fascinating. The partial decay (spalting) happens when fungus begins to attack the wood causing the logs to have darker and lighter lines and streaks. These natural fungi grow on logs that are decaying the woods. Key words here are water, temperature, oxygen and time. There must be humidity, warmth, and exposure to air. It can take years to produce these black lines caused by the fungi, but which make the wood particularly beautiful and decorative.
Recently we happened to be in a forested area of Virginia and saw a stack of logs that were destined to be used as firewood. Both ends of the logs were covered with beautiful fungi, (note photo), and it was fun to observe this spalting process taking place in nature.
It is possible to spalt maple in a shop setting, but it is a long, difficult undertaking. In the meantime, we will continue to obtain Spalted Maple wherever and however possible, and to continue using it to make some of the most handsome of the Michael Dixon Humidors.
Interested in a Spalted Maple Humidor? View some of our Spalted Maple Humidors by clicking on the links below.