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Spalted Myrtle?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Robin Thompson, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. Robin Thompson

    Robin Thompson

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
    Messages:
    66
    Location:
    Sarnia, Ontario
    Recently, I acquired a new to me lathe. Pics attached. At the time I had the option of buying just the lathe or all of the turning related items in the shop. I went with the package deal. The previous owner gave me a good price and I gladly paid. After we struck the deal the seller asked if I was interested in a pile of turning blanks he had in storage. I jumped at that as well and took home a crate of mixed wood blanks. However; there was a catch. He said I could have them at no extra cost if I used one blank (his choice) to turn him a bowl and one blank to make him a platter. There obviously was no hesitation. So herein I have posted a couple of pics of the bowl I am turning for him. I should also add that when he gave it to me, the owner said the blank was Myrtle. I have never before turned Myrtle let alone seen it. By looking at the photos, can you tell me if you think I am seeing spalting or is this a typical looking piece of Myrtle?
    There are some badly pitted areas and the blank is not cooperating. Mounted Bowl.JPG VL 300 View 1.JPG VL 300 View 2.JPG Myrtle Bowl Out Pic 1.JPG Myrtle Bowl Out Pic 2.JPG Myrtle Bowl Inside.JPG
     
    charlie knighton likes this.
  2. odie

    odie

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    Panning for Montana gold!
    Yes, you are seeing spalting there. If you can catch it at the right time, spalting can greatly add to the beauty and character of the wood. Spalting is a rotting process, and the wood gets softer as a result. When that progresses to an unusable degree, it's impossible to get a nice clean cut......and, the only thing that can save it, is a great amount of sanding, if it can be saved at all. If the wood had some spectacular grain, that might make me want to try harder in getting something out of it, but personally, I wouldn't bother with that particular piece.

    You might want to consider telling the guy who sold you your lathe, that the spalting is too pronounced, and pick out another piece for the project.

    The Vicmarc 300 lathe is a great lathe......I think you're going to love it! :D

    -----odie-----
     
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  3. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    virginia
    if the blank is very dry like the blank is several years old....it will be very hard to get a good cut and su r face....great lathe....love the outboard tool rest.....start small get acquainted with your lathe
     
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

    Joined:
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    There are some threads on working with splatted wood.
    In spalted wood the fibers are not tightly connected which allows them to be pulled and tear rather than be cut on a smooth surface.

    You can often get clean cuts by using a thin shellac which will stiffen the fibers allowing a cut.
    It is important to use sharp tools, ride the bevel, and take light cuts.
    Avoid scraping as it generally does nit work well with spalted wood

    The patch I see on the interior would likel do much better with shellac mixed with twice the alcohol.
    minor spaltingncan often be cut by just wetting the area with water which swells the fibers and allows then to be cut.

    If you see a ring it is likely due to coming off the bevel
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  5. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Well, I have turned a lot of Myrtle/California Bay Laurel. That type of coloration and pattern I would say is pretty much rot, and not spalting. Very difficult to get clean cuts when it is that soft. Very light cuts, and if you can, use a fine honed edge for the cuts. I cheat and have 600 and 1000 grit CBN wheels.

    robo hippy
     
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  6. Robin Thompson

    Robin Thompson

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
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    Location:
    Sarnia, Ontario
    Charlie, this blank was purchased in 2002 by the guy that gave it to me. It has been sitting on a high shelf in his garage since then. He rough turned it as soon as he received it and sat it up there. I live in Whitehorse Yukon and it is very dry up here. I suspect your correct.
    Thanks for the responses and I am going to try and salvage this.
     
  7. Robin Thompson

    Robin Thompson

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
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    Location:
    Sarnia, Ontario
    Pic 3 Myrtle Bowl.JPG Pic 1 Myrtle Bowl.JPG I couldn't toss the darn thing out. Plugged the hole in the bottom after enlarging it to about 3/4". Finished turning and put the walnut oil to it.
     
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