When I started woodworking, we would call punky, discolored wood “rotten.” Because it was. “Cut off that rotten part, and get the rest surfaced and ready to go.”
But something happened during the last 40 years or so: rotten wood became “spalted” and is now considered valuable. Woodturners get big money for a spalted bowl. Fancy cabinets are even fancier if the doors have spalting on them.
And I get it…the patterns caused by fungus in wood can be really interesting and beautiful. But this change in attitude raises a new question for me. Grey hair used to mean you were just old — it was not so good. But what if I have spalted hair? Am I now trendy and more valuable?
Inquiring minds want to know!
Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal
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