Do you know what caused the delicate black etching in this yellow birch?
This entry was posted on December 17, 2012 by Mary Holland. It was filed under Mystery Photo Submissions .
a fungus of some sort?
December 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm
No clue, but I think I see a cardinal etched on the right side. It’s gorgeous, whatever caused it.
December 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm
It’s called “spalting” by woodworkers. It’s when bacteria(?) first starts to invade a piece of dead moist wood and begins the decaying process. I would really like to have that piece!
December 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm
Fungus mycelium…Cabinetmakers and woodturners love the patterns inside wood like this. It’s called “spalting”.
That there is ‘spalting’, caused by a fungus, is it not? I once cut up an old maple tree that had been downed in a storm several years prior. It would have made a woodworker green with envy as it was spalted throughout. The bonus for me was that the fungus was also phosphorescent; I split the wood one sunny summer afternoon, went out to meet some friends for dinner, and came home to a glowing woodpile! Don’t know if was the same fungus, or whether the glowing fungus and the spalted fungus just liked to hang out together…
December 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm
Fungi. Spalting, an early stage of decomposition, is ephemeral. This stage will succumb, relatively soon, to a less beautiful but no less important stage of rot.
December 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm
it’s from fungus, can’t remember the term. I’ve also seen reds, yellows, etc. i would love to have that log for my lathe. It would make a beautiful bowl!
December 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm
These blogs (and comments!) are soooooo addictive early morning (time diff to Alberta) reading with the morning coffee….!!…….this wood is stunningly beautiful, a magical photograph! Birch is relatively rare here yet there’s an artisan woodworker further south who crafts exquisite bowls just like this. And now I know what’s the deal thanks to reader comments and your ‘mystery’ blog. Thank you!
December 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm
December 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm
I don’t know, but, it is very pretty
December 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm
It’s spalting any woodworker knows that. It’s beautiful though. Great picture!
December 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm
Well enough others have told you it fugus and called spalting in the trade – beautiful picture thank you for sharing it.
December 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm
I don’t know — but it sure looks neat! Could a fungus be responsible?
December 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm
I’ve seen this before, & think it is foxfire, which is a mycelium which is phosphorescent. I find that foxfire tends to grow in golden birch & striped maple, especially at the roots & base, hence my conclusion.
December 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm
I love spalted pieces, especially birch. I want one of those woodworkers to make me something!
December 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm
wow, I’d like to have that wood, as would many other woodworkers! It’s called spalting, caused by a fungal white-rot found mostly in hardwoods. It is highly valued by woodworkers for the decorative lines and even streaks of color. If the fungi grows for too long, the strength of the wood is diminished and it eventually totally decays.
December 17, 2012 at 6:54 pm
No, but that is beautiful. I can’t wait to hear the cause.
December 17, 2012 at 10:47 pm
It is brown rot
December 17, 2012 at 10:58 pm
December 17, 2012 at 11:03 pm
I learned recently that this is caused by fungus growing on dead wood. It can cause gorgeous striations on the wood. When this marked wood is found it is highly prized by wood workers. I only learned this when I found (and bought) a beautiful box with these kinds of markings for my son’s birthday. I don’t know what the wood workers use on the wood to stop the fungus from spreading but I was assured that it was no longer growing.
December 17, 2012 at 11:20 pm
There area number of fungi that cause decay within yellow birch and it really doesn’t matter which is the causal factor. More importantly the patterns that develop are present because of the response of the tree to the presence of the fungus or in this case possibly fungi. The tree,even tissue technically non-living, responds to the presence by creating boundaries that may be chemical or physical. These boundaries often can be identified by a change in the color of the tissue at its margin. The ultimate goal of the tree is to compartmentalize-wall off- the organism that is trying to break down tissue. A life lesson- those who are best at strong compartmentalization live the longest!
December 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm
We woodworkers call it spalting. I only know it to be caused by a fungus
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December 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm
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