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  • Spalted wood: dangerous?

    I was reading about spalted wood, and I didn't realize that what causes the spalting is the fungus that sets in during the natural decay of the wood (most often maple). I also found out that it's dangerous to work with spalted wood due to the fungal content, which is awakened from its dormancy by the moisture in the lungs...

    Now, I'm completely ignorant of all wood-related matters, so this is probably a stupid thing to ask, but would owning a guitar with a 1/16" spalted maple top on the body be dangerous at all? What if you ran it into a wall and generated some dust or something... I also read that spalted maple is softer than other maple, so that's something I'm concerned about too.

    It's all probably nothing to worry about... but I would have just moved on from the spalted to something else if spalted didn't win hands-down for looks any cherry burst or black with gold hardware or white or silver burst just can't compete... don't you agree?



  • #2
    Those things have such a thick hard gloss poly coating that I think you'd have to go out of your way to bash it enough to expose raw wood.
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    • #3
      wouldn't worry at all....one you'd have to destroy the guitar..
      two you aren't working with it.... and 3rdly..... do you panic when you break rotten wood....
      MOTGLHC, HCLOWP & HCEFESC- cack-handed, single coiled and blue!


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      • #4
        Ok, I'm satisfied placing my order now!

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        • #5
          Woods typically go through a kiln as part of the drying process. So, anything previously alive in or on the wood does not survive this process. Your guitar is completely safe and if you ever decided to make a guitar yourself using spalted wood (ie:Maple, etc.) you would be safe as well. Don't forget that Birdseye Maple, Mahogany, etc. is formed due to the wood being diseased.

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          • #6
            sure it's dangerous...toxic as all get out. Now don't go blabbing it to the workers in asia who are breathing the dust. shhhhh

            Originally Posted by wedgehed II


            Instead of searching for intelligent life in the universe, NASA should send a probe to this thread.

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            • #7
              Birdseye Maple, Mahogany, etc. is formed due to the wood being diseased.


              Hi Mr. Steve,

              can you please elaborate on that?
              or point me to a good website about this and similar topics?

              thx,
              SBL
              fighting his own ignorance since '73
              Axe-Fx Ultra

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              • #8
                No...but it's ugly.
                “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”

                Albert Einstein

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                • #9
                  I ain't touching no spalted wood. I don't want no fungus growing in my lungs. I ain't gonna depend on no poly coating nor (not very hot) wood-drying kiln to keep spores offa me. Spores are bad. Spores kill.

                  I saw a movie once where spores got into people. They became crazy, and had growths on their bodies and they ate human flesh and acted weird. No way.
                  You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows
                  GB Trooper #198
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                  • #10
                    Spalted wood won't hurt you. I turn it all the time on my lathe when I make pens and bowls. I have the AGile Spalted Maple A-2000 just for that reason. But I do wear a respirator when I turn wood spalted or not.
                    Member of The Tele Team

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                    • #11
                      Those things have such a thick hard gloss poly coating that I think you'd have to go out of your way to bash it enough to expose raw wood.

                      +1

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                      • #12
                        I'm a physician an have never heard of a respiratory infection from working on spalted wood. Some hardwoods can irritate the lungs if their sawdust is breathed in though. The woods have chemical irritants in them like poison ivy.
                        Cocobolo and Amazon Rosewood are two species known to do this, and of course allergic reactions have been reported.

                        A fungal species that lives off trees would probably be adapted genetically for that host and wouldn't survive with a human as a host.
                        Originally Posted by DToad:

                        Lets face it- today's GOP is all about the richest one percent exploiting the dumbest fifty percent.

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                        • #13
                          I'm a physician an have never heard of a respiratory infection from working on spalted wood. Some hardwoods can irritate the lungs if their sawdust is breathed in though. The woods have chemical irritants in them like poison ivy.
                          Cocobolo and Amazon Rosewood are two species known to do this, and of course allergic reactions have been reported.

                          A fungal species that lives off trees would probably be adapted genetically for that host and wouldn't survive with a human as a host.


                          Well doctor...
                          You may want to take a look at PubMed and run a literature search at the NLM using the key words "lung wood fungus". About three dozen abstracts come up, some of which are quite pertinent.

                          It appears that wood-borne fungal allergens causing hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a real concern. Also, the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville recently reported finding fungal abscesses (i.e. infection) in the lungs of a pulp mill worker: http://www.chestjournal.org/cgi/reprint/118/5/1503.pdf

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                          • #14
                            don't go in the woods...they're ALIVE!!!!

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                            • #15
                              don't go in the woods...they're ALIVE!!!!


                              It's what's ALIVE in the stuff that's dead that you have to be careful of...
                              "I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect." (Edward Gibbon)

                              "Any sufficiently advanced troll is indistinguishable from a genuine kook." (Alan Morgan)

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                              Eagle River Manifesto on religion.

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