Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I'm looking for some advice on drying spalted red alder. I have read that alder, being one of the softer hardwoods spalts easily and can go punky very quickly. I'm looking for any advice on preventing further deterioration of the wood. I have a Woodmizer LT15 and will be sawing some of this lumber into one inch boards and some into six and eight inch blocks for turning.
When I sticker the boards should I spray them with some type of fungicide to help stop the process of the wood breaking down or will the air drying be enough? I am in the process of building a small kiln and should have it done in the next few weeks. Would there be a benefit to loading this wood into the kiln and bringing the temp up to 120 degrees or so for a few days to kill the fungus and then continuing with the air drying instead of or in addition to a fungicide?
With regard to the turning blocks, should I do the same? I was going to air dry the blocks for a few weeks and then coat them with Anchorseal in an effort to keep the moisture level consistent and avoid checking. Is this a good idea given the active fungus growing inside? Any advice is appreciated. I'm new to the board but have already found an incredible amount of high quality information and advice. Thanks to everyone who take the time to offer your expertise.
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Spalting is done by the white rot fungi. They take time, much longer than the month or so of air drying. You will notice a wide variation in color depending on how fast and how hot you dry the wood. With blocks, you can dry the outside fast and get one color and the interior more slowly and get a second color, probably unsuitable to have this color variation. The overall practices and drying procedures are fairly lengthy, so it is hard to give them here. Contact Oregon State University Forest Products Lab for a class and maybe some advice or special training. Or hire a consultant. In general, a kiln is best as you can control the color rather than relying on nature.