A while ago, we encountered a piece of spalted maple. It was beautiful. It had a bunch of squiggly black lines, some of which enclosed blocks of color. It was really pretty. Never having really encountered it before we were in awe. A new kind of wood? Was spalted maple like birds eye maple, or quilted maple, fiddle back maple — what was it?!? We had to find out more.
Where quilting, birds eye, and fiddle back, are attributes of wood grain and how the tree grew, spalting (spoiling), is actually wood rot. It’s a fungal infection, the early stages of decay. It’s what comes before you have a brittle or pulpy useless mush. It’s what happens when fungi start to break down a once majestic tree to re-integrate it into the earth. Whoa?!?