I received a piece of nicely figured maple today in the mail. The wood is amazing, and I wanted to slice it for a solid body top.

BUT the wood feels wet, smells moldy and has mold on the outside, you can kinda see in the picture where it turns green... :-(

This can't be acceptable, right?

Tags: lumber, maple, moldy

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Hi Micha,

Firstly you need to let it "air" in a well ventilated and warm place.  The green tinge may be mould or it may be a fault in the timber (and by fault I mean anything that isn't good) - try scraping the area with a scraper to see if its on the surface or goes into the wood.  

The next thing to do is to measure the moisture content of the wood with a moisture meter designed for this purpose - if you are going to source wood randomly from all sources you will need this device.  Building with wood that is not correctly kilned or dried is a recipe for disaster.   Other wize, just buy your wood from the established luthier supplies places which have already process the wood ready for building.


the green stuff has hair on it, yes it's mold, haha.

yeah I didn't expect that and I have a pro woodworker friend that can take a look at it. I can return it, this just doesn't feel right all the way. Rather find a better source that you also can buy from in the future...

Id be pretty leery about using it for a guitar, but if the cost was reasonable Id probably keep it to make something else after it dried for a good while. Id clean off the mold and find some concoction to kill whats left before storing it to dry.

nope, this investment was for a guitar top... I need to return... any advice on reliable sources welcome!

I get most from Canadian company. Its only 2 hours drive for me so I just select stuff in person usually, but theyll take pics for you etc. huge, huge selection.

looks good. I'll email them and see what they have. Thanks for the tip!

No problamo.

That's not mold, that is spalting!!!   :D

Okay, that is mold, not good.

Hi Micha

A while back I made the mistake of buying a load of maple for lute ribs,that had (I thought) superficial mould marks  - only to find that the discolouration went right through the wood.  As I cut the timber I found patches of black discolouration which made it practically unusable; no amount of bleaching would remove it.With maple, spalting reaches deep into the grain very quickly - it can be decorative, but to do so, it needs to be fairly pronounced.

Maple is very prone to this sort of marking if it isn't stacked and dried as soon after cutting as possible. Your wood hasn't been stored correctly - no way should it reach you in this condition. Any chance of a refund?

Yeah Ive seen this a lot on maple I cut myself from trees that came down in our yard. The high sugar content is the reason I think. Guess its tasty stuff. It was stacked fairly well to air dry, but with little light it developed mold in weeks.

On the other hand, I had a black walnut log that was cut down because it was full of ants, and sat on the ground outside for 4 years. When I cut some pieces off for little projects, the good parts were still good. Untouched by fungus for the most part, and nothing beyond the surface. Its too bad the ants ate the centre of the trunk (you should have seen how many ants came out of it!), it could have made some nice guitars.

Just an interesting aside about how different woods can respond to pathogens etc..


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