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Butternut issue

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  • Butternut issue

    Recently took a class with Jeff Phares carving a full figure out of green butternut. He recommended keeping the carving covered with a plastic bag so it didn't dry out too fast. Well I brought it home and set it up in my basement carving area and when I came back to it 3 weeks or so later it is covered in a yellow/green perhaps mold.

    Has anyone experienced this and if so what can I do to remove it without damage to the carved surface?

  • #2
    You're stuck. I've had that happen to log pieces that I was trying(?) to dry slowly so no cracks.
    All I could do was wipe them all with a clean rag, hoping to damage the mold.
    Imagine snow-white 6" x 24" willow, covered with black freckles that don't wipe off.

    The molds are stuck right into the surface wood.
    I'm guessing, but I believe that I will have to carve it all off.
    = = =
    I suppose that you could kill it all with an alcohol rinse
    but who knows what starts to grow tomorrow?
    Brian T


    • #3
      A8D9CF3F-F374-4AA1-A33C-CE6D0918A571.jpeg There are commercial products for mold and the ones that work can be hazardous. I’d go that way but be sure to follow the instructions and dress like you at a hazmat site. Side note: I’ve had good luck keeping green wood projects from cracking buy drilling out the pith sealing end and keeping in a cardboard box when not carving. Like this green aspen carving.

      Living in a pile of chips.


      • #4
        I would just spray it with a mix of bleach and water and brush it off. I kept mine covered with a bag but the bottom was open and I had no problems. I think you waited too long to uncover it also? I uncovered mine every day and carved on it, so maybe that helped me.
        'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"


        • #5
          Agree with Mike on bleach water. My experience with green butternut is the same as green catalpa.... if carving on it every day, cover with plastic bag over night... otherwise, you need to remove the bag everyday, turn it inside out, and cover again. Moisture will build up in bag and needs to escape... otherwise mold will form.
          Old carvers never die... they just whittle away.


          • #6
            By leaving the bag on for 3 weeks you allowed too much moisture to accumulate inside which allowed the mold to grow. As Mike said, bleach and water are probably your best bet but I'm afraid you will still be likely left with black mold spots on the wood which will have to be carved off.
            Keep On Carvin'
            Bob K.

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            • #7
              You can always call it spalted, and ignore the black spots.

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