Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Spalted Maple Knife Strip 2.0
This isn't the first knife stip rodeo, but it does warrant a new post as it is a recent commission that I received. For the sake of the new buyer, I wanted to do a special post for their new knife strip and detail a little about the material and to say a few things about caring for the material.
Spalted maple is, essentially, maple that has begun to rot. Many different woods can begin to "spalt," but maple makes for a particularly striking example because it sets up the color contrasts of light and dark, the pure light maple color and the streaks of darkness.
Some process of decomposition causes the wood to discolor. Spalted maple is valuable because of its appearance, or figure, but quality spalted maple is rare because of the mechanism of its creation. Maple begins to spalt when it begins to rot. Rotten wood does not make very stable wood, so the key is to allow the board to spalt and then to arrest to process and hope you allowed it to spalt enough that you have good figure without allowing it to weaken from decomposition. This is one of the finest boards that I've seen and certainly the finest that I've had the privilege of working with.
This knife strip, like the others, has rare earth magnets embedded beneath the surface along its entire length. The pictures are of it against a refrigerator, but I recommend using the keyhole slots to mount it to a wall or cabinet with screws.
Caring for this is simple: I didn't put any "permanent" finish on it because this should be touching your knives and there's good reason to want a food-safe, butcher's block, finish on it. I wiped on three coats of butcher's block oil, and I encourage you to do the same from time to time... whenever you feel like it but every few months would probably be sufficient.
Enjoy, and thank you.