I was asked recently to turn some bowls for a client from his old chopping block he used at work. He worked in the Forestry Commission and decided to take redundancy and move to Spain. I had my doubts about turning seasoned hornbeam on a pole lathe. It is, as you can see, heavily spalted. Splating is what we call the patterns you see in the wood caused by fungi eating the wood. Let the spalting or rotting go to far and all you get is wood that is now sponge. Once the wood has been dried the rotting stops.
The wood sat outside in the rain for a couple of months, this helped with getting the wood wet again and softer to turn. I was worried a bit about the softer, spongier portions of wood, which turned well in the end, a sharp hook tool helped. The serving spoon was made from half of the centre portion of the log.
Spalting this far gone is not quite to my taste, I prefer something a bit more subtle. The form of the bowls and especially of the spoon get lost, it is all about the marks, lines and colours of the wood.
This is the level of splating I prefer, these are beech bowls.
This is the other end of the scale, silver birch which comes out white and very little in the way of figure in the wood.