In South Carolina, Sweet Gum trees are a nuisance to say the least. They take over any open area and grow very rapidly. The wood is not considered to be good for firewood, so any that is cut is allows to lay around and rot most of the time.
I decided to use some pieces to make a bowl, and the results turned out pretty good. The piece I used had been cut to use as a log for growing shiitake mushrooms, but it didn’t get inoculated with the mushroom spawn soon enough and was allowed to sit and begin to rot.
With the climate in South Carolina hot and wet, the rotting process happens very quickly. This log had been cut and lying on the ground for around 3 months. It started out as a white log with very little grain pattern or coloring. Fungi begin to decompose the log, creating the black lines that wood workers refer to as “Spalt”. This spalted sweet gum bowl is the first of many I plan to make, I didn’t take any photos of the log before I turned it, but here is the final result.