Spalting colorants as dyes for wood stabilizers

  • He Rui
  • S. C. RobinsonEmail author
  • Patricia Vega Gutierrez
  • Savannah Stanton
Brief Communication


Spalted wood stabilization through various heat-treated resins has become a popular method for dealing with heavily decayed wood that no longer has enough structure to be usable. Among the most popular resins are the solutions of mixed methacrylated esters, which are often tinted with synthetic colorants to add an artificial colored layer to zone line-spalted wood as well as to stabilize the white-rotted areas. This research found that spalting pigments (technically dyes, but referred to as pigments in biological fields)—extracted from spalted wood—could be used in place of the synthetic colorants, thereby adding additional spalting to the wood without any associated decay (and adding additional spalting while stabilizing the wood with the same type of fungi that decayed it in the first place). Of the three fungi tested, the red pigment from Scytalidium cuboideum had the deepest penetration (complete) of the wood and was color stable after the curing process. While the blue–green pigment from Chlorociboria aeruginosa effectively colored the surface of the wood, it did not appear internally. The yellow pigment from S. ganodermophthorum did not show on the wood. None of the fungal colorants affected the properties of the methacrylation. The results of this study offer an intriguing opportunity to replace synthetic colorants with natural ones, which may be particularly attractive to turners of spalted wood who tend to prize natural color over synthetic.


Chlorociboria Scytalidium cuboideum Scytalidium ganodermophthorum Spalting Wood stabilization 



This research was supported by donations from the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.


  1. 1.
    Vega Gutierrez, P, “Perceptions on Spalted Wood: The Influence of Historic Spalting Patterns and Valuation of Spalted Wood Around the World.” PhD thesis: Oregon State University (2017)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Robinson, SC, Laks, PE, Richter, DL, Pickens, JB, “Evaluating Loss of Machinability in Spalted Sugar Maple.” For. Prod. J., 57 (4) 33–37 (2007)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Robinson, SC, Michaelsen, H, Robinson, J, Spalted Wood. The History, Science, and Art of a Unique Material. Schiffer Publishing, Pennsylvania (2016)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hernandez, VA, Galleguillos, F, Robinson, SC, “Fungal Pigments from Spalting Fungi Attenuating Blue Sap-Stain in Pinus spp.” Int. Biodeterior. Biodegrad., 107 154–157 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Pittis, L, Rodrigues DeOliveira, D, Vega Gutierrez, S, Robinson, SC, “Alternative Carrier Solvents for Pigments Extracted from Spalting Fungi.” Materials, 11 897 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Robinson, SC, Tudor, D, Cooper, PA, “Utilizing Pigment-Producing Fungi to Add Commercial Value to American Beech (Fagus grandifolia).” Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol., 93 (3) 1041–1048 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Robinson, SC, Weber, G, Hinsch, E, Vega Gutierrez, S, Pittis, S, Freitas, S, “Utilizing Extracted Fungal Pigments for Wood Spalting—A Comparison of Induced Fungal Pigmentation to Fungal Dyeing.” J. Coat., (2014). Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Robinson, SC, Hinsch, E, Weber, G, Leipus, K, Cerney, D, “Wood Colorization Through Pressure Treating: The Potential of Extracted Pigments from Spalting Fungi as a Replacement for Woodworkers’ Aniline Dyes.” Materials, 7 (8) 5427–5437 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Robinson, SC, Tudor, D, Zhang, W, Ng, S, Cooper, PA, “Ability of Three Yellow Pigment Producing Fungi to Color Wood Under Controlled Conditions.” Int. Wood Prod. J., 5 (2) 103–107 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Weber, GL, Boonloed, A, Naas, KM, Koesdjojo, MT, Remcho, VT, Robinson, SC, “A Method to Stimulate Production of Extracellular Pigments from Wood-Degrading Fungi Using a Water Carrier.” Curr. Res. Environ. Appl. Mycol., 6 (4) 218–230 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Christensen, K, “Improving the Working Properties of Spalted Woods Through Impregnation with Methyl Methacrylate.” M.S. thesis: Brigham Young University (1982)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    North Woods Figured Woods, Stabilized Wood. [On-line]: Last Accessed: 10/31/18
  13. 13.
    McIvor, D, “Stabilizing Wood: An Alchemist’s Guide.” In: Singing the Green Wood Blues For Woodturners, pp. 22–24. American Association of Woodturners (2018)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Robinson, SC, Hinsch, E, Weber, G, Freitas, S, “Method of Extraction and Resolubilization of Pigments from Chlorociboria aeruginosa and Scytalidium cuboideum, Two Prolific Spalting Fungi.” Coloration Technol., 103 221–225 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Robinson, SC, Vega Gutierrez, SM, Cespedes, RA, Iroume, N, Vorland, NR, McClelland, A, Huber, M, Stanton, S, “Potential for Carrying Pigments Derived from Spalting Fungi in Natural Oils.” J. Coat. Technol. Res., 14 (5) 1107–1113 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Robinson, SC, Vega Gutierrez, SM, “Use of Fungal Pigments from Wood-Staining Fungi as Colorants in Wood Finishes and Paints.” U.S. Patent Application No. 15/266,865 Filed September 18th, 2015 (2016)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Robinson, SC, Tudor, D, Snider, H, Cooper, PA, “Stimulating Growth and Xylindein Production of Chlorociboria aeruginascens in Agar-Based Systems.” AMB Express, 2 (15) 1–7 (2012)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© American Coatings Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • He Rui
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. C. Robinson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patricia Vega Gutierrez
    • 1
  • Savannah Stanton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Wood Science and EngineeringOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.College of Materials EngineeringSouthwest Forestry UniversityKunmingChina

Personalised recommendations