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suzannajean

Black mold on Wood/underside of plates

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The humidity is consistently producing a significant layer of mold on the underside of my plates.  They need to dry for over a week, so it’s plenty of time for a whole ecosystem to grow.   Unfortunately, the black mold often stains the clay all the way to the completion of the glaze fire. 

Im using a birch plywood to build them on.  It is untreated. Does anyone have any advice on how to treat the wood so I dont have to deal with this issue as much?! When I was working at another studio and using their boards, I rarely dealt with this. Now that i’m using my own boards consistently, it’s a major issue.  Plus, black mold is just scary looking. 

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Spray the board with hydrogen peroxide to kill the spores that are all over it.  Impressive that it's able to stain through the glaze fire, the mold must be concentrating metals (which is common in fungi). 

I'd say killing the source is the only way to really control it, but mold spores are pervasive so control is about as good as you'll get.  Can you flip them every day so that the mold doesn't have that moist stagnant surface to grow into?

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What cone do you fire to o8?Have to belive it makes it thru a glaze fire.What is the clay body??

you could switch to boat plywood -there are a few choices but most haane mahogany as a skin outerside which will not be prone to mold or wetness issues.Ash and birch are not good wet choices.

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22 hours ago, suzannajean said:

the black mold often stains the clay all the way to the completion of the glaze fire

Really unusual, I've never heard of this happening, curious to know if anybody else has had this happen? @suzannajean, could you post a picture of one of the glazed plates and a bit more info on your clay and if you are firing it to maturity?

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I've switched to using "Hardibacker" cement board (comes in many different brands - check Home Depot) instead of drywall or wood for table surfaces and wareboards. It's the stuff used in place of drywall behind ceramic tiles in wet areas like bathrooms. Its cheap, doesn't risk chipping plaster into your work like drywall, doesn't warp like wood, and dries your work evenly like plaster. Since it was made to prevent mold in construction, I think it would be worth a try. It is great to wedge on, and for reclaiming wet clay. 

 

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1 hour ago, Irene the Handbuilder said:

I've switched to using "Hardibacker" cement board (comes in many different brands - check Home Depot) instead of drywall or wood for table surfaces and wareboards. It's the stuff used in place of drywall behind ceramic tiles in wet areas like bathrooms. Its cheap, doesn't risk chipping plaster into your work like drywall, doesn't warp like wood, and dries your work evenly like plaster. Since it was made to prevent mold in construction, I think it would be worth a try. It is great to wedge on, and for reclaiming wet clay. 

 

Chlorothalonil is a a surface agent used on some food products such as peanuts etc....  problem is many products used on wood are toxic and mold is everywhere. Liam’s kill it idea might work but the mold spores are likely everywhere so they will simply regrow in the environment. Killing spores on wood takes time, wiping the surface down will not kill them, they need soak time.
 

Since the wood seems to be a good food source have you tried drywall, etc...

If not, my best thought is a compound as  above that is food safe. It won’t last forever though and will need reapplication.

Maybe search natural fungicides and you will find one that is non toxic and effective for your mold growth.

Edited by Bill Kielb

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6 hours ago, Irene the Handbuilder said:

Since it was made to prevent mold in construction, I think it would be worth a try.

I'm not affiliated with Hardie, but I do work for a building materials supplier, and feel the need to clarify:  Hardi-Backer (and other, similar 'cement-board' products) is NOT "made to prevent mold".  It is designed to "prevent moisture damage".  This means the product itself will not degrade in wet/damp conditions and, when the correct mortar is used, ceramic tile applied to the board will not come loose like it tends to do on drywall that gets wet.

It *might* be less likely to support mold growth, compared to wood or other materials that tend to hold moisture (and, as Bill mentioned, provides a 'food source')  -  but James Hardie's warranty specifically says: "This Limited Warranty does not cover ... any other damage or defects resulting from or in any way attributable to: ... (l) Growth of mold, mildew, fungi, bacteria, or any organism on any surface of the Products (whether on the exposed or unexposed surfaces) or underlying structures;"

Doesn't mean it won't work as a ware-board... just saying don't assume that it won't/can't grow mold in an environment that mold likes to grow in.

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