Burl and spalted wood is very brittle and full of imperfections. Normally, I cut grooves into my tops along with the bend, then steam the top simply over boiling water for 15 minutes, before clamping into shape and let cool and dry.
But initial trials with scrap wood of spalted walnut snapped and broke, whatever I tried. I studied the tips I could locate and ended up soaking the wood in water overnight as in the image above. I did not cut any grooves into the wood since this would weaken the wood further.
A nervous wait ensued. I then steamed the pre-soaked top (which was literally soaked all the way through) as usual and it turned out that the top became very easy to bend. I clamped it, and heard no snap!
Tomorrow, we’ll see how the burl behaves…