A.Preservation consultant John Leeke responds: You are right; rot does indeed require water. Wood rots, or decays, when fungus organisms eat it. Three conditions must be present for the fungus to thrive: temperatures between about 40°F and 100°F, food (which is the wood itself), and a wood moisture content above 20-25%.
The presence of the fungus is a given because fungus spores are everywhere, carried about by the wind. Two common types of wood-eating fungus are "cubic brown rot" and "white rot." Cubic brown rot eats the cellulose component of wood, leaving the darker brown lignin component, which shrinks into characteristic blocky formations. White rot eats...
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