View Full Version : Curly Maple?

Robert Joseph
11-04-2011, 6:52 PM
Didn't see an area for wood related topics....so here I am.

Speaking with an old timer that traded me some curly maple for some butternut logs I had and he said it's easy to turn any maple into a curly figured log. He said you wait til the sapling is a couple years old (6-10 feet) high....stake it to one side for one season and stake it the opposite way the next season....then stake it straight up (if necessary) the third and let it grow. When cut and sawn it will be curly.

Is this true? All my years around maple and I never heard of this.

Lex Boegen
11-05-2011, 6:12 PM
I was reading some documents about lumber at the Purdue University (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&sqi=2&ved=0CDgQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ces.purdue.edu%2Fextmedia%2FF NR%2FFNR-287-W.pdf&ei=TbO1TsCYI8GqgwfInbSnBA&usg=AFQjCNEV__4F-osTbsPhVaAJ_7-FKZc5Qw) Extension Services web site, and they said that no one knows why or how some Maple becomes figured--either curly or birdseye, so my best guess is that this old timer was repeating an old wive's tale that he believes. Given the premium prices that figured Maple commands, and only about five percent of Maple harvested has it, I doubt that this is true or we'd have tree farms doing this procedure.

Frank Drew
11-06-2011, 10:36 AM
I've always thought that curly figure comes from large trees where the sheer weight compressed the grain over time, crumpling it in a sense, creating the curl. That might be hogwash, of course, but it sounds as it that old timer was thinking of a quick method to create enough compression to make the grain "accordion".

As a side note, the first European settlers to our continent were simply stunned by some of our figured maple.

Robert Joseph
11-06-2011, 10:46 AM
That's what I was thinking, but this guy seems to have an awful lot of it in his woodlot. Not quite as dramatic as some I've seen at the hardwood dealer, but it's definitely figured.