The mysterious origins of curly maple:
Have you ever wondered how the figure in figured maple comes into being? Many people have that question. Even though it has been the subject of many studies, still very little is known about how and why the figure in wood develops.
First of all, let us say that figure is the design, pattern or distinctive markings that appear in some wood. It is created by variations in color, texture, luster, and grain. Distortions in the direction of the grain that reflect light differently, create the look of rolling waves. It is most commonly seen in maple wood.
There are lots of theories about why figure develops, but the ultimate cause or causes are still unknown. None of the studies have shown a direct correlation between factors like geographic location, climate, soil, rate of growth, etc. and figure in wood. It has been found that the best figured wood usually develops in straight, well-formed, and healthy trees. All types of figured wood occur in all parts of the world, but there are certain areas that yield more trees with figured wood than other areas.
For now, the reasons for the development of figure in maple or any wood will remain a mystery. Regardless of the origins of the figure in some wood, it creates a beautiful effect that enhances any piece that is made from it.