Acer spp. of the family Aceraceae. This is not a particular species of maple but rather a FIGURE of maple, and it can be either hard maple or red maple (which is a soft maple). when used with maple, the terms "flame" and "tiger" are both exact synonyms for "curly". My curly red maple pics are mostly on the red maple page, not here.
my samples: colors are NOT as good as I would like; the pics tend to show a false orange tint or to just NOT show the correct off-white color but look somewhat gray instead. Many of the pics throughout my own samples are CLOSE to correct in color but not quite white enough.
a couple of sticks donated by Jim Glynn --- thanks Jim. These pics demonstrate quite well a phenonenon that you'll see throughout this site, which is that head-on shots of curly wood tend to make the curl look weaker than it is whereas shots from an angle allow the curl to show up properly. Also, the difference in color between the two pics is mostly due to the shift in angle, although the pic on the right shows a little darker than the actual wood. The color of the wood itself is a little more white than the pics, which have a mild orangish tint that is not present in the wood.
end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above. The end grain shot is too gray, update is just right,
both sides of a sample plank of curly silver maple (a soft maple) / Acer saccharinum --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.
end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above
two planks --- I continue to experiment with ways to capture the exact color of these planks and the ones above and I am never quite successful. These two planks are absolutely identical in color; the difference shown here is due to differences in my color correction, which still doesn't quite get it right. The actual wood is more white than what you see here --- it has no orange tint at all. In the first pic, the color has a false orange tint and in the second pic, the color has a faint (and false) blue or purpulish tint.
plank and closeup
a set of small planks and a closeup
planks photographed at a lumber yard --- these planks have the fairly weak curl that you should expect if you buy curly maple sight-unseen over the internet.
two views of a small curly red maple bowl blank and then the same piece mositened with water, which clearly improves the color and beauty of the piece, which by the way has a small amount of spalting.
side and end shots of a piece that cut off of a large turning block that was sold to me as "redheart curly maple" (whatever that is --- presumably red maple) --- the end shot has a blue tinge that is not present in the wood, but otherwise the colors are accurate. This IS technincally "curly" but the amount of curl is pretty minor.
end grain closeup of the piece directly above
curly veneer, color is accurate.
curly veneer --- there is a little too much yellow/red in these pics; as always, I have a hard time getting yellow shades to come out correctly in the pics.
flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
silver maple with curly figure (Acer dasycarpum) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views. A. dasycarpum is, as nearly as I can tell, a rather obscure species of maple and NOT likely to be what you get when you buy curly maple in North America.
flat cut, quartersawn, and end grain
flat cut planks
flat cut planks --- I bought both of these and there is not a hint of yellow or orange in them; both are a nice clean white but the false colors are common for images of this species found on the web.
the web pic of a plank that some of my own samples are taken from. This is an unusually accurate pic relative to what one normally finds on the internet
web pic of a couple of planks that some of my own samples are taken from. This is a totally inaccurate pic in terms of color --- there is not a hint of pink in the actual wood
curly maple slabs --- you have to go to the second enlargement to really see the curl
bowl blank and turning stock
fiddleback curly turning blocks all from the same vendor
quartersawn curly veneer
veneer, all from the same vendor
veneer sheet closeups with both levels of enlargement available --- these are from the same vendor as the set directly above
fiddleback veneer, all from the same vendor
fiddleback veneer sheet closeups with both levels of enlargement available --- these are from the same vendor as the set directly above
curly crotch section (both sides shown)
curly maple guitar sets
fiddleback maple guitar sets
bread cutting board
curly maple bowl
bowls by Bryan Nelson (NelsonWood). Bryan fine-polishes his bowls with 1200 or even higher grit sandpaper while they are spinning at high speed on the lathe and then finishes them there with a friction polish of his own devising, thus achieving a shine and color vibrancy that is beautiful to behold. The first of these is bigleaf maple and the other two are hard maple
curly maple guitar back and side, made by Gregory Pizzeck who has this as "tiger maple" and who tells me that he thinks "tiger maple" is NOT the same as curly maple. My own research indicates pretty conclusively that this is not correct. "Tiger" is just a designation used for either hard maple or red maple that has a curly figure. So "flame", "tiger", and "curly" all mean exactly the same thing when used with maple.
spalted curly maple guitar --- the spalting doesn't show up completley clearly until the 2nd enlargement.
curly maple dulcimer sides and back photographed at a state fair.