What makes wood "curly"?

I know what curly figure looks like. I'm asking what puts it there.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
: I know what curly figure looks like. I'm asking what puts it there.
Some curly and figured wood is due to compression at a branch or crotch point. But as far as I know (and I may just be ignorant) no one knows what's responsible for the regular curly figure that occurs in maples, sycamore, redwood, and other species throughout much of the trunk.
    -- Andy Barss
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andrew Barss wrote:

Thanks, Andy. It's a relief to know I'm not the only one who doesn't know. :-)
My question arises from a discussion of pool cues on another forum. One guy posted this picture:
http://www.palmercollector.com/Model_9_Forearms_op_600x800.jpg
The cue on the far right sure looks like curly maple to me. But he says,
"the cue and shaft on the right, is an old one with extreme compression rings. It was cut down by (cuemaker) Palmer from one full length cue. Compression rings are not figure - they are marks in the wood from compression caused by supporting a lot of weight above it."
This smells fertile to me. :-) "Compression rings" don't look like curl, and compression-stressed wood is the last kind that a cuemaker would choose.
http://www.woodzone.com/articles/reaction_wood.htm
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well, you're both a bit off. Wood from trees which are leaning or swooping will show this figure inside the sweep. As a turner I look for it. Open-grown trees with spreading branches can get a lot of stress on _the trunk_ and develop the same. Cause and effect confirmed by many an hour preparing wood for my winter stove.
Straight-as-a-string maple in the woods will show something similar, so it's difficult to assume causality there. Branches are something else, though the heart in leaners is generally off-center after a few years as well.
Point is, it's a randomization of the fibers, which means you won't get the classic movement when drying the wood or when it readsorbs. Mostly you'll get straight as a string from close-grown curly or reaction wood after drying stresses are compensated. That's the key. Drying stress versus seasonal dimensional change. Different animals.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George wrote:

I remain skeptical for several reasons
1) All the through and through curly maple boards I have ever seen were equally curly on the left and right edges. If the tree were only curly on one side of the trunk, some of those boards would only be curly on one edge.
2) The grain in curly maple does not grow straight up and down the trunk but grows in a spiral around the trunk so that it is skewed at about a 60 degree angle to the length of the board (or at about a 30 degree angle to the curls). It doesn't look that way, it looks like, aside from the curls, the grain runs the same as in plainly figured wood. But The skew may be confirmed by bending a curly maple board until it breaks. It will break along the true grain boundaries at the angles indicated. Yes, I've done that, though not on purpose. Now I know better than to make a frame saw with curly maple uprights. The grain can't spiral around the trunk if the wood is only curly on one side of the trunk.
3) W.H. Brown in "The Conversion and Seasoning of Wood" says that both curly and bird's eye figure is caused by irritation of the cambrium by fungus. It is common in stumps and crotches because the outer bark there is exposed to more moisture.
--

FF


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Probably because you chose to disregard the subsequent paragraphs in the post which mirror your "rebuttal." The one paragraph you challenge is easily demonstrated, but you have to be willing to learn from observation and experimentation. You seem more interested in trying to darken the bark a bit higher up your chosen tree.
BTW, as the too often accidental splitter of curly maple for the woodpile, the plane of cleavage is longitudinal, the resultant looks like my gravel road after it's washboarded. Same for cherry, though elm, birch and aspen are more prone to doing what you describe in paragraph two. Some pieces of birch make more than a quarter turn in a 20" piece of firewood. The figure associated with spiral grain is most often referred to as "flame," a pattern it resembles. I'm sure you know something about flame.
On the off chance you'd like to learn, http://www.ag.auburn.edu/aaes/communications/bulletins/figureinwood/index.html is a good place.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George wrote:

I don't understand what you mean by 'mirror'
Here are the two paragraphs you wrote which I deleted for brevity:
Straight-as-a-string maple in the woods will show something similar, so it's difficult to assume causality there. Branches are something else, though the heart in leaners is generally off-center after a few years as well.
Point is, it's a randomization of the fibers, which means you won't get the classic movement when drying the wood or when it readsorbs. Mostly you'll get straight as a string from close-grown curly or reaction wood after drying stresses are compensated. That's the key. Drying stress versus seasonal dimensional change. Different animals.
I don't see how one could conclude that I ignored them. It looks to me as if in your second paragraph you expressed some doubt of your own regarding the conclusions you stated in the first.
Your third paragraph doesn't even discuss the cause of curly figure at all.
What was your reason for deleting everything but one sentence of what I wrote, before posting your accusation (below)?

"Washboarded" is a good description of the broken parts of my bowsaw.

There's a whole newsgroup dedicated to that particular figure: alt.flame.

Thanks. Brown's book is good too.
--

FF


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Deleted where it said that straight maple showed curly figure without the other causes. Seems like a convenience, what?
But, as noted, curly figure, especially from straight trees, is _not_ reaction wood, has a stability all its own because of the randomness or the fibers. It really can't organize a warp without meeting its own resistance. Makes it suitable and stable for use as pool cues, as well as handsome. You just have to get past drying defect.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George wrote:

Well the page you cited discounts fungus as a cause, along with pretty much every other cause posited in this thread. '
I'm surprised that you find curly maple that splits along a longitudinal plane. Mine was hard maple, is yours a left coast variety?
--

FF


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
nice sticks... I have an old palmer as well. it's 40 years old, and beats the new stuff silly. \
shelly
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10 Jan 2007 19:24:54 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"
The people that sell sharpening stones spray some secret formula on the trees.
-Leuf
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Leuf wrote:

Thanks. That's more entertaining than, "I dunno". :-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What makes wood curly? Being sold at Home Depot.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

But only after 24 hours.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hair curlers! ..................could not resist.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Groan....

Try harder, please.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
fwiw, cues often have wood that look like that
-
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.