: 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
Thanks, Andy. It's a relief to know I'm not the only one who doesn't
My question arises from a discussion of pool cues on another forum. One
guy posted this picture:
The cue on the far right sure looks like curly maple to me. But he
"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
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.
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.
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,
is a good place.
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,
difficult to assume causality there. Branches are something else,
the heart in leaners is generally off-center after a few years as
Point is, it's a randomization of the fibers, which means you won't
classic movement when drying the wood or when it readsorbs. Mostly
get straight as a string from close-grown curly or reaction wood
drying stresses are compensated. That's the key. Drying stress
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:
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.
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
Mine was hard maple, is yours a left coast variety?
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