View Full Version : Curls, Quillts, and Figures

03-18-2009, 04:22 PM
Curly, Quilted, Figured it looks great, but how. I've hard that curly comes from higher up in the tree, but what about the others. The higher up the curlier?

03-18-2009, 05:21 PM
As far as maple goes, I know that there has been a great amount of research done to determine the cause of curly or quilted grain. Despite all the research, it still remains much of a mystery. I believe the current hypothesis is that the genetic characteristics of individual trees have a role in producing the different grain patterns. So it remains a delightful mystery of nature!

I don't know about koa or other tropical tree species though.

Uke Republic
03-18-2009, 06:21 PM
Keebler Elfs do it all.SHHHH...

Ahnko Honu
03-18-2009, 06:46 PM
The grain's always curlier the closer to the crotch of the tree you get.
Just remember curly, and crotch. ;)

03-18-2009, 06:51 PM

03-18-2009, 07:01 PM
It's theorized that curliness can be a inheritable trait in koa. There's different kinds of curl. The large, flame type curl comes from the crotch of big branches. Fiddleback or tiger striping will normally come from large branches or the trunk. I would assume that the weight of the tree is what causes the curliness. Although, I have seen very small branches with tight curl in them. I believe UH has done a few studies on the characteristics of koa and genetic inheritance.

Koa can also come in a quilted pattern, but unlike maple, the figure is shown when quarter sawn. I have a few really nice pieces that I'm saving for that special build. I have no idea what causes that kind of figuring, but I certainly can appreciate it.

Ahnko Honu
03-19-2009, 12:21 PM
A straight tree will have straight grain, and crooked tree will have crooked grain. A tree that is exposed to allot of wind so constantly blending and straightening or in other words under stress will have more figure especially around stress areas (like a stressed out person has more wrinkles ;)). Also if you spot a tree with big bulges or burls especially near the roots the wood from this area will have "bird's-eye" grain, very pretty. I turn wood bowls as a hobby and collect my wood myself (half the fun) and look for these features in a tree when possible.

03-19-2009, 05:28 PM
Birds-eye maple develops from abnormal bud development beneath the bark along the trunk of the tree. Spalted maple occurs in the beginning stages of decomposition through fungi growth in the wood.