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View Full Version : Figured vs Curly vs Flamed



ukenubie
01-18-2017, 06:03 AM
Figured vs Curly vs Flamed... Are these terms referring to the same thing, or are they different? I've always thought flame refers to the 3D-looking, tiger stripey effect. Is it possible to have wood that is flamed and straight grain? Or is flame only present in curly woods?

mzuch
01-18-2017, 08:01 AM
Curly and flame are the same thing. They refer to the visible presence of medullary rays, aka the tiger stripey effect, and typically appears only in quartersawn lumber. Figured is something different. It describes an interesting pattern to the wood, usually along the grain lines and often involving different colors. Figured wood is most often flatsawn, as in Birdseye Maple, but quartersawn koa and other woods can also be highly figured.

mainger
01-18-2017, 01:12 PM
I think that walnut (especially claro) makes it easy to differentiate between curl and figure.

This piece has good curl (wave, flame), but not so much figure.
http://www.antlersexpress.com/s/cc_images/cache_941893905.jpg

These pieces have stronger figure, but not so much curl.
http://turkishwalnut.net/9498set_Exotic_Burl_Walnut_blanks.jpg

Finally, this one has both good figure AND curl :)
http://hunskihardwoods.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/1d.jpg

Dan Gleibitz
01-18-2017, 01:21 PM
Figure is any kind of coloring/pattern/variation in the wood. Plain, lightly figured, highly figured are descriptions of the amount or intensity.

Curly figure is one type of figuring. It looks curly. :p A tight even curl is sometimes called fiddleback. And sometimes it's just called curly. Flamed is just another way of describing this type of figure.

Other types of figure include bird's eye, ambrosia, spalting, bear claw, tiger, etc.

kohanmike
01-18-2017, 08:38 PM
This custom uke I just received by Bruce Wei in Vietnam is an example of figured and curly. I chose the solid spalted mango top and binding, he chose the solid curly mango body.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Spalted done montage.jpg

mainger
01-19-2017, 03:32 AM
This custom uke I just received by Bruce Wei in Vietnam is an example of figured and curly. I chose the solid spalted mango top and binding, he chose the solid curly mango body.

Interested to hear what your assessment of his ukes is. Tone? Finish? They seem like a lot of uke for the money...

kohanmike
01-19-2017, 05:35 PM
Finish is excellent, satin and smooth as can be. It's built very well and the tone is full and present. I wasn't sure having no top sound hole would project enough, but it very much does. I just brought it to my luthier to put on a new nut with wider string spacing and lower the action. I absolutely love the figured top of spalted mango, and the complimenting curly mango body, but what really sets it off is the spalted mango binding. I think it's a great example of what the OP was asking.