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Tiger Maple is not a thing

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Forum topic by David Milton posted 05-12-2021 12:58 AM 750 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David Milton

43 posts in 2825 days


05-12-2021 12:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood not tiger maple curly wood facts tip

almost all wood gets what is called, “curly”. maple is one of the most popular of the curly woods. but ive heard a lot of ppl talk about Tiger Maple, and they talk about it like they think it is a type of maple tree. white maple, yellow maple, red maple, etcetera can all become curly, and there is no such thing as a tree called tiger maple. when a tree’s outer sap wood becomes extra thick during a longer than usual warm season, the sap wood becomes to heavy to support itself, and ends up folding on itself. this is what creates curly maple, and any other type of curly wood. a couple of the most beautiful curly woods ive ever seen, are Hawaiian Koa, California Redwood, and Bluegum Eucalyptus. but maple is just much more common, cheap, and widely available.

-- David Milton colville washington [email protected]


22 replies so far

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

3395 posts in 4646 days


#1 posted 05-12-2021 01:20 AM

That is very true.

But Birdseye Maple, now that is a real species with scientific name “Acer avesoculus” :)

-- "Join the chorus if you can. It'll make of you an honest man." - I. Anderson

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SMP

4153 posts in 1024 days


#2 posted 05-12-2021 01:27 AM

There is also no such thing as a “plywood” tree.

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

1243 posts in 505 days


#3 posted 05-12-2021 01:52 AM


That is very true.

But Birdseye Maple, now that is a real species with scientific name “Acer avesoculus” :)

- ChuckV


Birdseye figure most commonly appears in hard maple. Quilt or blister (majority flatsawn) is much more common with bigleaf maple. Curly, flame or tiger appears in both.

-- Darrel

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Woodmaster1

1755 posts in 3706 days


#4 posted 05-12-2021 01:59 AM

I use curly or tiger maple interchangeably. Tiger maple just nickname when the curl is heavy at least that’s how I view it.

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

516 posts in 3454 days


#5 posted 05-12-2021 02:24 AM

I think this is pretty common knowledge to a woodworker. Just that the term “tiger” maple sounds more exotic.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6632 posts in 3428 days


#6 posted 05-12-2021 02:32 AM

I just can’t imagine how you thought others would think there is a Tiger Maple tree. I’ve on these forums for over 20 years (all the way back to Badger Pond) and I never once got that impressing from anyone.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Bob Gnann's profile

Bob Gnann

99 posts in 791 days


#7 posted 05-12-2021 02:33 AM

Yeah in the world of musical instruments you hear curly, tiger, flamed, big leaf, quilted, birdseye, when describing maple. And bear claw with spruce.
Not sure how much it makes an instrument sound better than, say straight grain, but boy that stuff sure is pretty!

-- Bob Gnann. "Don't cloud the issue with facts.". Groucho Marx

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Foghorn

1243 posts in 505 days


#8 posted 05-12-2021 02:01 PM



Yeah in the world of musical instruments you hear curly, tiger, flamed, big leaf, quilted, birdseye, when describing maple. And bear claw with spruce.
Not sure how much it makes an instrument sound better than, say straight grain, but boy that stuff sure is pretty!

- Bob Gnann


Big Leaf is actually a tree species. Acer macrophyllum.

-- Darrel

View DevinT's profile

DevinT

1168 posts in 85 days


#9 posted 05-12-2021 03:46 PM

There is however something called “Tiger Wood” (Gonçalo Alves)

-- Devin, SF, CA

View MPython's profile

MPython

366 posts in 931 days


#10 posted 05-12-2021 05:58 PM

Like others, I never thought “tiger” maple was a specific type of maple tree, like red, sugar or big leaf. Instead I always thought of “tiger” maple as a specific type of curly maple that exhibits semi parallel stripes or figure that is perpendicular to the grain of the board, sometimes called “fiddleback” maple. Other species can exhibit “tiger” figure as I have described it; oak for example sometimes shows a “tiger” stripe figure. Other varieties of curly maple show random dramatic figure or curl, but not the parallel stripes that denote “tiger” maple. I’m no authority, this is just my understanding gleaned from, 60+ years of working American hardwoods.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

8009 posts in 1693 days


#11 posted 05-12-2021 07:54 PM

I believe that most of the people using the words Curly, Fiddleback, Tiger, and adding Maple know it is that board, and that most of the trees themselves are either Hard or Soft Maple. Until this post I had never had the thought that their use was misunderstood. I always thought they knew it was just an attribute to that specific board. Guess not huh?

-- Think safe, be safe

View Lenny's profile

Lenny

1704 posts in 4646 days


#12 posted 05-13-2021 02:11 AM

David Milton, to confirm that what you say is true, allow me to share a story. I recently visited a lumber yard about 2 hours away in another state. I only go when I have a specific need. I asked a worker where I might find the tiger maple. He went into a scientific lecture about the difference between tiger maple and curly maple, expressing that people mistakenly think they are the same thing. He went on to say they carry curly maple, not tiger maple, which is a separate tree altogether and that he has never seen the stuff! He is SO wrong and is passing along incorrect information to the customers.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View darthford's profile

darthford

738 posts in 3043 days


#13 posted 05-13-2021 03:39 AM

Curly (straight) Maple

Tiger (wavy) Maple

View SMP's profile

SMP

4153 posts in 1024 days


#14 posted 05-13-2021 03:42 AM


I believe that most of the people using the words Curly, Fiddleback, Tiger, and adding Maple know it is that board, and that most of the trees themselves are either Hard or Soft Maple. Until this post I had never had the thought that their use was misunderstood. I always thought they knew it was just an attribute to that specific board. Guess not huh?

- therealSteveN

I always thought the pre finished boards came from Acer Prefinishus a close relative of the Acer Butcherblockus

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ArmyOfNobunaga

18 posts in 37 days


#15 posted 05-13-2021 03:49 AM

Guys, is there a maple with sort of a fuzzy inner bark? I’ve been trying to ID a beam for months. The wood is almost pink or rose colored.

It is heavy and cuts like maple. The grain seems like maple. But the fuzzy fur stuff is throwing me. The hundreds of other maple beams I’ve encountered are not like this.

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