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Curly vs. tiger maple

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Forum topic by yellowtruck75 posted 05-30-2011 12:27 AM 2951 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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yellowtruck75

464 posts in 2529 days


05-30-2011 12:27 AM

Topic tags/keywords: maple

I have been told that the difference between curly and tiger maple is that one is hard maple and one is soft maple, is this true? I have also been told that soft maple is really only by name being that it is still harder than most hard woods. I am looking to use curly maple for a rocking chair but want to make sure it is hard enough for the curves and angles that I need. What is the closest hard wood to soft maple?

Thanks
YT75


5 replies so far

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McKinneyMike

80 posts in 2122 days


#1 posted 05-30-2011 12:35 AM

Curly is tiger maple, they are one in the same. You can break down curly figure into a few distinct types:

These types of curly figure can happen in all species of Maples including Red Maple, Silver Maple, Western Big Leaf Maple or Hard Maple
1) Tiger or flame Maple is a type of curl where the figure undulates from side to side like the dance of a flame or the stripes of a tiger.

2) Fiddleback figure is extremely tightly spaced and very uniform in its look. This was the preferred figure type of the violin makers, hence its name “fiddleback”. It makes its impact on smaller items like the back of a violin. It losses some of its impact on larger areas where flame or regular culry figure is larger in size and fits the larger scales projects better. Fiddleback is the rarest of the curly figures too. I have seen a limited amount of it in my lifetime, vs tiger or the more common curly figured Maples.

3) Simple “curly figure” will be uniform in its look, without the undulating appearance of tiger or flame Maple. More widely spaced than the fiddleback and larger in size.

Hope that helps :)

-- McKinney Hardwood Lumber --Specializing in exotic and figured hardwood lumber http://www.mckinneyhardwoods.com -McKinney, TX

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yellowtruck75

464 posts in 2529 days


#2 posted 05-30-2011 12:37 AM

Mike thanks for the help

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McKinneyMike

80 posts in 2122 days


#3 posted 05-30-2011 12:40 AM

As far as the hardness of soft Maple it is close to the same hardness of Cherry, but not quite that hard. I have never built a rocking chair, so I have no real input as to whether it would be hard enough for the rockers. I think that it would be fine as I have seen lesser woods and they have held up well over the years on rocking chairs.

-- McKinney Hardwood Lumber --Specializing in exotic and figured hardwood lumber http://www.mckinneyhardwoods.com -McKinney, TX

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oblowme

91 posts in 2025 days


#4 posted 06-02-2011 02:51 PM

SM is in the ‘Gum’ (Sweet Gum, Black Gum, Tupelo etc) as to it’s hardness. For rockers I’d not hesitate to use it, there are alot of them made of White Pine sooo….
The biggest concern for rockers is the grain pattern; if striaght grained the piece will cross the vertical grain at least once and will probable fail. Look for wood with grain that sweeps approximately the same radius as your rocker.

-- A TOOL JUNKIE- There, I just admited it to myself...

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dbray45

3178 posts in 2238 days


#5 posted 06-02-2011 03:08 PM

For the rocker rails, if you have a grain that interlocks like elm, this will give extra strength. Making the bottom of the rails a laminated piece that wraps the length will give you seriously better strength as well.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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