Which Way to Rip 12/4 Maple?

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Forum topic by HorizontalMike posted 02-29-2012 12:11 AM 2110 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2937 days

02-29-2012 12:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: curly maple maple jelly cupboard cupboard

I have started an other project and am going to use some of the 12/4 Maple I scored last month to build a Country Style Jelly Cupboard. I am using rough Maple lumber ~7in wide X 12/4 X 12ft. My question deals with the grain of this Soft Maple. It is flat sawn, however, if I were to rip planks 12/4 wide X 12ft then I start to get Quarter sawn grain and some curly texture is peaking through.

Should I rip to get Quarter sawn graining or just go with the flat sawn planks?

FWIW, the sides of the Jelly Cupboard are just over 12 1/4in so I either butt join 2-wide or butt join 3 or 4-wide maple planks to get the correct width for the side panels.

Just how well do you think this curling will “pop” if I rip to get Quarter sawn grain? How best to finish to get it to “pop”?


-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

8 replies so far

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2422 days

#1 posted 02-29-2012 12:42 AM

Based on your pictures you have some good curling figure on at least two faces already. Based on this I would cut parallel to these faces. To get the grain to pop in curly maple you have to use a dye for the best results. I sand to 180 grit then then use Moser’s Medium Walnut water soluable dye (powder) to get the color I want. I mix the dye using two cups of water to 3/4 teaspoons of dye powder. Bartley Furniture Kits sells this dye and is what they use on their maple finishes. After the dye is dry, lightly sand with a 320 or 400 grit Random Orbit Sander and follow up with a good coat of linseed oil to pop the grain even more in curly maple. After at lease 24 hours follow up with a wash coat of shellac. Let this dry then put at least three coats of polyurethane on it. After these coats dry rub down with 0000 steel wool and buff out with a paste furniture wax. I have just finished a set of curly maple cabinets with excellent results

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2937 days

#2 posted 02-29-2012 12:51 AM

Thanks Roger. How do you deal with obvious color differences between the logs? Notice the one on the left is much browner than the others. I have a total of 200BF of this stuff and this project calls for less than 50BF, so I can get a little more picky if I need to, but don’t want to make TOO MANY random cuts in error, if you know what I mean… ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3671 days

#3 posted 02-29-2012 01:18 AM

If you have the machinery to do it you could make 1/4” veneers,
give or take. Such thick plates can be worked much more
like solid wood. Of course you could go thinner too.

Out where I’m at 12/4 is an uncommon dimension and the board
footage costs more per bf.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2937 days

#4 posted 02-29-2012 03:10 AM

Yeah, I got lucky and paid just $2BF from a guy going out of business and retiring. If this were 8/4 I would not even be thinking about ripping it this way, but this sure has my mind racing. I am almost wondering if I should do something more fancy with this than this Jelly Cupboard. I know I have more left over after this project, but is this a mismatch, Curly Maple and simple Country Style?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Danpaddles's profile


573 posts in 2335 days

#5 posted 02-29-2012 03:22 AM

You might have a point there, Mike. That Jelly cupboard looks like it was designed for pine. How about stepping up to a china hutch or something? I’m no expert on furniture design, and you may be good enough to improve that cupboard design. But – Ya I think maybe you should up the ante. Maybe, try a hall table, or a big clock.

I scored some curly maple last year, but sold some of it it, I can use the money for my old stand by, red oak. With a little left over for some new lathe tooling. But I am not always sure of my abilities.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2937 days

#6 posted 02-29-2012 03:41 AM

The “big clock” is actually #3 on my list after:

#1 – Jelly Cupboard, #2 – short padded bench or blanket chest, #3 tall grandfather’s clock.

At this point I am thinking that about the only thing I can do (have already ordered the hardware) is to skip using the tins and use regular glass panes plus maybe a bit of quarter-round to accent the very top of the unit.

Don’t really like raised panels, and all our other stuff is Mission/Arts&crafts style anyways. Our dining room table is an 1846-56 drop-leaf cherry with turn of the century bentwood side chairs. So glass panels might work, and if not, they will be easy to replace/upgrade/down-grade.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View WDHLT15's profile


1747 posts in 2499 days

#7 posted 02-29-2012 03:55 AM

I think that the curly figure will be more pronounced in the flat sawn plane of the board versus the quarter sawn plane. That is some really nice wood for a very nice price! Your project will look great. I am looking forward to seeing the picture!

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2937 days

#8 posted 02-29-2012 02:26 PM

OK tree-hugger ;-) (albeit with machinery) WDHLT15,
You tweaked my interest. BTW, I do really like how some of this flat sawn grain looks and how it might closer match the Country Style plans I am following.

Would you happen to have any links to images of the curly figure popping in flat sawn Maple?

FWIW, I am now thinking/considering flat-sawn on the sides and quarter-sawn for all front pieces and door. I have already decided to put that darker piece back into storage and have found two other 12 footers that are nice and blond to match my first. Luckily, that means only one unnecessary cut thus far 8-).

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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