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Making Big Leaf Maple Pop

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Forum topic by cdarney posted 01-20-2013 11:22 PM 1430 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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cdarney

94 posts in 2001 days


01-20-2013 11:22 PM

I have very nice piece of Big leaf maple that I’m working into a project. Just throwing a little alcohol on to the wood shows amazing figure. I like to maximize the “pop” in the figure. Does anyone have sugguestions for maximizing the figure in this beautiful piece of wood?

I tried transtint dye with birdseye maple to enhance the figure but I don’t have much “spare” wood to work with for testing. I don’t want to darken the maple significantly but would like the maximize the figure.

Thanks…Chuck


9 replies so far

View jumbojack's profile

jumbojack

1413 posts in 1595 days


#1 posted 01-20-2013 11:38 PM

Tung oil will pretty much do what the alcohol did.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View NewEnglandsWoodWorks's profile

NewEnglandsWoodWorks

117 posts in 1572 days


#2 posted 01-20-2013 11:42 PM

Marc Spagnuolo made a video specifically about this. Just search on youtube pop goes the maple…

-- Brett

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

6010 posts in 1769 days


#3 posted 01-21-2013 12:03 AM

It’s hard to beat shellac, particularly finished with a French polish.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View bhog's profile

bhog

2228 posts in 1661 days


#4 posted 01-21-2013 12:09 AM

I really like dying figured big leaf,followed by shellac like shipwright suggested.

There are a couple things in my projects that are big leaf maple, all dyed followed by shellac.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View MonteCristo's profile

MonteCristo

2098 posts in 1159 days


#5 posted 01-21-2013 08:06 PM

If it’s that good, I would skip the dye and use tung oil alone.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Ripthorn's profile

Ripthorn

1146 posts in 1956 days


#6 posted 01-21-2013 08:13 PM

In building my guitars I did quite a bit of testing to find what would best pop the figure while keeping it natural. Oils work well, as does shellac, but the absolute best product I found was actually a can of Krylon crystal clear in satin. It was all of $4 at walmart and beat out my oils and such. This guitar neck was finished that way:

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View cdarney's profile

cdarney

94 posts in 2001 days


#7 posted 04-02-2013 12:35 AM

I ended up sanding the Big Leaf Maple down to 600 grit with Abra. I then used clear Watco Danish oil until the wood stopped taking it – which was quite a bit then sanded it lightly when very dry. When I attached it to the table top I was working on I sanded it the entire top and covered with sanding sealer shellac. The other wood was Cocobolo and it turned the maple a rather unattractive yellow. I sanded everything done to bare wood. After a couple of tries at this I learned NOT to contaminate the maple with the cocobolo! I wanted a harder top since it’s a coffee table so I used Arm-R-Seal on it. Turns out the Arm-R-Seal doesn’t like to dry on Cocobolo even when I used mineral spirits and acetone to clean the Cocobolo first. I cleaned it off and sanded again to wood. I finally brushed on several thick coats of sanding sealer shellac and wet-sanded down to 2000 grit.

Unfortunately the pictures can’t do it justice. The figure and chatoyance of the BL Maple is spectacular.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/82131

Thanks very much for all suggestions.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1505 posts in 1332 days


#8 posted 04-03-2013 06:43 PM

Ripthorn has it right. Water white gloss acrylic lacquer will emphasize the grain just like the alcohol did without adding any color. Also, don’t sand beyond 220.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View cdarney's profile

cdarney

94 posts in 2001 days


#9 posted 04-03-2013 06:53 PM

I worked with several test pieces and found that the BL Maple looked better sanded further than 220. It’s a softer maple I guess. Using Tiger Maple (hard maple) on another project 200 was the max without losing figure. 180 grit was good as well.

I’ll try the acrylic the next time I work with figured maple.

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