big leaf maple wood

BIG LEAF MAPLE WOOD

Big Leaf Maple grows in the Pacific Northwest.  In this region it is fairly common, but figure mutations of curl, burl and quilt are quite rare.  Only one tree out of hundreds will be figured, but the figure is often exceptional.  My favorite is the quilt, then the burl.  Big Leaf Maple with curl is beautiful but not better than Tiger Soft Maple or Curly Hard Maple.  Quilted Maple is a world class figured hardwood with big bubbles of compression leaving one to wonder how figure such as this can come out of one tree.  It is treasured by musical instrument makers especially for solid body electric guitars and acoustic six strings.  The logs often have only small sections of figure and it takes an experienced sawyer to cut the log to reveal the figure.  This is referred to as “chasing the figure”.

  • Prized for fine veneers
  • Used for musical instruments
  • Can be quilted, burled and curly
  • Trees can grow quite large
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Characteristics of Big Leaf Maple

Origin of Wood Type Western USA / Canada, California through British Columbia
Botanical Name Acer macrophyllum
Specific Gravity 0.54
Avg. Weight Per BF 3.25 lb/bf
Color Range Creamy White (Sap) – Yellow – Orange (Heart)
Rarity / Availability Readily Available
Typical Avg. Width 4″ to 18″ – some times up to 60″ wide
Typical Avg. Length 4′ to 12′ – some times up to 16′
Avg. Waste Factor 30% to 50%
Wood Uses Fine Furniture, Musical Instruments (primarily electric guitars), Cabinetry, Architectural Millwork, Veneer, Wood Turning, and many other uses
Lumber Grades Flitch, Figured (Musical Instrument Grade), Figured (Heavy), Figured (Medium), Veneer
Other Trade Names Quilted Maple, Broad Leaf Maple, Pacific Maple, Oregon Maple
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