Fruit of the Lathe

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Curly Maple bowls


Curly maple is, quite simply, eye candy.

In direct sunlight, it shimmers with the look of satin pleats ruffling in a breeze. As you move it, the light and dark bands shift around. The effect is called chatoyance, and it is mesmerizing.

Curly maple bowl
Small curly maple bowl

Above and below: bowl made of Curly Maple. 7" diameter, 2.75" deep.

There are several names for maple that exhibits chatoyance, sometimes it depends on the pattern it displays. Quilted maple has the very distinctive look of a quilt with well-stuffed pockets; when it has stripes, it sometimes goes under the names tiger maple, ripple maple, or fiddleback maple (a nod to one of the traditional uses for this wood). If the stripes are broader and spaced further apart, it might be called flame maple.

The curl shouldn't be confused with grain (the annual growth rings that can be counted up to determine the age of a tree), usually chatoyance stripes are oriented parallel to the ground (as opposed to up and down the tree trunk).

I have no idea what causes it -- but I'm more than happy to work with it and enjoy the pleasure of seeing this beauty revealed as I turn away the outer layers of wood.

Above and below: bowl made of Curly Maple.

About 6" diameter, 2" deep.

Small curly maple bowl
Curly maple bowl
Curly maple bowl

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