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What causes the flame in maple?

Mars Hall

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Perhaps this has been discussed before but when it comes down to it, it's a major reason I was attracted to these instruments. Something about the look, the rippling waves of tiger striping across the hue of changing colors that just resonated in my being. I've heard it said that it's a "disease" in the wood?
 

latestarter

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I thought it was the compression in the trunk from the huge weight of the tree above it (so the flame is often in lower areas). Over time the grain kinda buckles...we have a tree at work where you can see the outside has this going on in the lower trunk area.
 
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Mars Hall

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I thought it was the compression in the truck from the huge weight of the tree above it (so the flame is often in lower areas). Over time the grain kinda buckles...we have a tree at work where you can see the outside has this going on in the lower trunk area.

I do remember hearing this as well. Just trying to separate fact from fiction but this makes sense to me.
 

brandtkronholm

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There’s no scientific consensus on the cause of tiger/flamed maple.

It’s weird.
 

Big Al

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Burl is found in the lower section of trees as a result of weight/stress. Figure can occur over the whole log or a small portion and often looks completely different depending upon cut bias and type, ie; quarterawn, flatsawn etc.. and is not a disease, that would be Spalted, which is a fungal decomp aid.

Lots of wood can have figure, not just maple.
 

garywright

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Burl is found in the lower section of trees as a result of weight/stress. Figure can occur over the whole log or a small portion and often looks completely different depending upon cut bias and type, ie; quarterawn, flatsawn etc.. and is not a disease, that would be Spalted, which is a fungal decomp aid.

Lots of wood can have figure, not just maple.

w/flamed mahogany being one of the coolest
 

brandtkronholm

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Burl is found in the lower section of trees as a result of weight/stress. Figure can occur over the whole log or a small portion and often looks completely different depending upon cut bias and type, ie; quarterawn, flatsawn etc.. and is not a disease, that would be Spalted, which is a fungal decomp aid.

Lots of wood can have figure, not just maple.

Burl is different than tiger or flamed maple, it really is from a disease.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burl

The cause of flamed/figured/tiger maple remains largely unexplained. There may be a genetic consideration, but again, the studies are inconclusive. (Speaking as a research university professor with a Ph.D. with graduate students and many peer-reviewed publications, I find this inexcusable and embarrassing that this should still be a mystery.)

Our own LPF link: https://www.lespaulforum.com/slubarticle/maple/figure.html

An excerpt from the above link: "Even though it has been studied for a long time, very little is known about why figure develops in wood. There are a lot of contradictory theories, and the ultimate causes are largely unknown. Ecological factors have been studied to see if they have an affect on figure, but there are no studies that have shown a definitive correlation of factors like geographic location, climate, soil, bark, foliage, rate of growth, etc. on figure. Most of the best figured wood develops in well formed, straight, healthy trees. All figured wood types occur in almost every part of the world where figure is recognized, although certain areas appear to produce more figured trees than other areas."

And as a scientist I am further embarrassed that I've used Wikipedia to support my thesis here...the shame...

The Wikipedia entry on flame maple is particularly interesting because it uses electric guitars to illustrate several different varieties of figured maple. Good luck differentiating among Flame, Tiger Stripe, Fiddle Back and Ribbon! They look the same to me.

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flame_maple
 

Big Al

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w/flamed mahogany being one of the coolest

I had some outrageously beautiful fiddleback veneer which I used on a salvaged 54 Jr and for the back of "BOB" a complete rebuild of a trashed mid 50's Jr with flame maple top, dual humbuckers, tobacky w/ Bigsby B5. Still have 'em.
 

brandtkronholm

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SpencerD

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I had some outrageously beautiful fiddleback veneer which I used on a salvaged 54 Jr and for the back of "BOB" a complete rebuild of a trashed mid 50's Jr with flame maple top, dual humbuckers, tobacky w/ Bigsby B5. Still have 'em.


Holy shit dude! :yah:dude::peace2

Yer killing me over here! Bigsby too? ---- That's freaking outstanding. Nice.

EDIT --- By trade I am a woodworker. The vast majority of what we do is maple,I've been at this job for 37 years and can state as an absolute fact.... EVERY load on every truck is different. Completely different. It's still quite amazing to me after all these years. The maple you got yesterday ain't the maple you're getting today.
 
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erscorcho

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Holy shit dude! :yah:dude::peace2

Yer killing me over here! Bigsby too? ---- That's freaking outstanding. Nice.

EDIT --- By trade I am a woodworker. The vast majority of what we do is maple,I've been at this job for 37 years and can state as an absolute fact.... EVERY load on every truck is different. Completely different. It's still quite amazing to me after all these years. The maple you got yesterday ain't the maple you're getting today.
https://youtu.be/pfRdur8GLBM i knew it😂 🖕🏽
 

Ed Driscoll

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Apr 24, 2002
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It's very scientifical, being based on the player himself. The hotter the licks he plays, the more flame is produced in the maple.
smiley_emoticon.gif
 

jrgtr42

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Mar 24, 2005
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I once read that the flame came from the movement of the wood as the tree swayed in the breeze. Don't know how that could be right with the way it's pretty even for a ways, sometimes, then other ways.
I got a load of firewood last year for my fireplace and mixed in was a half a dozen or so pieces of falmed maple. I'm keeping those mostly aside, though I don't know what I'm going to do with most of them - they're too small to get a guitar's worth out of, without cutting and piecing them all together.
I did make one into a handle for an old kayak I picked up, the bow loop was broken, so I get the old line out of there, threaded in some new, and I carved this piece into a handle. came out pretty nice, if I do say so...
If I can figure it out, I'll post up a pic, when I get a chance.
 

renderit

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Jan 19, 2009
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It is caused by time-walkers that are tree talkers as well. It is the movement of the tree over time as it rotates to listen as the plans are being made by pacing time-walkers as they state their case. If they (the trees) become agitated they can rotate too much causing slight tearing which causes the "mineral streaks" which are really scars. The tree has to be of the mind to become agitated, hence it is usually not the ones who have become more dormant and satisfied with just sleeping. They are just like humans. Some are quick to anger, others not so much.
 

Ed Driscoll

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Apr 24, 2002
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It is caused by time-walkers that are tree talkers as well. It is the movement of the tree over time as it rotates to listen as the plans are being made by pacing time-walkers as they state their case. If they (the trees) become agitated they can rotate too much causing slight tearing which causes the "mineral streaks" which are really scars. The tree has to be of the mind to become agitated, hence it is usually not the ones who have become more dormant and satisfied with just sleeping. They are just like humans. Some are quick to anger, others not so much.

Why talk to the trees when you can talk to the wind? (Warning: Jurassic prog folk-rock ahead):

 
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