Quilted maple (Acer sp.)

Common Name(s): Quilted maple, blistered maple

Botanical Designation: Not a distinct species of maple; considered a growth/grain anomaly. Occurs most often in soft maples, but is also seen much less often in hard maple. The highest grades of quilted figure occur primarily in  bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum).

Distribution: Primarily temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere

Average Dried Weight: 30.2 to 38.0 lbs/ft3 (485 to 610 kg/m3) depending on species

Janka Hardness: 700 to 950 lbf (4,230 N) depending on species

Comments: Quilted maple is so named for its resemblance to patchwork patterns seen on fabric quilts. Much like birdseye maple, the figure on quilted maple becomes most pronounced when the board has been flatsawn, (which is the opposite of curly maple, which is accentuated through quartersawing). Alternate names and sub-categories for this type of figuring include blistered, curly-quilt, sausage-quilt, tubular-quilt, and angel-step.

There are varying grades of quilted maple, based upon the perceived depth of the quilt, as well as the purity of color of the wood itself (with a pure and uniform white being the most valuable). Quilted maple billets are often sold for extremely high prices for use as tops of electric guitars. They are frequently dyed in outlandish colors such as blue, green, or purple to give an “electric” effect to the grain pattern.

Images: Drag the slider up/down to toggle between raw and finished wood. (A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing a veneer sample for this wood figure.)

 

Quilted Maple (dyed blue)
Quilted maple (dyed blue)
Quilted Maple (56" x 6.0")
Quilted maple (56″ x 6.0″)

Identification: Since quilted maple is not a distinct species, the written information and images below are for bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum). See the article on Hardwood Anatomy for definitions of endgrain features.

Bigleaf maple (endgrain 10x)
Bigleaf maple (endgrain 1x)
Bigleaf maple (endgrain 1x)

Porosity: diffuse porous

Arrangement: solitary and radial multiples

Vessels: small to medium; moderately numerous to numerous; heartwood deposits sometimes present

Parenchyma: banded (marginal)

Rays: narrow to medium, normal spacing

Lookalikes/Substitutes: Bigleaf maple is more or less indistinguishable from other soft maples such as red maple (Acer rubrum), however, it can usually be separated from hard maple (A. saccharum) not only on the basis of weight, but also ray width. Bigleaf maple tends to have more uniform medium-width rays, while hard maple has a greater range of wide and narrow rays.

Notes: None.

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MATTHEW HARRY

Here is an engrain photo. There seems to be some pitch streak which can be seen in the engrain and on the face grain. I didn’t think maple had pitch streaks

chris

what kind of wood is this? from a old piano makers wood workbench with wooden vises. looks just like a christenson co. workbench from the late 1800s i believe. it was my grandfathers and i sanded and chemical stripped off the red barn paint to reveal this. Im thinking rock maple or black maple

chris

what is this

chris

also haswhat looks like a birdseye maple?

T leedy

Looks like pine to me. I dont see any signs of it being anything else. Simply looks like old, well worn pine. Cant see what you’re referring to as “birdseye” anywhere. Nor any indications of it being black or rock maple or any species of maple other than the blonde color of the wood. The color is the only part of posted pics that can be used to identify the species. If you want more info, post close up pics of endgrain, and other closeups of the grain. Look for the rays anywhere but in the endgrain specifically. And lastly,… Read more »

Doug

I’m thinking this may be quilted maple, but not sure. Would anyone confirm or identify otherwise?

Chris Goodman Jr.

Goodman Drum Company Quilted Maple solid wood stave snare drum! This drum only has clear coat, no dyeing or staining!

AhhhSleep

How rare is quilted maple? Is the whole tree quilted grain?

MATTHEW HARRY

I just planed a mystery board from Craigslist, the only label on it was “FIG” the guy I got it from thought it was a fig tree but I think this is some kind of quilted maple?

James Brooks

That is fiddle back maple
Probably from the eastern United States

Sara Judy

That is quilted maple, quilt is a figure found only in the west coast maple.

T leedy

Quilted is the name of a type of figure found in lumber. “Quilted” decribes the pattern of figure. Is is NOT only found in Acer Macrophyllum, but can occur in ANY maple species, and MANY other families and species. Furthermore, that figure is just very heavy curl, not an example of quilt figure.

T leedy

The “FIG” written down was very likely an abbreviation of the word “figured”. There is no such thing as a “type” of quilted maple, or any other wood for that matter. The word “quilted” ONLY describes the kind of figure the board displays, and ANY species of tree can end up with it. Yes, there are species that quilting appears in far more often than others, but the quilt figure doesn’t indicate species in any way. And finally, your board is a gorgeous example of very “curly” aka “tiger” or “flame” figure. Unfortunately, it isn’t technically quilted.( The bottom portion… Read more »