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Curly Maple (Tiger Maple)
Grades & Properties of Wood Flooring —
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Other Common Names and Related Species:
- Curly Hard Maple
- Flame Maple
- Tiger Maple
- Tiger Stripe
Popular Grades of Curly Maple Wood Flooring:
The United States and Canada.
Janka Hardness: 1450
Curly Maple is 6% harder than White Oak.
Grades of Curly Maple Flooring Available:
Curly Maple is a type of wood from the sugar maple in which the growth of the wood fibers is distorted in an undulating chatoyant (or “cat’s eye”) pattern, producing wavy lines known as “flames.” This feature is often mistakenly said to be part of the grain of the wood, but it is more accurately called “figure,” as the distortion is perpendicular to the grain direction. When Maple lumber is graded, the majority of the brown heartwood and the white sapwood are separated. Small amounts of Curly Maple are naturally found and separated out for its premium price.
This page describes the type of flooring with with curly figuring only, as regular Maple is treated like a separate species. Please refer to the Curly Maple flooring properties page for more information on other Maple grades. Curley Maple is a highly sought-after Maple product.
Flooring is normally made from one grade lower of lumber. Thus, #1 Common lumber will make Select and Better flooring and so on. Lumber is graded worst side, while flooring is graded best side of the board. The lumber is defected to yield a higher grade of flooring, except when Clear grade flooring is made.
Select and Better Curly Maple flooring comprises white and pink sapwood. The Maple is less sorted for color than it is for its curly figure but is usually fairly consistent in color. No knots or mineral streaks are allowed in this grade.
#1 Common Curly Maple flooring contains some character, such as dime-sized knots, as well as mineral streaks.
#2 Common Curly Maple flooring includes all the character found in the wood. Large knots, white and pink sapwood, dark heartwood, worm holes, and other surface defects are included in this grade. Other common names are Rustic Curly Maple, Mill Run Curly Maple, and Tavern and Cabin Grade Curly Maple.