Curley Maple....

chris pearson

Michigan Canoe Nut
Found some nice curly maple, flat sawn and grain appears straight. The question is, how strong will it be? How much inpact does the figured wood effect strength?
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It affects it tremendously, depending on the amount and direction of figure. Not a big concern for decks but sure can be for thwarts and seats. Curly much less so than Birdseye. As Rob said, whatcha using it for?
By the way, Shaw and Tenney makes paddles outta soft curly and I asked if they have had any returned broken, the answer was no. Still, I don't want to make a paddle out of it unless I'm pretty sure it isn't going to fail. Perhaps I should build a bridge out of it first!
in the paddle making forum you knuckleheads? IT'S FOR A PADDLE!!!!!:cool:

We have a paddle making forum? huh, who knew. I've broken 2 birdseye paddles, but the figure is terrible (but pretty). Still havent broken my Shaw and Tenney racine pattern, its curly. You'll be fine...
Curly maple is traditionally used for muzzle-loading gun stocks. It's beautiful but because of the wavy grain it has a tendency to chip out small pieces when you are carving. Just use very sharp tools and proceed slowly. It will make a very pretty paddle.

Jim C.
If you're using curly, you wont have much trouble. I was referring mostly to birds eye, which can have large areas where there is no discernible grain pattern, or it switches back. Shove some through a planer for some late night fun... and keep those tools shaving sharp to minimize tearout, as has been discussed. If you hit some of the muzzle loading sites you can find some great tricks for finishing it and really bringing out its beauty. They can really look stunning.


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I have carved multiple paddles in soft curly maple, with no breaking or splitting.

I've only every carved one bird's-eye paddle, and it was a bi*tch. Cross grain with a belt sander helps get rid of the torn out eyes.
Hi Chris,

I have not used curly maple but I did make a paddle from curly Douglas Fir. Plenty strong but a bugger to shape. Belt sanders, large and small, bladed tools VERY SHARP used with a slicing action and lots of hand sanding with a block. After the teak oil dries buff it with a clean buffing wheel with no compound. It looks like you can reach into the grain.