Figured Lumber

Figured? What’s figured lumber? Figured is a term used to describe lumber that has a special unique or unusual appearance. It is usually present because of unique grain distortions, innate properties in the lumber or certain sawing patterns that were utilized when cutting the boards. 

A lot of hardwoods have figure and for many different reasons. In North American Hardwoods figure is probably most commonly found in maple and is typically sold as what is called Birdseye Maple. However, hardwood lumber professionals would also consider lumber with characteristics commonly referred to as bear scratches, ribbon curl, dimple, fiddleback, spalted and tiger stripe also lumber with figure.

figured-genuine-mahogany-1066Various types of figure also show up in tropical hardwoods, generally it is a wavy texture across the face of the wood that provides an appearance of an uneven surface. That effect is due to reflected light on the uneven arrangement of the fibers. The causes of this can be many, and the effects in the lumber can be quite extraordinary and therefore greatly add to the value of the lumber as it is very unique.

In some cases it is possible to identify figured logs by the bark on it, in other cases it shows up randomly. Even with logs that show great promise of figure in the bark the results can be disappointing when the lumber is cut, there is just no guarantee. Logs that are thought to have figure in them are often sold as such, and often to veneer manufacturers and therefore makes it even more rare to see this in rough lumber.

Figured veneer is probably the most common use. But after that figured tropical lumber would be sought after for musical instruments and other specialty products. International lumber buyers often travel far to find these rare woods because the right figure can add a tremendous amount of added value to a finished product.

Baillie Lumber is constantly searching for unique figured tropical lumber.  When we find special figured lumber supplies we are quick to secure them. We know it can take quite some time to accumulate enough volumes to develop a suitable amount to develop a load of lumber around.  In most cases we will use the figured stock to build a full load around and combine it with other species. 

Today we have two specific figured items in inventory that customers could consider which include 6,000 bf of Sapele and 5,500 bf of Genuine Mahogany available from our Cove City, North Carolina facility.  If these or other tropical hardwood species would be of value to you let us know!

Jesper Bach
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