The Lure of Figured Wood Furniture
Tiger maple tables, Birdseye maple furniture, Curly cherry, Flame birch. Guest contributor Bob Kloes of Kloes Custom Furniture shares with us what it is that makes the furniture made from these woods so unique.
Most all the furniture I have built and sold in the last 10 years has been made from one or more of these woods. Some of the best and most valued pieces in America’s history have been made from these woods. When built and finished correctly, the furniture made from these woods are like nothing else on Earth. The figure of the wood adds depth and makes it appear like you are looking into a deep pool of water. You want to touch it.
The cost and labor in making furniture from these can be much more than the same piece made in plain cherry or maple. Just finding these special woods takes lots of time and effort. I can buy 1000’s of feet of curly maple, but to make the best piece I need to pick and choose my material slowly. I have to match grain and color and even the shape of the figure from board to board. I can spend several days laying pieces out so everything comes together just right.
I want wide pieces for the sides and tops, including tabletops. But, when using wide boards, you have to make sure they are properly dried and finished, so the boards stay flat and won’t crack. And working figured lumber entails the use of special cutters that must always have the sharpest possible edge. Everything involved in working and finishing these woods takes time and expertise to get the best out of the lumber’s figure. But the finished product is something that no store or large furniture factory can give you; beautiful, hand built, custom furniture for a lifetime of enjoyment.