Figure is the surface effect of grain and color
patterns produced by the natural patterns of
growth or biological "defects" in the tree. Not
all species produce figured wood, and the
effects vary from log to log. Logs with strong,
consistent figure often price higher. Some, like
burls or bird's eye, are rare and are cut from a
small part of the log which increases cost.
A small, tight cross marking mottle, similar in
appearance to a bee's wing. It occurs most often
in Satinwood and also occasionally
in Eucalyptus and Mahogany.
Bird's Eye is created by a depression in the trunk that
distorts succeeding growth rings. This figure of small
"eye" patterns occurs in a small percentage of trees.
It is found most often in northern maples and is
always rotary cut.
This figure appears as short, straight raised sections.
Often described differently based on their shape and
size: if oval they are called quilt figure, if
longer, fiddleback, and if shorter, pomelle. Blister
figure is the result of rotary cutting across an uneven
contour of growth rings.
Broken Fiddleback is a fiddle type figure that does
not cross the whole leaf – uniform in its appearance
giving a broken figure affect.
Broken Stripe figuring appears as a stripe running
down under the surface and then out again, in a
more or less "broken" pattern. It develops only
in quarter-cut veneer, most commonly in the end
wood of a flitch.
Burl appears as a close pattern of many small "eyes"
surrounded by wildly distorted grain. It's the result of
a wart-like growth on Walnut, Maple, Mappa,
or Redwood trees, which are rotary cut to produce
veneer. Burl leaves are generally smaller than other
Cluster figure is scattered clusters of burl
intermingled with a "muscle" figure surrounding the
clusters. Cluster figure is produced by halfround
Crotch figuring is cut from the juncture of a tree's
trunk and main branches. It has a wide range of
appearance, including flame, plume, rooster tail,
feather, or burning bush. Leaves are generally
smaller. This figure is most common
in Walnut and Mahogany.
Curly figure appears as an undulating wave pattern
produced when contortions in the grain reflect light
differently. Many species develop a curly figure,
but Maple is the most common.
Fiddleback refers to a tight, fairly uniform, roll
appearance across the grain. While other species
produce fiddleback, it's most common
in Maple, Mahogany, and Anegreand is named for
the use of fiddleback maple in violin production.
This figure only appears in species that have a very
heavy medullary ray growth—Oak, Lacewood,
and Sycamore, for example—and is the result of
slicing close to parallel with the medullary ray.
Mottle is a wrinkled, blotch marking across the grain
that is produced when wavy grain combines with a
spiral. Broad cross markings produce a block or
checkerboard pattern called block mottle. A small,
fine, cross marking produces bee's-wing mottle. The
figure is common in Anegre, Makore, and Sapele,
and may also occur in Mahogany, Koa, Bubinga,
Peanut Shell occurs when quilted or blistered figured
woods are rotary cut and produce a random, wild
grain pattern. The figure appears bumpy and pitted,
but is in fact flat. Tamo and Bubinga are the most
common examples of this figure.
Pecky refers to elongated character markings caused
by localized decay or infection of the growth rings, or
as a result of localized injury (including bird pecks).
They’re most evident when veneer is rotary cut
following the growth rings and look somewhat like a
sparse bird’s eye figure.
Plain Stripe refers to a straight, uniform, stripy effect
with very little distortion. It's the result of quarter
slicing veneer that has a porous structure running
parallel with the grain.
Pommele is a small blister figure appearing as tiny
apples dappled across the surface of the veneer—or
like rain on a puddle. Its name comes from the
French word "pomme" for "apple."
Quilted figure is a larger version of pommele or blister
in which the blister is elongated and crowded, giving
it a softly raised 3D effect. It is common
in Maple, Mahogany, Moabi, and Sapele.
Ribbon Stripe appears as a slightly twisted ribbon—
something between a broken stripe and a plain stripe
—and is found in some quarter-cut veneers.
In this “broken stripe” figure, the twist of the grain is
all in one direction, creating the appearance of a
Rustic veneer refers to the appearance of natural
marks and irregularities in the wood that are the
result of a tree’s specie, growth pattern, and unique
Vintage veneers are sliced from the reclaimed handhewn
beams of old barns, farmhouses and other
structures. This rustic looking veneer is intended for
use in random matched sequences.
Wormy marks are numerous elongated "spots"
interspersed where the wood has been eaten away
by boring insects (generally beetles). Sometimes the
hole is filled in by natural processes, leaving
elongated, worm-shaped discolored areas. In many
trees, wormholes are more likely in the sapwood than
in the heartwood.