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Wood figure:

The appearance, or figure, of wood is unique to each tree. Certain species will have a typical pattern that the wood will display, such as curly maple, but each tree will present different patterns depending on its life span or how it was cut. Patterns most commonly found include bird’s eye, blister, burl, curl, dimple, fiddleback, flame, ghost, quilted, and spalted.

Red Oak Table Top

This table is a great example of the dark sapwood and coarse grain typically found in red oak. The figuring here follows the curved pattern of the grain leading into the intricate and dramatic crotch figure, giving this top a dynamic design.

bookmatch figure in oak

A close-up on the joining of a bookmatch pair. We do our best to match up the grain and figure to make a symmetrical design throughout the top. The knot in the middle creates a focal point pulling your attention up along the figure to the end of the top.

m1 6b

A good example of crotch figure is shown in this top. This desirable figure pattern occurs where a branch is formed from a trunk, or where two branches are knit together. Crotch wood can be difficult to harvest properly as it tends to dry at a different rate than the heartwood in the kiln. This process makes quality crotch figuring difficult to find and a real asset to live edge table design.

splated beech

Would you believe this dark, dramatic figure is the result of decay? This natural decay pattern begins at the site of an injury and grows along the trees and logs. Spalting is most commonly found in maple, birch, and beech trees. As the decay spreads through the natural grain, it enhances the look of the slab by providing great contrast and intrigue.


The crack in this pine wood top illustrates the power of nature and in its struggle against machines. The build-up of tension in the flattening and drying process cause the split, which is then finished, so there is no fear of splinters or snags, and can be filled with clear or colored resin for an uninterrupted, smooth surface.


This feathered central figure on this butternut top pulls in focus to the middle of the slab and creates a nice, delicate balance throughout the wood.

white oak top

The beauty of this top is enhanced by the two cracks running down the middle, adding depth of color and intrigue. Structural supports are added with butterfly joints to prevent further cracking.

white oak top

This is the type of spalting that all woodworkers long to find. While spalting usually occurs along the grain, it will occasionally spread throughout the wood, creating a spiderweb-like pattern.