Tiger Maple: The Domestic Exotic Wood

By Holly Rennels · October 22, 2015

Tiger Maple: The Domestic Exotic Wood

Amish Furniture in Dramatic Tiger Maple

As Amish furniture designs continue to embrace the best of trends and timeless design, it is amazing how wood species rise and fall in popularity. At the turn of the 20th century, tiger maple was considered quite rare and exotic and was sought after for furniture making. Later, the wood would be considered "dated" and it was often looked over as Shaker, Mission, and Craftsman furnishings preferred either the smoothness of Brown Maple for painting or the quartersawn shimmer and flake of white oak. Countryside is happy to report the return of tiger maple in Modern solid wood furniture.

Flaming Maple Bedroom

Each piece of our Yorkshire Bedroom Set features a dark stained Brown Maple frame with a bright, tiger maple accent. Flaming maple is just one of the nicknames of this wood species. Other names include curly maple, ripple maple, and striped maple, but they are all referring to the same pattern in the wood grain. Striped maple, however, is also a sub-species of Maple, so be careful using that term as it can be easily confused. At Countryside, Tiger Maple refers to the Brown Maple tree and the tiger stripe pattern.

Natural Tiger Maple Office

Although all the pieces in the Waterbury Office Set feature Tiger Maple with our Au Naturel finish, the office chair is a particularly good example of this beautifully varied wood. Unlike Cherry, Maple and Brown Maple will not redden or darken significantly over time. You can trust, therefore, that your Amish made tiger maple furniture will look the same for generations.

Period Perfect Curly Maple Dining

Our Early American Philadelphia Handmade China Hutch is period perfect. This means that the details of this piece reflect the technology of the 19th century. Wooden slides, bracket feet, and, yes, Tiger Maple are incorporated to ensure this piece is as vintage and "antique" as new construction can be. It is not required, of course, that any of our furniture be built in tiger maple, that is merely an option we offer in our customization menu.

Transitional Style, Tiger Maple Wood

Shaker legs, Traditional hardware, Modern black paint, and a primitive Tiger Maple top...our Yorkshire Writing Desk has it all. In this piece, the character of the veriegated maple top is emphasized by a smooth, contrasting base. Featuring the tiger maple in this way makes a modern statement and eliminates the temptation to overuse the striped maple heartwood. 

No matter where you use tiger maple, it can be at once a trendy statement and a throwback. All species of Maple, hard and soft, domestic and imported, brown and white, can produce a tiger/flamed/curly variation. In most cases, the most pronounced pattern will be in the heartwood, though the precise reason is still unknown.

Birdseye maple and wormy maple are not the same as the varied maple described here, by the way. Fiddleback maple is the same, but not because the pattern looks like a fiddle. Historically, this wood was sought for making violins both due to its beauty and the acoustic value. Consider this retro wood for your fine Amish furniture.