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Flamed Maple

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From the linked article:

"Flaming" is an ancient technique using a candle flame, waving it under, and depositing soot on woodwork to imitate the natural figure that occurs in maple. In musical instruments the technique is used only for the VERY cheapest ones, and these days is most likely done by silk-screen printing or with an airbrush. Maple treated in this way can look very much like the real thing from over 10 feet away, but lacks the iridescent sheen of real wavy grain, and usually looks pretty bad up close.

When a guitar is described as having a "flamed" or "quilted" maple top, those adjectives are referring to the natural figure of wavy grain that occurs in wood.

If you're still interested in learning the technique, you might go to the library and research the topic of "trompe l'oi" painting, or faux wood grain painting.

Real figuring is created by deformed growth of the wood which results in curved grain instead of normal straight grain.

If you want to see the difference, go to your local Guitar Center (or whichever), look at a PRS or something with a nice figured top and then compare it to something like a 'quilt-top' OLP. There's no comparison.

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Fair enough. I read the info in the link. You can make a faux finish that somewhat resembles figured Maple. I can't tell you how to do it. I think it would save you money if you bought a veneer, and I would bet it would look much better. A one piece Flamed Maple veneer runs about $6. Peace, and good luck with your project.


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You know, I had a similar question...how do you turn ebony black? I was at the local lumberyard the other day and the manager sold me a 2x4 of this really FINE piece of ebony, but it's white like pine! He swore up and down that it was really rare, grown up in Washington or something. So I paid him $200 for this board, I thought it was reasonable 'cause it was so rare and stuff.

Welcome to the forum, malebolgia. I'm just being silly with you. :D There ARE ways to flame any piece of wood, but the best way is to either buy a piece of real flamed maple or a flame maple veneer. Fender made a series of Foto-Flame guitars about 10 years ago that didn't look too bad if you didn't look close enough, but they certainly weren't worth the money they were asking.

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