Sometimes it’s the flaws that make something beautiful. A perfect example: Spalted Maple.
The name does not refer to a specific species of maple, but rather any type of maple that has been attacked by fungus and is in the process of decay. When harvested and dried at the correct time, it yields beautiful patterns of discoloration and streaking, while retaining enough hardness and integrity to be used in woodcraft, including furniture, carvings, and guitar building.
The species of Spalted Maple we use at Warmoth is typically Acer macrophyllum, or Pacific Maple. Like all Spalted Maple it is soft, punky, and quite finicky. For this reason we use it only for bookmatched lam-tops on flat-top bodies. Carved Tops and Drop Tops are generally avoided. Because it cannot be radiused along the edge with consistent results, Spalted Maple lam-tops also always receive binding.
Spalted Maple is very difficult to finish. It soaks up a lot of finish, making it a more complex job than the typical do-it-yourselfer can tackle. When done properly, however, the results are stunning, particularly in Clear or Tobacco Burst. Tastes change, but Spalted Maple continues to be highly prized for its beautiful and unique imperfections.