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New England Audio Center

The New England Audio Center - shown in bird's eye maple

about bird's eye

In Brief

While we've made a conscious decision to avoid rain forest exotics in favor of sustainable materials from North America, bird's eye maple is an exotic we can offer and you can feel good about owning.

The reason? Bird's eye maple doesn't come from special trees. Rather, it comes from the same maple trees that supply regular maple. But maple wood heavily figured with bird's eye grain occurs unpredictably and in only a very small percentage of cases. No one really knows what causes it, and no one can tell which trees will have it until the logs are milled.


Of course, this wood's feature characteristic is the tiny circular swirl for which it's named. It also tends to run high in curl, color variation, and mineral streaks (see “Special Features” below). In many cases it is streaked with darker tones similar to those found in birch. However it comes, we think the effects are truly spectacular.

Your bird's eye furniture will arrive very light and over time will oxidize to a mellow honey color. As the furniture oxidizes the figure in the grain will grow in richness and depth. Exposure to sunlight will accelerate the speed and intensify the of degree of oxidation.

Special Features

Bird's eye sometimes contains a feature referred to as a mineral streak.

Bird's eye runs high in a naturally occurring grain feature know to woodworkers as curl. Curl results from an abrupt twist or… well… curl in the expected pattern of the wood's grain. Often curl creates an almost iridescent effect in the wood.


Because of all the grain anomalies in bird's eye, staining is most unpredictable and we strongly advise against it. Proceed at your own risk.