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Mulberry Burr versus "Stained Burr Maple" - The Debate Continues!

As a result of our double page spread in the 2006 Journal, we received the following letter from Christopher Claxton Stevens of Norman Adams, the renowned London antique dealers:

Dear Peter

Thank you for your kindness in sending me a copy of the WH 2006 Journal – and hearty congratulations on getting your Royal Patronage. This is a great coup.

So the Mulberry debate is not yet dead and buried? The points that surprise me are:

1. “The paucity of Maples with burr figuration”: I cannot comment on the quality of Maple veneers, but I do encounter all over London as I travel, Maples, Sycamores and Plane Trees with wonderful looking burr growths.There is one particular type which tends to be a small tree, very prone to large burrs, and I have wondered if this might be the Field Maple ?

2. The abiding problem for me is a documentary one. Maple veneer is recorded on a number of occasions in the early 18th century period, as being used but I am not aware of a single reference to Mulberry, let alone burr Mulberry, on furniture. Do let me know if any other useful comments are forthcoming. It would be good to find some more damaged antiques to analyse their timber.

With every good wish

Mulberry burr

Mulberry burr

Field Maple burr

Field Maple burr

Convinced that Field Maples (Acer campestre) never grow to huge girths (like Plane Trees) Peter set about acquiring burry Field Maple specimens during the past year. These were sent to WH member Richard Chapman – the talented wood turner – and he has produced some magnificent vessels (below) which are now about to go on display at none other than Norman Adams (!) in their 2007 special exhibition of modern craftsmen’s work.

The results have encouraged Peter because the burr figuration does not appear to be anything like as bold or grainy as the Burr Mulberry (below) which he has repeatedly encountered on early 18th century antique pieces made by Coxed & Woster.

But Christopher Claxton Stevens contends that these are merely isolated instances and that we must obtain more examples of Field Maple before he will be convinced...

Final conundrum:

The Norway Maple does not appear to throw out burr figuration – perhaps members can comment ?

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