Yesterday I made a fun trip to the lumber mill to see what I could find. As usual, I came back with some interesting pieces. From left to right, curly hard maple, 1-inch thick; 2 boards of flame yellow birch, 1-inch thick; curly soft(?) maple, 3-inches thick; curly soft maple, 1.5-inches; and curly hard maple, 2-inches.
I've never worked with yellow birch before but have notice that it can have some spectacular figure in it so I thought I would try it out. It is a little darker than maple, making it a little problematic for painting colors on it but I've decided to experiment with bleaching wood this time. Most of the maple that I picked up this time is very dark as well so I'll experiment bleaching it as well. I'm wondering how the bleach will affect the figure in the wood so will play with it on some small pieces first.
The 3-inch thick board has some spectacular figure in it but was extremely pricey ($12/board-ft). I had driven away from the lumber mill and made it about 4 miles down the road before I turned back to get it. I didn't want to buy it unless I had a specific plan and it took me that long to decide to make two sets of book-matched wedges - that is, I'll cut it in half so I have two sections about 4 feet long each, then resaw each section on an angle so that each half will be about 3 inches thick on one end and 0.5 inches on the other. Not sure what I'll do with the rest of the lumber yet but it was such a good deal I wasn't too worried about having a plan. Prices looked to be down around 20% from my last visit.