I start with rough sawn 5/4 curly maple.
I cut this into 24" long pieces and run 1 face over my old jointer to get a somewhat flat face.. I then take it and plane to 1 and 3/16" thick. I then joint 1 edge square. Take to the table saw and rip to rough width. I then joint 1 edge again. The rip to final width, in this case 4 and 3/4" wide.
Now the fun part starts. Can you feel the grain in a fresh planed board and tell what direction it goes? I have to, no choice. I first mark to top face of the board in chalk. I then look at and feel the edges to see which way the grain runs. With figured wood , its like cat fur. Its not easy, but you best figure it out. When I run this through the molder, I can't lose it with chips being ripped out and grain torn. Makes expensive charcoal. [That's another story for another time. Yes I do make charcoal out of scrap wood] It not a perfect method, but it helps if I can tell which way the grain runs , so I can see where the piece will feed the best through the molder. I mark an arrow showing me the way I want it to run. Then I have to figure out which way the molding will go through the molder. It all takes time.
Once that is all done and marked on the board, I lay out the molding on the end of a piece, so I can cut rabbets down the piece to make it easier to run the piece through the molder without taking so much meat out in 2 cuts. Yes this molding is done in 2 cuts in figured wood with a 1984 Williams and Hussey molder. Pretty darn good machine.
Here is what the rabbets look like in the boards.
Next , you set up the molder and check your depth of cut. You need 3/8" on either side of the molding for the feed rollers to grab on to. You can see the heartwood in some of the pieces above. I can still get good stock out of all that, as long as the heartwood does not show up in the front side. It does not bother me if there is heartwood in the inside of the box. Plus the figure deeper in the log is always better.
Next I start running the pieces through. Here is the first pass. I need to get a dust hood for this machine. It is blowing out lots of shavings and pieces. If you stand in the way , its like getting peppered with buckshot.
This is what they look like after the first pass.
Pretty nice looking grain.