Spalted Maple is normally a hard maple but can also be seen in soft maple. The figure in Spalted Maple is produced by decay. Basically, the tree or log starts to decay and during that process, a fungus attacks the wood. This fungus gives spalted maple the distinct black lines of figure that woodworkers love. The trick with spalted maple is to try and get as much spalting figure has possible, but if the log rots too much it can become punky and soft.
Spalted Maple is very difficult to source, and the figure in this material can vary quite a bit. Punky, spots, split, fissures, etc. are part of working with Spalted Maple and are not considered defects in this material. Spalted Maple resembles the color in Ambrosia Maple, making it a good alternative to Spalted Maple.