Fast forward about 8 months, regrettably that is how long I waited to clean out the curlies again, I put the maple back on the lathe. This time for some reason it cut like butter and the final shape took form in no time at all. By this time the ebonizing made the voids darker along with making the natural rim look like bark again. It did take a little glue to hold it all together in the end, but I am pleased with the outcome. It is about 12" in diameter and 5" at it highest.
I only wish I had taken pictures throughout the process. Why it didn't end up in the fireplace I will never know, but I'm glad it didn't.
Lesson learn, patience can lead to good outcomes.