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how can one tell.......?

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  • how can one tell.......?

    how can one tell if a log will make for good stock? i have an OLD silver maple tree in my back yard that we are getting ready to take down. i found a mill that would mill and kiln dry it for one month for .60 a board foot.

    now maple is a nice wood, i thought it was considered a "hard wood"? one of the tree services we contacted told me that this tree would not make for good stock. it was too old and a "soft" maple! he offered me a few oak logs from his back yard

    is he bs'ing me because he wants the maple? or is this possibly fact? what should i look for to determine if this tree is worth milling or not?

    thanks in advance for the knowledge guys !

  • #2
    some things to consider:
    1. Is the tree dead? If it is, the wood could be softened due to rot.
    2. Is the tree infested with insects? They can eat a tree from the inside out. Look for pinholes or scales in the bark.
    3. Is the tree diseased? There are many diseases that attack maple. (notably leaf anthracnose, Verticillium wilt, and bleeding canker) Check a tree reference book for pictures of symptoms to look for.
    4. Silver maple actually has a nasty odor that doesn't always disappear in the drying process.
    5. Silver maple is a very brittle wood compared to red maple.
    6. Silver maple is very susceptible to flood and storm damage because it's so brittle. It's not unusual for the wood to get water logged and mushy. Look for big gaps in the bark and broken branches where water can penetrate.

    In general, if the tree is not overly damaged, sick, dead or infested, the wood is brittle, not soft.


    • #3
      Just like to add a few points..
      There are indeed two types of Maple ( hard and soft). Hard maple comes from the Sugar and Black Maple and costs about $1.50 / BF more than Soft maple. Here is what one of my suppliers websites says about the two

      Hard Maple

      It is a hard, heavy, strong wood that is extremely durable. It includes Sugar and Black Maple which grow in North-Eastern North America around the Great Lakes, in the St. Lawrence Valley and Northern Appalachain regions. Because of its ability to resist wear it is an exceptional flooring and when used in furniture tends to outlast it's owner. It has no taste which along with it's other properties makes it useful in cutting boards. Birdseye Maple produces a distinct pattern which is largely unexplained. It is the source of Maple Syrup, sap that flows profusely in early Spring.

      Soft Maple

      This wood is slightly softer than Hard Maple. Soft Maple grows along Eastern North America. It has less strength and resistence to wear than does Hard Maple. In South-Eastern North America worms tend to burrow into Maple trees which may or may not affect the commercial applications of the wood. In WHND (worm holes, no defect) grades the worm holes are small and sparse; WHAD (worm holes, a defect) has larger, closer worm holes which reduces it's visual appeal.