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I recently acquired these maple rounds from a tree service I work with.



I'm a turner and I'd like to cut these up for bowl blanks. I've cut up maple logs before (though nothing nearly this big) and I've never seen that super dark, nearly black stuff in the middle. It doesn't appear to be rotted in any way, it's just dark in color.

My question is this: Is that heartwood, pith, or both? If so, can I use any of that part, or is that going to be totally unstable?
 

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The pith is only the very center of the tree, less than a half an inch in diameter. So the answer is that the dark stuff is mostly heartwood and a very small amount of pith. You can definitely use it but you're going to want to split each piece in half, which won't leave much to work with. You'll end up with very deep and narrow bowls with steep sides.
 

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Mold caused by sapstreak? I think it's just a surface mold caused after cutting and drying. I don't know if the black will run through the log, but if it has sapstreak then there might be grain discoloration. I dunno for sure. Just something we talked about in a college course once.
 

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Not sure what kinds of maple you had before or what this is, but sugar maple generally has very dark heartwood, seems pretty normal to me. It's why maple boards (at least high grade ones) are all sapwood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You can definitely use it but you re going to want to split each piece in half, which won t leave much to work with. You ll end up with very deep and narrow bowls with steep sides.
Related question: My usual method of splitting (admittedly much smaller) logs is this:



That way I get two bowl blanks, two quarter-sawn pieces and the pith. (Yay, firewood!) It seems like this might not be the best way to approach something this large. What would you do instead?
 

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It is heartwood. Probably soft maple, probably red maple. The heartwood figure can be dramatic. Here is a pic of some maple boards with the dark heartwood. Looks like black flame.

Wood Flooring Plank Wood stain Hardwood
 

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oooo.. That's a some nice dark maple there, Danny!
 
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