Maple identification

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Forum topic by ToddinTN posted 06-22-2018 12:28 AM 742 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 742 days

06-22-2018 12:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question maple

I’m trying to identify what kind of maple this board is from. Tree was grown in middle TN. Any help would be appreciated.

7 replies so far

View JCamp's profile


1179 posts in 1318 days

#1 posted 06-22-2018 02:09 AM

I don’t know what it is but it’s gorgeous

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Aj2's profile


3068 posts in 2566 days

#2 posted 06-22-2018 03:16 AM

Around here we call Maple hard or soft maple. Unless it’s from the Pacific Northwest then it’s pacific maple that’s usually in big slabs with lots of knots and cracks.
So why not call it Tennessee maple.?

-- Aj

View Underdog's profile


1508 posts in 2803 days

#3 posted 06-22-2018 10:19 AM

Looks like it’s near a fork in the tree, hence the nice figuring. Sometimes I’ve heard it called “flame”.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3244 days

#4 posted 06-22-2018 11:34 AM

It is most likely sugar maple or red maple. Sugar maple is a hard maple and red maple is a soft maple, although the wood in “soft” maple is not soft at all. Has the same density and hardness as black walnut.

There is a way to tell, but it requires a little familiarity with wood structure. Hard maples have medullary rays in two sizes, one larger and one smaller. You look on the end grain with a hand lens or magnifying glass to see the rays. Soft maple has only a single more uniform sized medullary ray.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View HokieKen's profile


13993 posts in 1906 days

#5 posted 06-22-2018 02:15 PM

If it’s “soft” maple, you can usually dent the surface with a fingernail pressed in firmly. “Hard” maple you can’t. Just rule of thumb and being hard or soft still doesn’t tell you the whole story. Around here (VA), if it’s hard, it’s almost certainly Sugar Maple aka Rock Maple. Normally, curly figure is from soft Maples but your piece appears to be a crotch section so that’s not really a good indicator in this case.

Either way, it’s a lovely piece!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View msinc's profile


567 posts in 1271 days

#6 posted 06-23-2018 02:14 AM

We only have red maple around here. The outer edges, I guess the sapwood, is hard to tell from many other maples just from looking at it if it has been sawed off of the heartwood. Red maple has a darker heartwood that is just about half the thickness of the trunk. A board that is full width off the tree is easy to tell if it is red because of the darker center, but again, they get huge around here {probably everywhere} and the outer wood is lighter and thick enough that if sawed right looks like the above. It also gets a lot of figure and curl or fire, usually in the bigger trees. As far as birdseye goes I have heard it both ways, that only sugar maple has the birdseye, but also that red maple can have birdseye too. I have never personally seen birdseye in red maple.
One thing to be mindful of, there are many hybrid or off the wall ornamental maple trees that were planted in urban/suburban areas for aesthetics, it could be from any of a variety of trees that are maple, but not necessarily “typical” wild or native maple. Same with oak…I just milled what appeared to be a red oak based on the bark. It was absolutely not white oak like bark, but the wood is the prettiest white oak I have seen and the quarter sawn boards show way longer and larger than normal white strings in the grain. When I asked where the guy got the tree he said, “it was in my yard…my dad planted it 50 years ago”.....who can say what it is?? I sure wish I had more!!!!

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2535 days

#7 posted 06-23-2018 01:22 PM

Tiger maple:


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