Silver maple--Comments please

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Forum topic by Cantputjamontoast posted 01-08-2009 03:50 AM 15610 views 1 time favorited 59 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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416 posts in 4000 days

01-08-2009 03:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: maple milling question shaker

I have the opportunity to have two silver maple milled up for about 50 cents a bf.

Trees are about 25-30” breast hgt diam.

For those that work soft maples is it worth the trouble of sawing moving and drying it.

They are yard trees and I have to replace band saw blades at 35 dollars each.

Please if you have first hand experience with doing this sort of thing please comment. The trees are kind of sentimental to me. My wife will calf when she sees me loading into the garage to dry for three years.

Can you make shaker round boxes from silver maple?

I’ll at least get some blocks to turn from it.

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

59 replies so far

View Dusty56's profile


11854 posts in 4256 days

#1 posted 01-08-2009 04:28 AM

I’ve yet to hear of anyone boasting that there project was made from Silver Maple or seen it advertised for sale. You could always Google it and see if it is used for anything specific or just gets sent to the landfill . I don’t even know if it is a Hard or a Soft Maple to be honest. Possibly jocks Treebones or Barlow can answer your questions .

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View shimmy's profile


131 posts in 4054 days

#2 posted 01-08-2009 04:59 AM

I couldn’t say as to making shaker boxes from Silver Maple. I’m pretty sure it’s a soft maple and it does spalt very quickly. For that reason alone it can make for an interesting project. Definitely keep some to turn. If you look at my projects you’ll see a goblet made from it.

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4762 days

#3 posted 01-08-2009 05:16 AM

I believe that the soft maple I used for flooring at my summer cottage is silver maple. It looks nice , but was not as hard as “hard” maple. (duh) I was happy with the result and at .50 per foot, I’d probably be inclined to use it.

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 4372 days

#4 posted 01-08-2009 05:22 AM

You will not get much usable yield from a tree 25-30 inches in diameter. Silver maple is not as hard as other maple tree species but is a nice wood to turn. You might consider having it quartersawn. Next question is how you plan on drying it. At .50 cents a board foot you can’t go wrong. With yard trees not much danger of something like a nail, old fence post or other metal object lurking somewhere inside to destroy a saw blade. I would go for it and get it milled.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

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Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4473 days

#5 posted 01-08-2009 05:29 AM

Silver maple gets a bad rap because it is compared to “hard maple” (sugar maple) is not at all soft. Sawn fresh and dried right it makes perfectly good lumber. Go for it ! $.50 a bft for milling and $35 a blade is kinda a gig IMO,shop around unless this sawyer has a VERY good rep.

View JJackson's profile


104 posts in 4650 days

#6 posted 01-08-2009 12:35 PM

I agree with Daren. .50 a bf is not a bad deal for sawing but I guess I have a real problem with $35 for hitting metal. Being a Woodmizer owner I know that blades from Woodmizer are $25 each and to simply resharpen a blade is $7. Hitting a piece of metal does not make the blade junk. I would also look around for another sawyer. IMHO.

-- Jeff, Indiana

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 4000 days

#7 posted 01-08-2009 01:19 PM

Thank you ALL for pausing to write.

DARREN-I really like your site and the economic discussion about wood. I am going to check with a farmer friend about cutting fees.

What constitutes dried right?

Many places on the web have used this wood.

I used to climb these trees, hang bird houses from them and when home on leave slept under them LIKE AN OL’ DOG while the sun beat down on me.

I am an old sap(no pun ) when it comes to sentimental things.

thank you also JJ

Nice goblet shim.

My wallet will be prepared for a nail or two. Because I drove them in the tree and then left my father’s hammer laying in the yard, I was 8. The bird feeder was made of a 2×8 base, ply wood and had a top and one side. My skills have not progressed much. I sure was proud when those birds used it. The ships carpenter for USS Constitiution could not have been more proud.

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4473 days

#8 posted 01-08-2009 02:56 PM

When I said dried right I was referring to the way maple can “sticker stain” during air drying. Just make sure to use dry stickers and have the pile where it can get good air flow through the stack. A couple nails, while a bummer, are not a deal breaker in a log that size…just get a metal detector and dig them out.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4867 days

#9 posted 01-08-2009 04:11 PM

I like silver maple for woodturning, & other projects.

I had a tree cut down in my yard & saved some of it.

I cut up some into blocks, & wished I had kept more.

Click for details

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Boardman's profile


157 posts in 4329 days

#10 posted 01-08-2009 04:12 PM

It’s a “soft” maple, but as someone said, that a relative term. It’s more likely to show figure such as curl. It won’t be as uniformly white as hard maple – more likely to have subtle color tones – which can be nice looking. I’m guessing that why you don’t see much of it as lumber is that it branches out into several “trunks” pretty low to the ground.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 4304 days

#11 posted 01-08-2009 05:52 PM

I sometimes use silver maple instead of poplar on projects. It is much harder and durable and machines very well. It is very stable if dried correctly. It is fairly inexpensive in my area. I have some great curly pieces also that are always set aside for other works. I also don’t think you will get much yield from a small diameter tree. You would need to get an estimate as to how much you will realistically yield from these trees.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

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dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4882 days

#12 posted 01-08-2009 06:06 PM

I love soft maple.

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4473 days

#13 posted 01-08-2009 06:50 PM

A 25” X 8’ log will yield 220 bft, 30” X 8’ has 338 bft (Doyle scale)

View jcecil's profile


40 posts in 4218 days

#14 posted 01-08-2009 07:47 PM

I agree with most that the pricing seems right maybe minus the blade fee.

But I would suggest a bigger issue to me and that is you say the trees are sentimental and for that very reason I would say go for it. If you build anything out of it I think you will enjoy that piece more than you can imagine for that very reason. Every time you go buy the piece you will remember what it was that meant something about those trees.

My parents had a stump (only about 15” diam and 24” long) leftover from a silver maple that had sat for some time I cut it on the bandsaw and it was spalted like you wouldn’t believe. I build my mother a nice country box out of it that she had wanted and she loves the fact that it came from that tree that they unfortunately had to cut down.

PS. the rest of it is sitting waiting for the perfect time to be used haha.

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 4000 days

#15 posted 01-09-2009 03:15 AM

I measured the trees today and got 32” and 34” using a rachet strap and measing it with a tape 103” and 108” using “Pi’ to get diam at chest height.

The 32” does not have a limb for about 14’

What is the average waste factor 25 to 30 %????

Farmer freind said he could mill for about .40 /bf but will have a tough time with trees over 28” diam.

How hard would it be to split these things?

Thank you for all of your help.

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

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