My wife wants the tree cut down. It's a small backyard. I like trees, so
not sure what to do. It won't bother me to cut it down, but should I? Since
it's silver maple, measured ~87" around (~7' circle), should I bother to
keep the lumber, have it be made boards? I have nothing to do the mill
work, let alone hiring my friend to cut it down for me. I live in
Milwaukee, WI. I doubt it will have some rotten center, but don't know.
Really, what I want to do is cut the one big branch (far-left) to let more
sun to our plants. I don't think it would look that bad, but that's from my
eye view, other people may see at it differently.
Take your time. You should in no case cut the tree down now, because
now it's full of sap and gives poor wood, birds might nest in it and
other animals inhabit it (which is why it's anyway forbidden to cut
down trees druning spring and summer), so you should wait till
Silver maple is not high value cabinet wood (think soft maple), but a
clever person with a lathe could make nice stuff from that tree.
The nice thing there is that branch wood is not such a huge problem.
Knots, streaks & such are 'character', not flaws. The wood is often
used green/wet, rather than needing to be kilned or air-dry for a year
or three. And the milling is done with a chain saw. Mistakes and/or
offcuts are next year's firewood.
If you don't have a lathe, this is a good excuse. Either to get one and
learn, or to make a friend or three. Turning wood scroungers seldom
work alone. They don't pay cash for wood very often, but often bring
nice examples of their work in appreciation. Sometimes, they will trade
dry, but less valuable for turning wood, to replace your firewood
I don't think that removing that left branch would make for an ugly
tree, but I'm not an arborist.
I think if it is maple at all, it is a fantastic wood. Soft maple is not "soft"
Anyone can make fine furniture out of "soft" ash or "soft" sycamore and "soft"
maple will be harder than either one.
Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
I make stuff from soft maple all of the time. In fact, the bathroom vanity
on my workbench is soft maple. The last nightstands were soft maple, with
But reaction/branch wood is a poor bargain, and I can buy kiln dried s3s
soft maple at the yard, in any quantity I want, for less than $3.50/bf, in
sizes up to 12/4. How much would I want to deal with cutting a yard tree
for cabinet work, if I had to wait 8 months to cut it, and then another
year or two past that before I could consider using it at all?
I'd rather turn it into bowls.
I'm with Patriach. Bowls, bowls, bowls. Hollow vessels, seed pots,
candle sticks, etc.
You can turn maple green as a cantaloupe and do well with it.
Looking at your picture I can see the stress wrinkles... that means
Wood is a precious resource. I second the others that say to move
cautiously and carefully.
After all, you probably won't live long enough to see a newly planted
semi hardwood tree grow that large to replace it.
Not quite. Most commercial "soft" maple is red maple. But Chuck said
specifically that this is a *silver* maple (check title of thread) - which is
softer than any ash, and only slightly harder than sycamore.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Prune off the branch if you need the light, should have done that back in
may, if you can wait do it next spring before it starts to bud.
if you do take the tree down defiantly save the wood, if you can't mill it
put an add in the paper and sell the whole log, I'm sure someone up there
has a mill, or call around to the different mills and see how much they
would charge to mill it for you. it would be a shame to waste it.
if corn oil is made from corn, and olive oil is made from olives, where dose
baby oil come from?
Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) makes "hard maple" wood and the sap
is good for syrup.
Black Maple (Acer nigram) also makes "hard maple" wood and the sap is
also good for syrup.
Sugar maple has harder wood, than black, and I think a higher
sugar content. The wood of either can be called "rock" maple
or "hard rock" maple as well as just "hard" maple.
Red and Silver maple, though the ahve a lower sugar content are
both tapped commercially. The other maples could also be tapped
for syrup, but generally are not.
All maples give sugary sap. Some species "tend" to be better than others,
and some individuals "tend" to be better than others; in terms of either sap
production or sugar content..
I have made syrup from sugar maple, red maple, silver maple, and box elder.
Sugar maple is usually the best, but I had an excellent silver maple.
Once it is boiled, it is all indistinguishable.
There is debate about whether sugar and black maples are different species.
I'm no syrup expert, but my vague understanding was that rock maple
was the one that made the syrup, and red and silver maple aren't
normally used for that. Of course, I could be wrong- I got it from a
field guide for identifing trees, and they didn't go into much detail.
*All* maples can be used to make syrup. Some work better than others. The
hard maples (sugar maple, black maple) have the highest sugar content and thus
make the best syrup. Silver maple is the next sweetest, but its sugar content
is only about half that of sugar maple, so it takes about twice as much sap to
make syrup. Other varieties have even lower sugar levels, but they all have
I've been making maple syrup from my own trees for several years now. We have
one black maple, half a dozen sugar maples, one red maple, four or five
silvers, and two Norways in our yard. The only ones I bother tapping are the
sugars and the one black. The sweetest sap, and the highest volume, both come
from the black maple.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
If milling I would be concerned about nails or other hidden bits of metal.
Were stairs for the tree house nailed to it?
Was a hook for a clothsling screwed into it?
Dog chain? Hanging basket hook?
You get the idea. Not too much lumber per se and not much use for
woodworking in my opinion. I know almost zero about turning so I defer to
others about its suitability for that.
What it may be perfect for, if your a woodworker, would be to make
sentimental items, for gifts and such. Do you have potential for future
grandkids? Imagine presenting a rocker or cradle or whatever to the child of
the child that climed that tree when they were little. Priceless.
Silver maples are not the greatest tree for a landscape--grows fast,
surface roots, breaks up concrete foundations, water pipes, etc. But,
the wood makes nice furniture. Plant a sugar maple in its place, or
whatever SWMO wants.
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