Silver Maple

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http://members.toast.net/cnt/SilverMaple.jpg
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.
Suggestions?
Chuck
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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 december.
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Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
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Best way to go about it. Conscientiously.
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Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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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 losses.
I don't think that removing that left branch would make for an ugly tree, but I'm not an arborist.
Patriarch
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I think if it is maple at all, it is a fantastic wood. Soft maple is not "soft" at all! Anyone can make fine furniture out of "soft" ash or "soft" sycamore and "soft" maple will be harder than either one.
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Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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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 cherry tops.
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.
Patriarch
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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 flames...
Oy.
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.
Robert
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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.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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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.
CNT wrote:

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if corn oil is made from corn, and olive oil is made from olives, where dose
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Silver maple doesn't even make good firewood, though I had one that was pretty good for maple syrup.
Cut the one branch off and see how you like it. You can always cut it down later.
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Curious, how many types of maples make syrup? Does "hard rock" maple make syrup?
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Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
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AAvK wrote:

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.
http://www.massmaple.org/treeID.html
--

FF


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Very interesting, thanks much.
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Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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On 27 May 2005 13:28:30 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote:

Thanks for the link- my wife was asking me if we could tap ours, and that "make your own" link was just the ticket.
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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.
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What's your syrup yield from silver maple? I'm tapping five sugar maples and one black maple, and my yield runs a bit under 4 oz syrup from a gallon of sap (about 35:1 boil-down).
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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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.
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*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 some sugar.
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.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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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.

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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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