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Author Topic: Is Bigleaf maple wood valuable?  (Read 14189 times)

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Offline bigtreesinwa

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Is Bigleaf maple wood valuable?
« on: May 02, 2008, 02:16:29 PM »
I have a bunch of Bigleaf Maple on my property. I'll be taking them down because they are mature/overmature and confiers are generally considered more valuable out here in Western Washington.

Are the maple likely to have any value? I've heard that they are often full of rot and may only be used as pulpwood. I will take an increment bore to them this summer to check it out and see for sure.

I'd hate to cut them up into firewood if they can be sawed into boards. I thought I'd post it here and see if anyone has experience with Western Washington bigleaf maple.


Offline Burlkraft

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Re: Is Bigleaf maple wood valuable?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2008, 03:09:27 PM »
Got any burl in them Big Leaf   ???  ???  ???
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Offline bigtreesinwa

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Re: Is Bigleaf maple wood valuable?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2008, 03:28:36 PM »
One of my hobbies is woodworking and I've seen the most gorgeous tables made from burls in cottonwood or other hardwoods.

No, I haven't seen any burl in the maple I have. Perhaps I should plant some bugs in there so the tree can start fighting them off...just kidding

Offline mountaineer

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Re: Is Bigleaf maple wood valuable?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2008, 03:46:29 PM »
speaking of burls, i drive by one everyday going to work. it's a doosie. i'll take a pic.

Offline BaldBob

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Re: Is Bigleaf maple wood valuable?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2008, 06:23:51 PM »
Unless the trees have burls or you have a harwood mill nearby, Bigleaf generally doesn't have much value , and as you noted most older Bigleaf tend to be hollow. If you have any hardwood mills within ~30 miles (look in the Yellow pages) call them to see if there is any interest.

Offline Tillaway

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Re: Is Bigleaf maple wood valuable?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2008, 09:34:55 PM »
I guess I would have to disagree a bit about low value.

To qualify it a bit Big Leaf Maple can be very valuable and tends to produce, curly, Birdseye, and fiddle-back grain patterns.  If it has burls even more value.  These grain patterns tend to be in the older trees and even if rotten or hollow they can still have significant value.  If the trees can produce 8' long 8" diameter logs then you can market them.  You will need a minimum of 3200bf (one log truck load) of decent saw logs to have something worth selling if it does not have any of the grain patterns I mentioned above.

With those patterns even in a short bolt they are quite valuable.  I knew a family that would cut off stumps in the harvest units a little south of me and make good money selling those those since they usually had a little curly maple in them.

Cascade Hardwoods is in Chehalis, NW Hardwoods, and there is a hardwood mill in the Sequim/ PA area as well.  Merrill and Ring may also be interested.  These logs will also export unlike alder.  Basically and alder mill in the state would be interested as well as specialty markets so do your home work before you turn them into firewood.
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Offline Onthesauk

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Re: Is Bigleaf maple wood valuable?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2008, 09:50:01 PM »
Prices I got a month ago:
     Alder             $900 per thousand
     Birch              $550
     Maple          $1,000  (big leaf)
This is all for export veneer market.  If there is good figured wood, (in the maple,) runs 3k - 5k per thousand but no way of knowing until it's cut.  At present, these are picked up at your location prices, (here in the NW.)
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Offline bigtreesinwa

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Re: Is Bigleaf maple wood valuable?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2008, 11:32:08 PM »
I guess I would have to disagree a bit about low value.

To qualify it a bit Big Leaf Maple can be very valuable and tends to produce, curly, Birdseye, and fiddle-back grain patterns.  If it has burls even more value.  These grain patterns tend to be in the older trees and even if rotten or hollow they can still have significant value.  If the trees can produce 8' long 8" diameter logs then you can market them.  You will need a minimum of 3200bf (one log truck load) of decent saw logs to have something worth selling if it does not have any of the grain patterns I mentioned above.

With those patterns even in a short bolt they are quite valuable.  I knew a family that would cut off stumps in the harvest units a little south of me and make good money selling those those since they usually had a little curly maple in them.

Cascade Hardwoods is in Chehalis, NW Hardwoods, and there is a hardwood mill in the Sequim/ PA area as well.  Merrill and Ring may also be interested.  These logs will also export unlike alder.  Basically and alder mill in the state would be interested as well as specialty markets so do your home work before you turn them into firewood.

Thanks! I have at least a dozen or so that are 36" in diameter DBH and they probably go up 40' before the trunk splits. That'll be quite a bit of good wood. I have probably another couple dozen that are smaller diameter but still plenty of wood.

I'll do some homework before harvesting.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Is Bigleaf maple wood valuable?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2008, 07:50:17 PM »
If I had a mill and they turned out to be sound, I'd mill them out for my hobby and sell some of the excess logs if I had a market. Takes some researching in your local area to see what your options are. :)  Any brokers in the area to ask questions?

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline Left Coast Chris

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Re: Is Bigleaf maple wood valuable?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2008, 08:38:13 PM »
I cut up a very large approx. 4' DBH Silver Maple for hobby wood.  We love it.  No continuous quilting but good fugure here and there.  The butt log was short but still worth the effort.

In drying it was quite stable, dried fast and has a nice light color to contrast the darker woods.   It saws, planes, glues and finishes well.   I prefer to use it over oak for workability and use it for contrasting with walnut.   The Western Big leaf may be slightly harder than silver maple but should be similar. 

One caution, it will grey up and mold pretty easy so don't cut them and let them lay around.   They will spalt but it goes to rot pretty fast if left outside.  I did treat mine with Timbore to discourage the borrers.  My dried lumber is still as white as the butt log since it was storred inside and out of the sun.

Here is a pic of the tree:

 
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