View Full Version : Harvesting Maple

Jan-27-2004, 9:56pm
I have access to a rather large maple stump. The species of maple is unknown at this time. The stump is about 8-9 feet tall and about 5-6 feet at the butt. It is in very tight quarters in a backyard so if I get it I might have to mill it rough right there. Any help on how to do this would be appreciated.

If you are near Chico, Ca which is not far from Sacremento I would be glad to share. I just want some wood for a project in the future sometime, Thought it might be fun to get my own wood for my mando to be built.

Jan-28-2004, 12:20am
There are individuals who have portable mills. If you can find one who will cut it all quartersawn, and you have a place to stack it properly and dry it--or have it kiln dried, you might be all set. There are things to consider with the drying--might ask our resident wood expert--Spruce--if he has any advice on what to do in this area. I know it can be done.

Michael Lewis
Jan-28-2004, 2:28am
Pickin Bob, look up Merle Spradley at Rimrock Wood Products(used to be Rimrock Gunstocks) in Marysville, he should be able to get you lined up with some help. Also there is Michael Kimmes in Grass Valley, he owns California Walnut Designs which is a custom wood business. These guys have the equipment and knowledge to get the job done.

Jan-28-2004, 12:06pm
You might try Mabrey Products in Chico. Although I don't know the guy, I did meet the owner at a tradeshow 4-5 years ago and he seemed like a nice guy. He's been in the woodworking business for some time and will probably know of someone in the local area.

Jan-28-2004, 1:27pm
Give me a call at 360 293 1169 I am a mill ownener and can give you some tips, and maybe keep you from regretting what you do. I am to far away to think of doing the job. but I have some stuff I might lend you.

Jan-28-2004, 2:23pm
Now just hold on now before you get all excited....:)

How old is the stump? #If the tree was cut over 3 months ago, walk away from it....the wood will be fungused and discolored beyond use...
Where's the rest of the tree?

Does the wood under the bark look like the back of a Loar, or is it as smooth as a baby's butt? #If it's the latter, it's really not all that interesting, and I'd walk away from it.
The figure in the wood is what makes it a candidate for your mandolin--you don't want plain-jane maple unless you have a sentimental attachment to the tree...

"The species of maple is unknown at this time."

Look for old leaves on the ground no matter how decomposed they are and dry them out on your car's dashboard...
Go online for a maple tree ID page....
That's the easy way to determine your species...

You don't need any special equipment or knowledge to harvest this stump for instrument wood...just a good chainsaw and the associated safety gear...
Maybe a maul and a few wedges, too...

Let me know how old the wood is, whether there's any figure, and we'll go from there...

Jan-29-2004, 2:23am

It is a fresh stump, maybe 2-3 weeks at most. #It going to be a freebee for us. #The property owner just wants it gone. #My partner is an experienced cutterand gun stock maker, we have got some big walnuts before. #We will probably be having to cut it down right there as the areas is tight and I dont think we can reach it with a crane.

I havent looked at it closely but it all looks good. No rot or problems seen yet. #It looks tight in the crotches.

Once we get it slabbed up, how should it be sealed on the ends to keep it from splitting?

We going to recon the job this weekend and cut it in about 2 weeks. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/coffee.gif

Jan-29-2004, 5:35am
[QUOTE]I havent looked at it closely but it all looks good. No rot or problems seen yet. #It looks tight in the crotches.

Ahhhh, ya just gotta love woodworking to really appreciate all of the wonderful double meanings that come along with it.

Go with latex paint. #I have even used candle wax and if at all possible if you are not going to get it milled right away make sure you put something under it so it is off the ground.


Jan-29-2004, 1:49pm
I like 75% wax mixed with 25% paint thinner when sealing fresh wood....
It contracts with the shrinking of the wood and won't flake off...
Heat on a Coleman and brush it on...

So-ooo, is there figure in the wood?...:)

If there isn't, you're mucking about with something you can replace for a buck-a-board-foot dry and ready to go...

If you're gonna go for it, do it ASAP...
Each day, that fungus travels quite a ways into the wood, rendering it less interesting, if not useless....

Figure out what length you want to work with....
Mandos are 16" or so give or take, and if you want some F5 ribstock, cut some 30" pieces...

So this is just like cutting firewood....
Drop the stump, cut your lengths, and then you can either saw or splt out your quartersawn pieces...

Remove the bark....
It causes nothing but problems, both with fungusing and bugs....

The MIMF (http://www.mimf.com/) has a bunch of discussions about harvesting tonewood...
Look under their archived discussions...

Jan-29-2004, 10:41pm
Did'nt want to start a new topic so I thought I'd ask my question in this thread about Maple. I got this "1 Piece Maple Back" in the mail a few days ago. It does'nt have the normal looking flames that go horizontal, but it does'nt look "Quilted" either what would this type back be called?? After I sanded it a bit I could start to see some flame going horizontal but very lightly. I'm not sure if I like it or not. JD

Jan-29-2004, 10:55pm
It's lightly figured maple (Sugar?) cut on the slab...

It's well-milled--note the "puddle" in the center of the piece as opposed the "horseshoes" one sometimes see in poorly milled slab-cut grain...

I dunno...
It's not psycadelic, but it definitly has a nice vibe to it...

Jan-29-2004, 10:59pm
what would this type back be called??
I'd call that.......maple!
Seriously, there is a little bit of curly figure in that piece. This is the type of wood that the whole thread about potasium dichromate was all about. If you have a piece of wood that doesn't have a lot of strong figure you can try to enhance it
If you use one of the suggested methods of curl enhancment in that thread, you can bring out the figure a little in that piece. It wont look like some of the tiger striped pieces that you see, but there's no reason it cant be attractive.

John Zimm
Jan-30-2004, 11:48am
Personally, I think it looks great. It's almost like a topographical map. Very cool, in my inexpert opinion.


Jan-31-2004, 1:13pm
I think that is going to make a great back. #yeah i think it would be awesome to get some of those horizontal lines to jump out a little but i think either way it is going to be really impressive... hmmm wished i could have got my hands on that... hahahaha http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Magnus Geijer
Jan-31-2004, 4:57pm
The back on my #1 had even less figure than that visible in the white, and although it might not be extreme in figure, it's not like it's completely flat either.

Feb-01-2004, 11:47am
Well we are all set to start cutting next weekend. My buddy who is the real wood expert says it has some promise but probably wont be outstanding. I'll try to get some pictures while we cut and post them.

Luthier Vandross
Feb-11-2004, 1:04am
If the wood is figured, the tree will look like the figure. You should see the gnarly trees we hauled out of Virginia 6 years ago.

I'll get some pictures!