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Thread: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

  1. #1
    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    A friend here in New York recently had a moderately large Norway maple break apart in a storm. The crotch where three trunks met was deeply rotted, and two fell leaving one standing.

    It looks to me as if there is a nice figure to the wood. Although the base of the tree is 3' or more in diameter, the clear wood looks to be in about 8' of trunk, and about 16" diameter.

    I'm thinking of crosscutting that portion and splitting it into billets for mandolin or violin backs - and salvaging other interesting bits for bowl turning. It's been down long enough with bark on that there may be some staining, but since I'm not selling this stuff, I'm not too worried about perfection.

    Any suggestions would be welcome - encouraging or otherwise. I have a basic cabinetmaker's knowledge of wood, and know to sticker, seal ends, and keep air moving. But aside from that, I'll be learning as I go.

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Figure out each use you might put it to and cut to appropriate lengths. (For example, think about whether you might want octave mandolins, backs and necks, think about side material and so forth.) Cut the log into lengths, strip the bark, split into billets, and seal the ends. It might not split well. The grain might be spiral, interlocking, or otherwise not straight, and if it is, you might be better off sawing the billets, because splitting would waste so much wood. After that, stack them to dry and wait...
    No real need for stickers, split, wedge-shaped billets can be stacked like this.
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    (This is the best picture I could quickly find, this is obviously not exactly what they would look like, but the general idea is the same. Also, they should be stacked out of the weather.)

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Here's reminder of this older thread.

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    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Thanks so much for the tips and the link to that thread John.
    I hadn't considered that I might not be able to get a fairly straight split, and so I'll do a little research and see what re-sawing options I can come up with just in case. It's such a small quantity of wood that is really clear of limbs and/or decay, that there should be an easy answer.

    PS. If anyone is willing to opine, what is the minimum diameter that is worth 'harvesting? I'm thinking that even with good figure anything under about 14 inches is not worth harvesting for quartersawn wood. I understand that a lot depends on heartwood and sapwood questions. My assumption is that nothing under 14 inches is worth quartering. Smaller than that, perhaps it is better to slab cut.
    Last edited by BradKlein; Oct-13-2015 at 9:49am.
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Norway maple is European maple. It is different from eastern US maples in that it does not have a big, dark colored heart with a relatively small layer of "white wood" (sapwood) under the bark. The wood is light colored pretty much all the way through, so we can get wider pieces of white (preferred), vertical grain wood from a Norway maple than we normally can from an eastern maple (red or sugar) of the same diameter. For mandolin backs, we need 10 inches of wood, meaning two 5" wide pieces book matched. We can usually accomplish that if we start with wood about 6" wide, so, in an ideal world, with a perfectly round, perfectly straight, perfectly centered tree, and no errors in sawing, a tree 12" in diameter under the bark would be just big enough for some good quality mandolin backs. In the real world, we can probably get a few backs from a tree that size with the heard perfectly centered, but the heart is almost never perfectly centered, and if the log came from a tree with more than one trunk, it was probably leaning some, and that would probably put the heard significantly off center, meaning we could get wider vertical grain pieces from one side than from the other. I'd say your about right in considering 14" to be a ballpark minimum diameter for producing vertical grain mandolin backs efficiently, but if the heart is off center, there may be wider wood available on one side, and the other side can be cut for necks, sides, fiddles, etc.. You won't know much until you start to cut.
    Being the kind of guy I am, I'd harvest it and if any of it is usable and if the figure and appearance are good, I'd get what I could, even if it's only a few nice backs

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    Mandolin Dreams Unlimited MysTiK PiKn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    "Opines"?
    I am wondering if it would be worth cutting something like 4 or 6 or 8 foot "chunks of trunk" - and hauling those away to storage. That would create manageability, and more time to figure out what's of use, and for what. I am thinking there's a disposal issue, and somewhat of a preservation issue. Buying time might help.

    Also, I only know about firewood, felling, splitting. Ash is nice straight grain, almost splits itself. Maple can look straight but tends to deviate in unpredictable ways due to branching, compression wood from leaning, and history unknown.

    I drive myself crazy when I drop a significant maple. It's requires more knowledge than I have for deciding if it's worth it to save tonewood, if it even IS tonewood. But I am into maple bridges, tiny bits, and have toyed with drying, ageing, unsuccessfully. I need more info even for small stuff.

    It can be a lot of work; a clear intent will help. Best words here "You won't know much until you start to cut."

    I'm interested - I am going to fell a medium maple that's too close to my house, roof, satellite tv. So I get to go crazy wondering what I should "keep". It would help if I fully understood quartersawn, and how to harvest that. etc etc etc.

    Good thread, thx.

    EDIT - and that other thread linked = Riftsawn wood for mandolins = very informative for this rookie thx.
    Last edited by MysTiK PiKn; Oct-13-2015 at 2:27pm. Reason: yes

    = The Loar, LM700VS c.2013 = "The Brat"
    = G. Puglisi, "Roma" c.1907 = "Patentato" - rare archBack, canted top, oval
    = Harmony, Monterrey c.1969 = collapsed ply - parts, testing, training, firewood.


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    Registered User Wes Brandt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    I always seal the ends, even on aged woods …it's surprising how easy cracks appear with sudden humidity drops. Plus you can cut it closer to final dimensions.

    I have bought special sealer but now I just use old glue white or yellow whatever or even new stuff if I have to… the special sealer is not that cheap and the glue works perhaps better.
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    Mandolin Dreams Unlimited MysTiK PiKn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    I have set aside some tiny pieces - and they all cracked in short time. I guess that's experience.

    = The Loar, LM700VS c.2013 = "The Brat"
    = G. Puglisi, "Roma" c.1907 = "Patentato" - rare archBack, canted top, oval
    = Harmony, Monterrey c.1969 = collapsed ply - parts, testing, training, firewood.


    "The intellect is a boring load of crawp. Aye. Next wee chune".

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Quote Originally Posted by MysTiK PiKn View Post
    "Opines"?
    I am wondering if it would be worth cutting something like 4 or 6 or 8 foot "chunks of trunk" - and hauling those away to storage.
    They will check and crack unless they are at very least sawed into halves, and better, sawed into quarters (like in my photos in the linked thread above). By quartering those logs and sealing the ends, I was able to completely avoid any checking and was able to store them as long as necessary before putting them to use.

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Good advice all around here. The figure looks nice so I'd say go for it. If you have one, put a fan to the wood once stacked so the air circulation is good and wood loses much of the water fast to prevent stains or stack it outside (but safe from rainfall) so wind does the job.
    Acer platanoides is not the common European maple sold as tonewood, that is acer pseudoplatanus. But it will make good tonewood anyway. This species rarely grows larger than your tree, especially if there are more trunks in the tree. I think the largest a. platanoides I've seen was barely 2' diameter single trunk while largest a. pseudoplatanus I've seen was more than 6' diameter and still healthy and growing.
    Adrian

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    Registered User Arnt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    I wonder why its called Norway maple in English speaking countries, we have very little of it up here (BTW, we call it "spisslønn"=sharp maple, I guess because of the pointy leaves?). Perhaps its because we sold so much lumber the the British over the years, especially "Norway spruce" which is mainly an imported species in this country, I guess they assumed it was all "Norwegian wood". Sorry for the derail, carry on...

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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Hello, Arnt, haven't seen you around here for a while!
    "Norway maple" is an ornamental around here. "Norway spruce" is also used extensively as an ornamental in the USA. We see them in yards, and public places mostly. I don't know why they came to be known by those names.

    Interestingly, many years ago when I was assisting with field work with Dr.s Adams and Stevenson for their red spruce research, we hiked to the top of a mountain in West Virginia to sample a stand of red spruce. On the ground were long cones, obviously from "Norway spruce" mixed in with the small, short cones from red spruce. Someone, many years ago, had planted European spruce on a West Virginia mountain top, and the two species, red and euro, were growing together in the same stand. Other than the cones, they looked nearly identical. When they grow in the same place, in the same conditions, they sure are a lot alike!

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Translation of official slovak name would be milky maple. Translation of Picea abies/excelsa would be common spruce as it is the only species growing all around most of europe.
    John, that makes me think about getting some red spruce cones and planting it here :-)
    That makes me think... Brad, are youleaving the one trunk standing? You could consider cutting few small live branches and planting them? Either let them root or air layering can be used. The offsprings will produce the same quality curly wood...
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Here's reminder of this older thread.
    ...and this one...

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    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    Brad, are youleaving the one trunk standing? You could consider cutting few small live branches and planting them? Either let them root or air layering can be used. The offsprings will produce the same quality curly wood...
    Wow. I had never heard that it was possible to rear a 'cutting' clone that would, or even might produce the same figured wood. Sounds worthwhile.
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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    Wow. I had never heard that it was possible to rear a 'cutting' clone that would, or even might produce the same figured wood. Sounds worthwhile.
    Yes, it is possible. It's not ideal time for this (late spring or early summer is ideal), but perhaps with help of good gardener or bonsai guy, few branches could survive and root.
    One of my friends is botanist at botanical garden that specializes in local trees and they have quite large "collection" of so called karelian "burl" birch (often called finnish figured birch, but it can be found all over Europe). When group of finnish botanists visited few years ago they were surprised to see the trees - in Finnland they are valued at up to 20k Euro per tree and rare...
    Even grafted trees do create the burl wood above the graft. They also have few curly and birdseye maples.
    I believe Bruce got involved in some planting like this... Got any results by now, Bruce?
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    You could consider cutting few small live branches and planting them? Either let them root or air layering can be used. The offsprings will produce the same quality curly wood...
    VERY interesting!
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    I believe Bruce got involved in some planting like this... Got any results by now, Bruce?
    Nothing that would make mandolins, but give it 75 years...

    I'm pretty sure that figuring is all about the genetics...
    Lombardy poplars are a popular wind break here in the Pacific NW, and they are easy to propagate by just sticking a branch in water, and letting it root...
    Well, in some of those 20-tree windbreaks, every tree has strong fiddleback figuring, and I think you can do the same thing with maple...

    I am growing clones of some of my favorite trees, but it'll be quite awhile before the results come in...

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Quote Originally Posted by Spruce View Post
    I am growing clones of some of my favorite trees, but it'll be quite awhile before the results come in...
    You are my hero Spruce!
    If only I had a piece of suitable land... I'm growing some thuja occidentalis to plant at our fence instead. :-(

    I have few trees selected in the forests and towns that look promising, though none is curly. One is acer pseudoplatanus with heavy burls everywhere, the othe rone is acer negundo that grows on gigantic burl (almost 3' diameter burl and 1' diameter tree) - looks like overgrown celery.
    Then thereis grove of yews that I've seen in France, they grow unusually straight and branchless for almost 5 meters from ground - thinking of wood for english long bows.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    If only I had a piece of suitable land...
    Another business model waiting to happen...
    Supplying baby trees that are genetic clones of famous tonewood logs from the past...
    Totally doable...

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Too bad there are no offsprings from the famous D-log...
    Adrian

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    BTW, how big are your trees, Bruce?
    Adrian

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    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    Too bad there are no offsprings from the famous D-log...
    There could be, if someone knew where the stump was...
    Stumps coppice, and you take those coppices and stick 'em back in the ground and let 'em go...

    A friend (also in the tonewood biz) is trying to do clones of this tree--the nicest Bigleaf I've ever seen...









    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    BTW, how big are your trees, Bruce?
    Not big...maybe 8" in diameter or so...

  34. #24
    Mandolin Dreams Unlimited MysTiK PiKn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    If you provide the conditions for life, esp. water, maybe even a trace of soil (or "growth media") as nutrient and support, and maybe some rooting hormone (!), and maybe set it up as an 'air layering' - any or all of the above might make you some kind of "parent". Especially, if you baby it to get it going. It's possible that what seems like a stick, has all the requirements to rearrange itself to form a new plant.
    Tiny pieces, covered with a small glass - it can mimic a rain forest. Many parts of plants have the same cellular "origin" - and so differentiation into a little plant is possible from small fragments. Then plant it somewhere nice, and leave it to nature. Plant physiology is all about growth and development being under the control of hormones that naturally exist in the plant. Much hormonal control is from meristematic areas. (tips of branches, etc.) The controls vary as development proceeds. You just have to get it started somehow. (simple rooting powder).

    Save the planet, eh.! Work miracles.

    Plant Phys. was my fav course; the prof on day 1, said "there is no exam in this course". I threw down the pen, closed the books, and just watched, and just learned. The prof was often criticized for his methods. He was a hormone researcher. It was a joy to watch him. Real education. No stress.

    = The Loar, LM700VS c.2013 = "The Brat"
    = G. Puglisi, "Roma" c.1907 = "Patentato" - rare archBack, canted top, oval
    = Harmony, Monterrey c.1969 = collapsed ply - parts, testing, training, firewood.


    "The intellect is a boring load of crawp. Aye. Next wee chune".

  35. #25
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    I don't know much about growth of US maples, but I think I've never seen a. pseudoplatanus or platanoides stumps coppice, they seem to die and rot pretty quickly. Perhaps a. campestre which grows rather like weeds. Other trees, like walnut or locust stumps, are really hard to kill...
    Fir and spruce sometimes forms beautiful wood around dead stump trying to cover the wound. It's used and priced in woodcarving, used for bowls and various vessels. something like this:
    http://www.samorasty.sk/index.php?de...idprodukty=993
    Bruce, 8", WOW! You are approaching some violin neck wood :-). What species and how old are the trees?
    That Bigleaf is stunnin! Now I wonder if there is a way to transport live saplings from US to Europe...
    I'd buy few just to plant is somewhere behind the house...
    I't love to find out more about the pernambucco project, perhaps BR or Ebony could be also grown for wood. I read somewhere folks are trying to grow mahogany as well. Offsprings selected from trees with nicest wood would make them available again in great quality at least for our grandkids. This is what Taylor should be doing to preserve ebony, not just selling trees of lower quality till the supply is still there.
    Oh, sorry for the rant. We're getting really off topic here.
    Adrian

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