Author Topic: Finding the best vine maple  (Read 730 times)

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Offline Taxus brevifolia

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Finding the best vine maple
« on: December 10, 2019, 03:23:49 pm »
Hello friends, I'd like to take a moment to thank you all for making this such a wonderful resource! I haven't posted jack squat in some time, because I suppose I learn more by reading than by posting...

Soon I'll be making an excursion to an area that's nasty with vine maple, and I intend to harvest some to make bows.

I have a good general idea what to look for, but it strikes me as a good idea to seek advice; the stuff doesn't grow much where I live, and I want to make the most of the trip.

Anyone with any experience at all working with vine maple, please speak up and share your advice. Pics/video is helpful!


Offline dylanholderman

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Re: Finding the best vine maple
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2019, 10:17:22 pm »
no first hand experience, but i've read that you should mark which side faced up when you cut it because of
the reaction wood.
course you proly read that already too  ;D

Offline Ed Brooks

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Re: Finding the best vine maple
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2019, 11:20:46 am »
Iíve looked for vine that was standing straight up. Not the typical bow over to the ground vine. However Iím no expert. Good luck! Ed
It's in my blood...

Centralia WA,

Offline aaron

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Re: Finding the best vine maple
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2019, 03:51:09 pm »
I have harvested tons of VM- I look for non-leaning trees. I bring a string line to check handle alignment. I scrape off moss to uncover possible problems. I expect about 25% to warp during drying and become unuseable. .
Ilwaco, Washington, USA
"Good wood makes great bows, but bad wood makes great bowyers"

Offline Weylin

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Re: Finding the best vine maple
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2019, 05:12:22 pm »
In essence its really like looking for any other type of bow wood. Look for stuff thats relatively straight and clean. I never minded cutting leaning trees. if it has any lean to it make sure to mark the "top" side of the trunk before you cut it. You want to use that side as the back because there is where all the tension is. I miss that stuff.

Offline Hamish

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Re: Finding the best vine maple
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2019, 05:22:58 pm »
If the tension wood of VM makes a great conventional bow stave, does that mean that the underside compression wood would be best employed by backing it?

Offline Taxus brevifolia

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Re: Finding the best vine maple
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2019, 03:56:32 pm »
Thanks you guys!

Offline Sagebrush

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Re: Finding the best vine maple
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2019, 09:48:30 pm »
 The first thing I do is make sure it is VM and not mountain maple.  In the cascades they can be somewhat close in proximity.  I can't get higher weights out of mountain maple.  If you split it right off tie it down.  It can reflex 16 inches.  It is my preferred wood for gullwing and 5 curves or short paddle bows.  Versatile stuff but Prepare for a fight.  Good genetics determine how strait the stuff grows.  Some places on the Olympic peninsula can't make a strait usable stick.  Other patches it is all perfect.  Good luck!!! It also makes great spoons and walking sticks.