Author Topic: Hard maple  (Read 1839 times)

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Offline Muskyman

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Hard maple
« on: September 16, 2022, 07:14:35 pm »
How can I tell the difference between hard and soft maple?
I live in Ohio and we have lots of maples around. I looked online and all I really found was how to tell after itís cut. Donít really want to cut down my maple trees on a hunch. Have one at the end of my driveway that I been looking at. Itís probably 8 to 10 feet before the first limbs and probably 8 to 10 inches in diameter.
Guess I should ask if you guys think it makes a good bow or not. I also have a elm tree I can cut down.
Plenty of hickory around also.
Let me know what you think
Thanks

Offline M2A

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2022, 07:43:09 am »
My thoughts, cut the hickory and run with it provided its straight and rather clean. I have all 3 in the rafters but usually look past maple and elm to use hickory.

In general soft maple will be silver or red maple, hard maple will be sugar(most here call it rock maple I think), even Norway maples. A good field guide will help or you could find the info on line, but in general the leaf shape will be an easy way to tell the difference. Hard maple seems to be a very snappy wood but I have had it fail under tension around the slightest problems with the grain.

Elm...2 general types, red and white. I can split red elm by hand but white has interlocking grain to the point I will always use a saw and cut out staves. Its my understanding from reading that most prefer white and dont consider red much of a bow wood but some of my better elm has been red but always have had some user error when working with it lol. The white elm I have harvested is a bit light. I have a white elm bow that I did everything but put a finish on thats been sitting by my computer here for a year. Its average I suppose but started other projects after shooting it in. However I got an elm bow in the bow trade a few years ago thats outstanding, I'll put a pic below. I think that wood was harvested in northern Canada.
IMG_3227 by Mike Allridge, on Flickr

If you have a rack full of bows try maple or elm. I'd like nothing more than to make a good elm or maple bow from wood I harvested and It can be or has been done. I like when people post white wood bows here.  Just use good dimensions for the material you have. You may also have black locust, another excellent bow wood or even osage grows in the southern part of the state I hear. However if you dont have many bows under your belt hickory I think its the best bet because its more consistent material from the 3 you mentioned. Hope that helps you out some.
Mike                       

Offline Muskyman

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2022, 10:42:13 am »
Thanks Mike, Iíve done a few bows from hickory and have one I clamped to a caul, I think thatís the right term for a form I made. Itís almost to floor tiller.  Itís been clamped for a few weeks now and Iím going to force dry it in the next few days. Already on the prowl for another hickory tree to harvest but I saw the maple and thought I saw some posts on here about someone making a bow with hard maple. Iím getting ready to cut down a Osage tree my neighbor has said I can have that I think has some good staves in it. From what I have read Iíll need to let it dry for about a year so Iím looking for other trees to make staves from. Ones Iím not afraid to force dry and try to work on. Trying to include a picture of the hickory I made. Iíve worked on the tiller since the photo..Iíll probably find another hickory tree to harvest and use it to keep practicing till I can get my Osage down and dried out. Thanks again for your thoughts.

Offline Muskyman

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2022, 10:49:01 am »
By the way, thatís a nice looking bow. Is it stained?

Offline Pat B

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2022, 11:27:40 am »
You can also tell by the bark. Soft, red maple has a smooth bark and sugar or hard maple has a scaly bark. I think silver maple has a scaly bark too but it is a soft maple. Leaves would be your best ID. The Canadian flag has a sugar maple leaf on it.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline Muskyman

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2022, 07:58:24 pm »
Thanks Pat, Iíll take a look at the bark and the leaves next time Iím out.

Offline M2A

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2022, 07:00:10 am »
Be careful Muskyman, collecting staves can become habit forming :) But after a bit of collecting you may not need to speed dry because you will have seasoned staves ready to go anytime. Nice looking start on that hickory bow you got there.

That pic is from a elm bow from bushboy. And yes its stained green. Can't say enough about it, its a top notch molly style.

An 8-10" silver maple should have scaly bark, almost like shagbark hickory, but the leaves make it easy to tell apart from sugar. I'd say if you determine its sugar maple then have at it. If it was me I'd cut the elm also with the understanding that elm can be very variable in quality. Several old posts on here that talk about that. Good luck with the osage harvest.
Mike             

Offline Muskyman

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2022, 02:51:34 pm »
I finally stopped to look at my maple tree and after looking it over, to my surprise itís not a maple. It is surrounded by maples but appears to be a hickory tree. It has a long nice straight trunk about 10 feet and another good looking section on up the tree. Thought sure it was a maple but no..

Offline JW_Halverson

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2022, 04:51:19 pm »
Oh drat! It's "only" a hickory!
Guns have triggers. Bicycles have wheels. Trees and bows have wooden limbs.

Offline WhistlingBadger

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2022, 05:41:55 pm »
I finally stopped to look at my maple tree and after looking it over, to my surprise itís not a maple. It is surrounded by maples but appears to be a hickory tree. It has a long nice straight trunk about 10 feet and another good looking section on up the tree. Thought sure it was a maple but no..

Oh, that's a bummer.  :'( If you can't stand the heartbreak, just split that dratted hickory up into staves and send them to me so you don't have to look at them anymore.
Thomas
Lander, Wyoming
"The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.
Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for."
~Louis L'Amour

Offline Muskyman

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2022, 06:46:09 pm »
Well wrong again. Got out the binoculars and then took some photos of the leaves and it might be some kind of oak. Any opinions

Offline Muskyman

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2022, 06:47:18 pm »
Another picture

Offline Muskyman

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2022, 06:48:34 pm »
And another. Trying to get a good one

Offline Muskyman

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2022, 06:52:40 pm »
Maybe a chestnut oak? Not real common around here. 
On a happier note I did find another shag bark in the same area..

Offline Allyn T

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Re: Hard maple
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2022, 07:36:26 pm »
Leaves look elm-ish to me
In the woods I find my peace