Maple log

Ask your wood and other materials questions here. Please DO NOT post pictures and ask us to identify your wood, we have found that accurate ID is nearly impossible, and such discussions will be deleted. Thanks.
Post Reply
Andy Bounsall
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:29 pm
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Maple log

Post by Andy Bounsall »

I received a query from someone I don’t know to ask if I could make a guitar from a chunk of maple. Turns out the “chunk” is actually a hollow log that was harvested from a tree on his parents farm roughly 20 years ago. He says the wood has amazing quilt and Birdseye figure. Also, he says, bugs have bored some tiny holes in the wood. He sent me the pics below. As for scale, the log is apparently about 4-5 ft long and 20(ish) inches across. I’m no expert on logs so not sure how he can tell what kind of figure the wood has. Told him I’m not equipped to mill a log but I may know someone who could mill it into usable lumber. So question to anyone with relevant experience...is the lumber from a 20 year old log usable or would it need to be left to dry first?
Attachments
3F3E88FF-3A7C-445D-A5C4-9124886F109A.jpeg
D9856954-AB64-4FBF-B155-92507F2116D5.jpeg
C4A03DCB-3803-4E00-A247-7AB29F90887A.jpeg
90E04A5C-571D-4D43-B0C3-D03E285DD536.jpeg

User avatar
Barry Daniels
Posts: 2676
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:58 am
Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: Maple log

Post by Barry Daniels »

Is this an April fool's joke?

I am willing to take on some pretty risky projects, but I wouldn't touch that with a 10 foot hollow pole.
MIMF Staff

Andy Bounsall
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:29 pm
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: Maple log

Post by Andy Bounsall »

Thanks for the sanity check Barry.
Heard from him again about what he is looking for and it gets even crazier. I’m definitely not going down this road.

User avatar
Barry Daniels
Posts: 2676
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:58 am
Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: Maple log

Post by Barry Daniels »

Please tell us the full crazy request.
MIMF Staff

Alan Carruth
Posts: 1011
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:11 pm

Re: Maple log

Post by Alan Carruth »

I know some folks who would love that wood; it's highly figured and spalted. It would make some nice turnings, or jewel boxes, and, of course, any number of sound hole rings. I would not even try to make a guitar out of it. It's really too bad that it was not processed right away when it was cut. That's one of those things you just can't put off, particularly with maple.

User avatar
Jim McConkey
Posts: 929
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:00 pm
Location: Way north of Baltimore, MD

Re: Maple log

Post by Jim McConkey »

That piece would make a couple great djembes!
MIMForum Staff - Way North of Baltimore

Bob Howell
Posts: 224
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:23 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Maple log

Post by Bob Howell »

That is small enough to cut up on bandsaw. You would split with ax or chainsaw first and go for it.I don't think age is an issue.

Scale is difficult but I don't see a guitar in there. Lots of figure showing.

Drum is a natural.

Andy Bounsall
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:29 pm
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: Maple log

Post by Andy Bounsall »

Barry Daniels wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:20 am
Please tell us the full crazy request.
OK, here’s part of it...
I was thinking a carved archtop jazz guitar, but shaped more like a hollow body jazzmaster (with f holes). I want a loud 8 string ( "D" and "G" doubled) acoustic guitar that also is electric

User avatar
Bob Gramann
Posts: 975
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:08 am
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Contact:

Re: Maple log

Post by Bob Gramann »

Run away! Run away!

Brian Evans
Posts: 900
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:26 am
Location: Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Re: Maple log

Post by Brian Evans »

My take is that the wood in that log is perfectly fine. You don't need quarter-sawn maple to built out of, you could rough it with a chain saw, if you could get pieces that are 8" - 10" wide you could make a traditional archtop back and sides set out of it. I've built with maple from trees that fell down, I've built from birds-eye maple that was harvested 50 years ago and simply rough slabbed and left in a barn. In fact, if you squint, it kind of looks like a hollow body Jazzmaster (no F-holes though)... :)
Attachments
IMG_0268.JPG
IMG_0271.JPG

Clay Schaeffer
Posts: 1510
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: Maple log

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Andy Bounsall wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:50 pm
Barry Daniels wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:20 am
Please tell us the full crazy request.
OK, here’s part of it...
I was thinking a carved archtop jazz guitar, but shaped more like a hollow body jazzmaster (with f holes). I want a loud 8 string ( "D" and "G" doubled) acoustic guitar that also is electric
Hi Andy,
So far it doesn't sound too wacky - I've build a number of 8 string acoustics with the "D" and "G" strings doubled and they have turned out well. A hollowbody thinline jazzmaster might make an interesting project. I'm not sure I would want to attempt it with that particular piece of wood without giving it a close examination. A good evaluation of the client's expectations would also be in order.

User avatar
Barry Daniels
Posts: 2676
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:58 am
Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: Maple log

Post by Barry Daniels »

A log doesn't get hollow without undergoing extensive rotting. The remaining wood will be spalted, which may be nice. So this wood might be suitable for a slab-sawn drop top, but a hollow body archtop? No way.
MIMF Staff

Alan Carruth
Posts: 1011
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:11 pm

Re: Maple log

Post by Alan Carruth »

The discoloration from the spalting is obvious in the end grain shot. Maple is only a little more resistant to this than birch, of which Frost said:
"Two good storms and a rainy day will rot the best birch fence a man can build".

Spalting is caused by fungus, of which there are a number of sorts. One that s hows up early often seems to feed on sugars in the wood, rather than actually breaking the wood structure down. It leaves behind a somewhat discolored wood with black 'ink lines' that is not too much weaker then properly dried wood, but I would not trust it structrually. The later colonizers are the ones that really do the damage.

If that log is around 20" in diameter then a quartered piece of wood from it would be around 5" wide. You might just get the back for a viola or maybe an arch back mando out of it, and could probably make a fiddle, or some ukes if it's sound enough, but I really doubt it. An archtop is not in the cards. You might get something larger using a flat cut piece, but, again, I really doubt it's in good enough shape.

Be aware that spores and possible toxins of the various fungi can be released when you work such wood.

Post Reply