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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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1/4 sawn Silver Maple

I have some 1/4 sawn Silver Maple . Will this work for necks ? Is it too soft ?

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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know. I would be kind of leery of it. I have a silver maple in my yard; I bought it because they grow really fast. And the one I have really has.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 11:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Too soft?

I think so. Silver maples are notoriously short lived trees that just don't live long enough to yield commercially valuable material.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 06:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Seagull acoustics uses Silver Leaf maple (same?) for some of their necks. (not inviting a discussion on if you like seagulls or not) I have one that I've gigged on pretty heavy for a year and haven't had any problems.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 08:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I had heard that about Seagull's . I have no idea what the parameters for commercially viable is . The tree that I got was 38" in diameter up to 11' . I am not concerned with the commercial end of it on this . My understanding on Silver Maple is that figuring is very rare in it and thus makes it less desirable for guitars than the other Maples . I am aware of it being among the softer Maples . Thanks for the input . I think that I am going to be taking an acoustic building class in June and some of it , a very small part , will be used for this . Most of it was cut 9/4 and up to 22" wide 1/4 sawn . I have a few blanks cut for Tele style bodies .
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Old April 21st, 2010, 09:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Silver maple is fantastic for making mulch for your yard. Beyond that....

Actually, some timber from silver maple can be okay, but on the whole it is both softer and more brittle than sugar maple. If it has nice figure it can be a great wood for veneers, sometimes for cabinetry, or other non-structural applications. Each piece of timber deserves to be judged on a case by case basis, but the best silver maple you're going to find might be as good as a lower grade piece of rock/sugar maple at best.

I wouldn't be motivated to use it for necks, as the wood itself isn't really the major investment in making a neck. Using wood just because you have it around can often end up being an unnecessary compromise simply out of convenience, and after all the effort and other materials invested in the neck be at risk of proving to be a wasted effort simply to save a few bucks on quality timber.

Silver maple can often have some very nice curl to it, probably at least as common as with rock maple, though not usually as tight. By the time these trees reach any decent size however, they are so often found rotted away in the center, and even if not, the heartwood can often have a dull, greyish hue to it. Spalting seems quite common as well, which I've never cared for myself.

If your silver maple boards have some exceptional figure and are deemed to be solid and stiff enough, I suppose I can see wanting to make something out of them. I would probably reserve their use for some other craft however, and stick with the more stiff and stable alternatives for guitar necks. Silver maple can be okay for acoustic back and sides, as many (including myself) actually prefer the tone of softer maples like western Big leaf here, and silver may work fine for this though I've never built with it personally.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 11:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Silver maple is fantastic for making mulch for your yard. Beyond that....
Silver Maple is one of my favorite maples for tonewoods that I've ever milled....

You see it all the time on Gibson archtop mandolins and guitars during the '30-'50s, and it can produce a striking figuring that is often confused with quilted Bigleaf when cut on the slab...
Bubbly and intense...

And it's weight makes it highly desirable in the world of violin making, especially for violas and cellos...

But...
I wouldn't use if for necks, as it tends to be soft and light in weight....
And good Acer saccharum is so-ooo readily available, so why risk it??

Luck!
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Old April 21st, 2010, 05:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Silver Maple is one of my favorite maples for tonewoods that I've ever milled....

You see it all the time on Gibson archtop mandolins and guitars during the '30-'50s, and it can produce a striking figuring that is often confused with quilted Bigleaf when cut on the slab...
Bubbly and intense...

And it's weight makes it highly desirable in the world of violin making, especially for violas and cellos...

But...
I wouldn't use if for necks, as it tends to be soft and light in weight....
And good Acer saccharum is so-ooo readily available, so why risk it??

Luck!
What do you mean by "it's weight makes it highly desirable in the Violin world" ? I have material here that would easily be wide enough for Cello's , I think .
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Old April 21st, 2010, 06:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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What do you mean by "it's weight makes it highly desirable in the Violin world" ?
Well, folks building violin family instruments want light-weight wood, and Silver is just about the lightest of the bunch...

I milled about 10 street trees back in the early 90's, and folks are still bugging me to get more...

Here's a '39 L5 sporting Silver Maple with the figuring that I was talking about:

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Old April 21st, 2010, 07:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, folks building violin family instruments want light-weight wood, and Silver is just about the lightest of the bunch...

I milled about 10 street trees back in the early 90's, and folks are still bugging me to get more...

Here's a '39 L5 sporting Silver Maple with the figuring that I was talking about:

That is really interesting looking . Almost looks like a culture on a petrie dish . I don't think mine is like that . I have a good bit from this one tree . Any help on how to get some of this into skilled/useful hands if it is good enough ?
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Old April 21st, 2010, 09:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Any help on how to get some of this into skilled/useful hands if it is good enough ?
Well, post some pics of the wood and I might be able to help you out...

Here's my website....

You might be able to get an idea from that--and other sites--what the wood is supposed to look like....
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Old April 21st, 2010, 10:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks tonewoods . Now , to start digging to the bottom of the pile . It has been drying and just tested it last week . It is at 8%. All rough cut from milling . You do have some gorgeous wood there . Can you see sufficiently with rough cut wood to get an idea ?
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 12:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Can you see sufficiently with rough cut wood to get an idea ?
Well-figured wood shows even through rough chainsaw or sawmill milling marks....

Got any pics??
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