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is hard maple really that great?

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by mn woodcutter, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. svk

    svk A little bit of everything

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    +1

    I was cutting standing dead SM earlier this summer and although the wood was clean, sparks were flying and it was very heavy.
     
  2. haveawoody

    haveawoody Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Yeah Norway maple is just a bit less BTU than Sugar maple.
    Got to love splitting Norway maple though, looks and splits like Ash but heats like Ash and 1/2 :)

    I burnt quite a bit of Norway last winter on the very cold nights and was quite impressed with heat, burn time and coaling.
    As night blocks it happily burnt all night and pumped out lots of heat for easily 6hrs with some nice hot coals ready to go in the morning.
     
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  3. Wood Doctor

    Wood Doctor Edwin

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    Hard maple is good firewood. It's rare around here but what we do have must sit in the round for a few months before it can be split. The stuff is so mean when green that is stalls out 22-ton, 2-stage hydraulic splitters as if they were toys. Finally, after a full three months lying on their sides, the rounds cut to length can be split.

    I've also turned on the lathe some beautiful tool handles with it. They will last forever.
     
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  4. jwilly

    jwilly ArboristSite Operative

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    The hard maple firewood is going for pallet logs around here, the mill is paying $350/mbf for 10" firewood. It is in short supply.
     
  5. Whitespider

    Whitespider Lost in the 50s

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    Hard maple (Sugar Maple and its close cousin Black Maple) has never impressed me that much as a heating fuel... but it's surely one of the best for building a bed of coals for grilling/cooking over. In this area the Black Maple is more common, but drive an hour east and the Sugar Maple is. I've seen BTU charts that rate them the same, and others that rate one (could be either one depending on the chart) over the other... and, they will naturally hybridize which can make positive identification confusing. I burned 1½ cord of hard maple (believe it was Black) last winter... it was nowhere near the equal of the Bur Oak I burned.

    As firewood, or more specifically heating fuel, the conditions where it grows must have an impact... the hard maple I've cut 'round here is difficult to split and ain't anywhere near as heavy (or dense) as the various oaks after seasoning. Don't misunderstand me, I ain't sayin' it's bad or poor... just that I wouldn't consider comparing it to oak as a few others have in this thread.
    *
     
  6. haveawoody

    haveawoody Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Dito for hard maple.
    It's one of the best coaling woods around but IMO BTU just cant compete with firewood like Locust, Oak, hickory, hornbeam, rock elm, osage.
    Hard maple seems to be just a step down from that group of amazing firewood.
    Then again none of the above are exactly what anyone would call easy to light and hard maple is easy.

    I've found quite a variable for hard maple growing in good soil with good moisture it tends to be much softer with big growth rings.
    Growing on clay soil with little water it's wood is as tough as nails and small growth rings.
    Makes for quite a difference as firewood.
    Those slow growing tortured twisted trees of any species always tend to make the best firewood.
     
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  7. cheeves

    cheeves Tree Freak

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    I agree Buddy!! When I lived up there in Philips, ME it's all we burned. That and yellow birch!
    Great firewood!! And silver and red maple grown in this sandy soil down here isn't bad at all!!
     
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  8. mainewoods

    mainewoods Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If you don't have the time or space, to be a year or two ahead with your firewood, then maple is a very good choice. If you have the time and space, oak is an even better choice.
     
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  9. ppkgmsy

    ppkgmsy ArboristSite Operative

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    Great post. An excellent description of those 3 classic firewoods in New England.
     
  10. 513yj

    513yj ArboristSite Operative

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    I burn mostly hard maple and American beech and both are excellent firewood and also plentiful around here. I reserve the little oak I can get along with my ironwood for the brutal cold nights but they don't make it warmer in the house they just lengthen the refill time.
     
  11. AIM

    AIM Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I agree with both opinions. Soft maple does get a bad rep. The little trick I learned about soft is to get it cut and split pretty quick and burn WITHIN a year.
     
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  12. haveawoody

    haveawoody Addicted to ArboristSite

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    AIM,

    I think soft maple in northern regions is just a much better firewood than in southern regions.
    Silver and Red for me at least are pretty decent firewood.
    Not like burning one of the few amazing firewood types but soft maple goes long into the shoulder season with big chunks burning for about 70% the time of a big chunk of amazing firewood does.

    I think you would find the same thing with hard maple, in northern regions a much more dense wood than southern regions.
    Now if we could only hybrid Osage Orange and grow it in our climate I bet we would really have some tough wood LOL

    It's possible to grow Osage here in southern Ontario but a nasty winter like last years and it's gone.
     
  13. Jeremy102579

    Jeremy102579 ArboristSite Operative

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    How long will soft maple last if it is split and stacked off ground in sun ?
     
  14. stihly dan

    stihly dan Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Personal experience says more than 5 years.
     
  15. Marine5068

    Marine5068 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I've got tons of softer Silver Maple to split and stack this year.
    About four cords of it actually. It all came from three trees, but these were huge trees. One was over 34" in diameter and 70 feet tall. and two others were no slouches either.
    Friend of mine wanted his cottage lot cleared and we took down some 200 trees. Most were in the 8-10" diameter range but a few were big...real big.
    I also have rounds from a large Poplar and Butternut from there to split and stack as well.
    And I cut, split and stacked a large White Paper Birch that came from the site too.
    I also got some smaller Green Ash and Elm.
    Good thing is that the site has lots more to be cut and it's only five minute drive from my place.
     
  16. KindredSpiritzz

    KindredSpiritzz ArboristSite Operative

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    Im a dummy. I forgot i had some bass wood mixed in with the sugar maple i cut last year. The bass wood was the stuff that was all punky. I'll never cut that crap again, worse than pine. The sugar maple in the mix was beautiful.
     
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  17. benp

    benp Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Give me pine any day over bass wood. Heck even good popple and I cannot believe that i admitted that out loud.
     
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  18. Johnny Yooper

    Johnny Yooper ArboristSite Operative

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    One of the best species there is in the upper Midwest, period. Beginning when I was old enough to walk but too young to run a saw, I helped my Dad cut firewood in the U.P.; that went on for the better part of two decades. The only maple he would take was hard maple, absolutely no soft maple no matter how handy it was. Junk wood, he would always say. And when I got old enough to run the saw, I got some quick lessons in telling the difference. Of course, if we had to practically trip over a yellow birch, ironwood, or black cherry to get at a hard maple, well, those would get whacked too. Nothing against oak, there just ain't any in his woods. 90% of the maples I have in my woodlot here in Wis. are soft maples; I have an OWB, heat the house, shop, and burn year round (heating hot water) so I take whatever is handy and not punky, and yes that means a lot of soft maple, but I've been granted forgiveness. It's like cigars: smoke 'em if you got 'em.

    If you have access to hard maple, never ever turn it down.
     
  19. James Rafetto

    James Rafetto New Member

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    I have found hard "rock" or sugar maple maple to light easily and to burn hot but I have not found it to coal as well as most other hard wood species used for wood burning. I have a charmaster wood burning furnace where the air comes over the wood not under the wood and woods that coal well like Oak and black locust form charcoal like coals that last long into the night and sometimes into the AM. The hard "rock" maple burns out somewhat quickly after burning hot and gets reduced to fine ashes without coals so the stove cools quickly. That may be a desirable trait if one likes it cool during the night but I prefer waking up with warm walls and floors! Please understand that norway maple is barely a hard wood and loses a lot of weight when dry and is easy to split where true rock maple / sugar maple remains quite heavy and is often quite hard to split by hand.
     
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  20. johnnyballs

    johnnyballs ArboristSite Operative

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    welcome to AS...
     

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