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Soft Maple?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by stockdoct, Feb 7, 2009.

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  1. stockdoct

    stockdoct New Member

    Joined:
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    ilinois
    My wood supplier, a local tree service guy, is happy to sell me wood in any format. Split, stacked, and aged for $280 a cord, split and freshly cut for $150 a cord, or just-cut rounds for about $75 a cord (he'd just drive to my house after a local job and drop the rounds off)

    He even told me there are some woods he gets so little interest for firewood, like "soft maple", that he simply drives from the job directly to the local dump where he pitches the rounds to rot. He offers to drop it off at my place if I'd like for virtually free --- maybe $100 for gas money for a dump truck full (3-5 cords). I'm ready to buy a little bit of seasoned and a mix of the others and I'm intrigued about the soft maple.

    Is there any problems with soft maple? Bugs? Difficulty splitting? I'm sure the heat output is less than hardwoods, but that's OK, given the price.

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  2. jeff6443

    jeff6443 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
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    Loc:
    NJ South
    I ll take anything I barter with m tree servive guy no money
    Let it season
  3. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    Silver Spring, MD/ Munising, MI
    Soft maple typically means either red or silver maple. Red is denser but sometimes a little hard to split, silver is pretty light but splits quite easily. Both burn just fine. I wouldn't pay for either one, but then I don't pay for oak or locust either! If your options are oak rounds at $75/cord and red maple at $25/cord, I'd go with the maple.
  4. rydaddy

    rydaddy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
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    81
    Take it. It isn't going to burn like red oak, but it gets the job done.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    We burn a lot of soft maple here. Contrary to what DI said, I've never found soft maple to split hard at all. It splits very easy and can usually be split just with an axe.

    While I am splitting soft maple, when I get a nice straight piece with absolutely no knots, I make kindling from it. The reason for this is that it splits so easy, it burns so hot and fast and lights very easily. Therefore, excellent kindling.

    When cut green it has a lot of sap. If cut during winter then there isn't so much sap. If split and stacked it will dry very easy over one summer.

    One word of warning when making kindling, that is, if you do it like I do. I simply use the hydraulic splitter. It is extremely fast and easy. I sit while doing all my splitting so when making kindling I have one had on the lever all the time and the other hand places the log where needed. I will make about 1" splits, then take 2 or three of those to split the other direction in 1" spacing. That way I can make a big bunch of kindling in very little time. You can store this kindling right in the wood pile or keep it separate.

    In short, I would definitely take the soft maple!

    One other thing is that each time we load our stove we put in at least one soft maple on the bottom front. This gets the fire going quickly. In early fall and late spring we'll burn almost 100% soft maple.
  6. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    Count yourself lucky. The red maple yard trees I get out here in the 'burbs can be like, gnarly, dude. :coolsmile: A combination of knots and twisted grain. With the bigger trunk stuff I resort to the saw now and then.

    Which doesn't dissuade me and shouldn't the OP, since red maple has provided me more of a workout than say boring black locust or oak. :)
  7. jeanw

    jeanw Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    ky
    Is soft maple the same thing as we call 'dirty maple" ???? I did bring back the dogwood freebies and got some dirty maple from 3 house down. most of the damaged wood put to the curb has been maple or pine. I pass up the pine. I guess I could use it for "bottom" of my piles to keep the better stuff off ground.
    Back September .from that strong winds Sept 14 I tried to get as much from the curbs the Arististorat Pears. I was told it was good. I know its sure heavy.
    I burned all last years stuff before Xmas. Now using stuff from late spring.
    it so nice outside .think Ill take my little bicyle over grocery and get me a newspaper and some veggies
    Thanks all
    Jean
  8. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    Follow the link. (http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howood.htm). Basically anything not over 18 million btu is usually go-fur-wood. But if you have the time and you don't have a splitter I would look into buying a splitter and just buy the rounds. 10 cords will pay for the (one year return?) difference of the splitter and after that it's a savings. Buy some of the dense hard wood to get you through the hardest part of winter and use the lighter (cheaper) stuff for the shoulder seasons. You could go hog wild and split all the free wood you can get and sell it on a pick up only basis! (???) and actually see a return for your investment. Just remember it is work.
  9. cocey2002

    cocey2002 Member

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    Loc:
    Central PA
    I burn a lot of red maple. Love it. Splits easily and seasons fast. Not near oak but pretty darn good wood.
  10. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    If it's silver maple, it will split very easily, but it can also be infested with carpenter ants. It also seasons faster than a lot of woods. I'd say it's worth taking.
    He'd be burning gas to take it to the dump. It doesn't seem right that he's charging you for it.
  11. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I burn alot of silver maple as well and the big rounds are the best part!
  12. dvellone

    dvellone Feeling the Heat

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    Sep 21, 2006
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    449
    I've got a lot of red maple on my property and prefer not to put the work into it since for roughly the same amount of work I can heat with hard maple, beech or yellow birch. I can't avoid it entirely though so I use it during warmer periods or shoulder season. It just doesn't put out nearly the same heat or burn times as the other hardwoods I'm burning. Seems like less than cherry too. I've seen some older publications on hardwoods as fuel and red maple is often not even mentioned.
    Though I agree with other comments that if it's cheap or free you can't pass it up. It's somewhat relative too right? In areas of just softwoods red maple would probably have a greater value.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    You are just cutting in the wrong place. You need to get back to Michigan!
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