Too good for firewood

  • Active since 1995, is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.


Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
Jul 11, 2008
Northern NH
When I dropped some trees earlier this year I had a few long logs that looked too good and I had my one and only large red oak dropped recently that yielded a couple of logs. My friend has a bandsaw mill we sawed them up into 5/4 boards. The oak and the birch yielded nearly knot free wide boards. The maples, not so much, they definitely have "character" with plenty of defects but solid wood. I do not have kiln so they will air dry until I have need for them. The red oak was leaning over a road and had "tension" in the wood, when we cut them, there were no splits but by the time I stacked the boards the next day I saw some splits. I had anchorsealed (waxed) all the logs so the boards have wax on the cut ends which usually reduces shrinkage cracks but tension cracks are just part of the game. I may get fancy and put in another roof like the stack out back.

Still quite a stack of wood from five logs.
Too good for firewood
Could you get photos of a few of the maple boards
I am interested in what you call character
years as a furniture teck (cabinet maker) so maybe what you have we would call
Figured Maple
It is definitely not figured maple, I have a small stash of tiger, curly and birdseye in stock. This is mostly dark stains and grown in dark knots and healed up internal defects. Its very white wood so the dark stains are very obvious. I was surprised I did not find any healed in tap holes as the former owner did sugar on the lot. Its a sugar maple.

BTW my figured maple came from a former Ethan Allen sawmill in Andover Maine (Andover Wood products). They regarded figured wood as a defect and the sawyer would divert it to the boiler fuel pile. The sawyer was a Canadian guy who played the spoons and carved his own so he would grab a board or two of figured wood and haul it home and put it in his chicken coup. He got sick of people asking to buy his handcarved spoons so he sold me the pile. I dont have lot of it but have made some inserts that I put in my kayak hull.

As you know, figured wood can be bear to process so from Ethan Allen's point of view it was more likely to make defects in their batch production method.

I do have a tree in my yard that was a twin of another red maple that I found had deep curl/tiger when I was cutting it up for firewood as its crown was damaged during an ice storm. The twin is still alive and a plow guy hit it once and revealed signs of curl so that one will get cut carefully and sawn into boards someday.
Yes figured Maple is a bear to work with because the grain swirls
What you have sounds like it would make very interesting tabletops
and in that way, no 2 would be the same
I expect book matching some of the defects would yield some nice patterns. Unless I want to spend 25K on a vacuum dryer it will be a year or so before I worry about it.

I converted my jointer to a carbide insert head so it can handle figure but I have to be real careful with my planer as it has straight blades. The carbide head for the planer is more than what I paid for the planer 20 years ago.
I get the opposite problem. People take the “too good” logs and I end up making firewood out of the crooked, knotty, twisted logs that are left over.
I get the opposite problem. People take the “too good” logs and I end up making firewood out of the crooked, knotty, twisted logs that are left over.
We use the twisted knotty logs that the mill won't take
Prefer to make the nice straight logs into select or better lumber