What is Ambrosia Maple?

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Forum topic by fisherdoug09 posted 10-17-2012 04:54 PM 7320 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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122 posts in 2700 days

10-17-2012 04:54 PM

Hi fellow Lumberjocks, a question, about Ambrosia Maple. I live in western Montana and have a very limited source of hardwood suppliers. I have seen over time many of you have made wood projects from Ambrosia Maple. I asked my local hardwood dealer about this and he has never heard of it. Is there another name for this wood? Its a beautiful wood and I would like to find a source for it. Thanks Doug

26 replies so far

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Bill White

4948 posts in 3986 days

#1 posted 10-17-2012 04:59 PM

As I understand it, the maple is “infected” by the ambrosia beetle which causes the coloring in the wood.
Hope this helps. Might wanna Google to get a more definitive answer.


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2202 posts in 3184 days

#2 posted 10-17-2012 05:00 PM

It’s maple that is affected by the ambrosia beetle once the tree is dying or dead. It leaves unique looking tunnels/figure in maple. The beetle affects other woods too, but people are most attracted to the maple.

-- jay,

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2873 posts in 2540 days

#3 posted 10-17-2012 05:03 PM

Never heard it called anything but Ambrosia maple. Pretty common here in the South. Just a beautiful wood.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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2202 posts in 3184 days

#4 posted 10-17-2012 05:03 PM

BTW, you see more and more luthiers using it for their guitars, like in this back and side set here…

It’s kinda pretty when finished up.

-- jay,

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2202 posts in 3184 days

#5 posted 10-17-2012 05:06 PM

Yep,I know that some species of the ambrosia attack walnut and oak as well. I’m sure there are others. Maple is the common, pretty one.

-- jay,

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16275 posts in 4243 days

#6 posted 10-17-2012 07:07 PM

Another example:

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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2202 posts in 3184 days

#7 posted 10-17-2012 07:08 PM

Gorgeous, Charlie!

-- jay,

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1850 posts in 3012 days

#8 posted 10-17-2012 07:26 PM

My local sawmill calls it wormy maple. Most ambrosia maple around here comes from Silver Maple. I have seen it in Sugar Maple and Sycamore too.
The discoloration is caused by ambrosia fungi which is carried by the ambrosia beetle.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

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17425 posts in 3031 days

#9 posted 10-17-2012 08:45 PM

Ive heard it called wormy maple up here in new england as well. Great to work with and if you can find curly ambrosia maple its amazing looking.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

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1747 posts in 2501 days

#10 posted 10-18-2012 02:34 AM

I think that it is very beautiful. All the work of a little beetle and a hitchhiking fungus!

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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2828 posts in 3310 days

#11 posted 10-18-2012 12:15 PM

Another example of wormy maple (Ambrosia Maple).

-- John @

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2202 posts in 3184 days

#12 posted 10-18-2012 12:42 PM

Awesome box, John!

-- jay,

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4765 posts in 2376 days

#13 posted 10-18-2012 12:43 PM

Here is a quote from Wikipedia on the subject.

“Ambrosia beetles are beetles of the weevil subfamilies Scolytinae and Platypodinae (Coleoptera, Curculionidae), which live in nutritional symbiosis with ambrosia fungi and probably with bacteria. The beetles excavate tunnels in dead trees in which they cultivate fungal gardens, their sole source of nutrition. After landing on a suitable tree, an ambrosia beetle excavates a tunnel in which it releases spores of its fungal symbiont. The fungus penetrates the plant’s xylem tissue, digests it, and concentrates the nutrients on and near the surface of the beetle gallery. The majority of ambrosia beetles colonize xylem (sapwood and/or heartwood) of dying or recently dead trees. Species differ in their preference for different parts of trees, different stages of deterioration, in the shape of their tunnels (“galleries”).

So Ambrosia maple is wood from a tree that has had fungus introduced by the Ambrosia beetle, it creates a very striking and random patterns in the wood. Beautiful stuff.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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2828 posts in 3310 days

#14 posted 10-18-2012 12:46 PM

Thanks Jay,

it’s actually a full size chest. I got the idea while making a band saw box one day.

-- John @

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3379 posts in 3110 days

#15 posted 10-18-2012 02:14 PM

Have you tried Superior Hardwood, just before you get to Missoula on the south side of hwy 93? They have
a pretty good selection and are very knowledgeable. If you need special wood, they can order it. A friend
just got a good selection of long mahogany boards in to redo a Chris Craft he is restoring. Hope you are having
fun with your fishing, and that the smoke is finally gone from your valley for the year.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

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