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Brown maple?

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 338 days ago 939 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Charlie

1001 posts in 871 days


338 days ago

I had not heard of this before. I have a local supplier that has “white maple” and “brown” maple. The brown maple is less expensive. Is this just from a different part of the same tree or is this 2 different species of maple?

I’m assuming, because of the difference in price, that the brown maple is somehow less desirable? Or just more plentiful? Softer than white maple?


24 replies so far

View barlow's profile

barlow

129 posts in 2325 days


#1 posted 338 days ago

Brown Maple is from closer to the heart of the log, basically heart wood. The sap wood is the white which is the outside of the log. Brown maple is much harder to dry and tends to crack much more and much more easily. Otherwise it is exactly the same thing, as some would be from the same log as the white would be. Soil content can also affect the tree to where it may have very little sap wood and mostly brown if it is growing in a high iron content soil. Brown maple will come in all grades from 3A on up to Select, it is more common in the 2A and 3A grades do to being cut from the lower grade of the heart of the tree. Some mills will not pull the upper grades of brown and will just down grade it to a number 2 and ship it off to a flooring mill due to the lack of demand for the upper grades in brown opposed to white.

-- barlow

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2824 posts in 834 days


#2 posted 338 days ago

I love brown maple. If you get the right piece it almost looks like marble

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View mporter's profile

mporter

214 posts in 1163 days


#3 posted 338 days ago

The heartwood of maple is definantly not brown. Nor would the heartwood pf a tree crack more easily than the sapwood of the tree. It does have to do with the soil composition and tree species.

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1001 posts in 871 days


#4 posted 338 days ago

The supplier is a custom millwork place. They have (so far) tended to have the higher grades of wood. The brown maple is $2.20/bd ft. The white maple is $2.75/bd ft (in 50 b ft quantities.. lower for 100 bd ft)

View treaterryan's profile

treaterryan

109 posts in 872 days


#5 posted 338 days ago

I found this on the web, off of a furniture maker’s website:

Brown Maple
Brown Maple is the “heart wood” (wood towards the center of a tree) of various soft maple trees and not a specific species of tree. As it’s from the center of the tree, it tends to run a range of colors from light to beige to medium brown. Brown Maple is a smooth wood often used for painting or for darker dye stains such as Onyx. Brown Maple hardness varies, but it is in the same range as Cherry (2 on a scale of 1 to 5).

-- Ryan - Bethel Park, PA

View barlow's profile

barlow

129 posts in 2325 days


#6 posted 338 days ago

Brown maple is any heartwood of either soft or hard. Hard maple brown is mostly brown and tan with mineral pockets scattered throughout. Soft maple brown ranges in color from pink to green to brown and tan. It is MUCH harder to dry than the sap wood and does crack a lot more than the sap wood. The hardness is still the same as either of the species it came from.

-- barlow

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

684 posts in 1543 days


#7 posted 338 days ago

I’ve sawn up thousands of board feet of “big leaf” maple, known to be a soft version; heartwood definitely colored anywhere from gold to nut brown as sawn, tends to turn all gold (varied colors) when drying. The sapwood will color too, but not as much. Really depends on how long it sits for, I like to get it coloring/spalting before I cut it. Heartwood will tend to split along the centers of the cut (pith), sapwood tends to split along the outer edge and down into the tree. Never heard it called “brown maple”, but it does make sense.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View mporter's profile

mporter

214 posts in 1163 days


#8 posted 337 days ago

Then someone tell me how I can buy a 12 inch wide pure white maple board??? If the white is the sapwood that mean that almost all of the tree is sapwood.
The way I learned it was that maple has a heartwood the same color as its sapwood. A Species like walnut has a heartwood much darker than its sapwood.

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1058 posts in 1061 days


#9 posted 337 days ago

Heartwood in maple is not the same color as sapwood. The heartwood is wood that is no longer functioning to transport water to the crown. It is also a place where the tree dumps stuff that it does not need like extractives and such. Since the heartwood forms in the center of the tree, and the center of the tree was when the tree was young, this wood is called juvenile wood and has shorter wood cells, the wood cell walls are thinner, there is less cellulose in the cell walls, the angle of the cellulose chains in the cell walls is different, and the wood near the center of the tree is less stable, prone to more shrinkage, and definitely cracks and splits more than the mature wood on the outside of the tree, especially at the pith.

We have mostly red maple around here in central GA, and it has a blue-greenish colored heartwood. Very pretty like has been previously described. I have sawn and dried an lot of it. One of my very favorite woods to work with. Although it is called “soft” maple, it is not “soft”, having about the same density as walnut and ash, even denser than cherry. It is in fact a “medium hard” hardwood. Sugar maple is denser, and is one of the “harder” hardwoods.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View mporter's profile

mporter

214 posts in 1163 days


#10 posted 337 days ago

WDHLT15,
OK, wood does not form in the center of the tree- It forms from the cambium in on the outside of the tree. The oldest wood in the tree in closest to the center. Juvenille wood is sapwood. I have a degree in forestry and have taken every wood chemistry and compisition class I could take and I believe everything you said in that first paragraph is wrong. But then again, what does it matter? It doesn’t, keep cutting done maples and think whatever you want. I will think what I believe and at the end of the day that maple will still end up in one of our projects.

View UpstateNYdude's profile

UpstateNYdude

413 posts in 568 days


#11 posted 337 days ago

Mporter – I think you might want to read WDHLT15’s post a little closer…

wood does not form in the center of the treeSince the heartwood forms in the center of the tree

Juvenille wood is sapwoodand the center of the tree was when the tree was young, this wood is called juvenile wood and has shorter wood cells

Not trying to be a jerk, but instead of boasting about a forestry degree, try using some of those english electives and practice thorough reading before downing someone else’s comments.

-- Nick, “Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime's work, but it's worth the effort.” ― Fred Rogers, Be My Neighbor

View barlow's profile

barlow

129 posts in 2325 days


#12 posted 337 days ago

Yes you can buy white maple 12” and wider (We have a package in the warehouse right now of number 1 white hard maple 10” and wider, being number 1 white it is white all 4 sides with only a very small amount of brown in the center of the backside allowed. This is not a case of how the trees go but one of the lumber grading/sorting aspect. Saw log grade maples especially the 4sc and veneer tend to have a heart the size of a golf ball. The bigger the log with the smaller the heart the more white that will be sawn which in turns means better money for the mill. On a log with a very tight pith/heart as previously described, the mill will send the cant on the resaw run around until nothing is left. On a lower grade saw log such as a 2sc or just 8’ saw bolts, the heart may be bigger/more brown, and the pith may wander more through the log yielding less of the desired white material and more lower grade and brown colored material from closer to the heart. In most cases in the mill the resaw will run around the cant until it reaches a determined sizes of usually 4×6 (pallet cant) or a 7×9 cross tie if all the faces have been sawn down to there last marketable value of grade lumber.

-- barlow

View mporter's profile

mporter

214 posts in 1163 days


#13 posted 337 days ago

Jesus Christ, I wasn’t trying to down someone comments. And I believe if you would read that post again, you would get confused on how he worded it too.

View UpstateNYdude's profile

UpstateNYdude

413 posts in 568 days


#14 posted 337 days ago

I read it again and still makes sense, but regardless I’m not looking to battle with you especially over the internet I just thought you came in to troll like so many others enjoy doing.

I apologize if I came across as a dick…sorry

-- Nick, “Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime's work, but it's worth the effort.” ― Fred Rogers, Be My Neighbor

View mporter's profile

mporter

214 posts in 1163 days


#15 posted 337 days ago

Oh I am not trying to battle with anyone either. I apologize to everyone on this thread. I am just a huge wood nerd trying to learn something new. If maple is almost all sapwood-then that is something that I didn’t know.

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