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Birch Ash and Maple

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Forum topic by drpdrp posted 04-24-2014 02:44 AM 750 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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drpdrp

150 posts in 712 days


04-24-2014 02:44 AM

How to tell the difference?


11 replies so far

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

301 posts in 187 days


#1 posted 04-24-2014 03:38 AM

I’ll give this one a shot. Birch and maple are harder to tell apart than them and ash. Ash is open-grained while maple and birch are closed-grained. Some say the grain of ash looks similar to the grain of oak. Judge for yourself. Check out some of these examples of ash :

http://www.rarewoodsandveneers.com/pages/specimens/rarewoods/rarewood31.htm

Maple and Birch tend to be similar in color, in my opinion. Maple generally has a more pronounced grain, I think, and can have a wide variety of grain patterns. Examples of maple :

http://www.rarewoodsandveneers.com/pages/specimens/rarewoods/rarewood04.htm
and
http://www.rarewoodsandveneers.com/pages/specimens/rarewoods/rarewood03.htm

Examples of birch :

http://www.rarewoodsandveneers.com/pages/specimens/rarewoods/rarewood10.htm
and
http://www.rarewoodsandveneers.com/pages/specimens/rarewoods/rarewood11.htm

I hope this helps.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

495 posts in 1197 days


#2 posted 04-24-2014 03:58 AM

Also, when quartersawn, maple has small but distinctive ray flecks whereas birch does not.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

363 posts in 1483 days


#3 posted 04-24-2014 10:10 AM

Birch also has a wintergreen, minty smell when worked, while maple does not have much of a smell. But as suggested, they are hard to tell apart. Around here, hardwood floors in older houses are all generally a mix of birch and maple – they’re so hard to tell apart they were used interchangeably.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Tedster's profile

Tedster

2271 posts in 877 days


#4 posted 04-24-2014 12:06 PM

Ash doesn’t look at all like birch or maple, ash looks similar to white oak.

-- I support the 28th Amendment. http://www.wolf-pac.com/28th

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WDHLT15

1142 posts in 1142 days


#5 posted 04-25-2014 02:19 AM

Ash is ring porous.

Birch and maple are diffuse porous and very different from ash. Night and day different.

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

View drpdrp's profile

drpdrp

150 posts in 712 days


#6 posted 04-27-2014 09:47 AM

You guys gotta remember I am just a sapling and half of that made no sense to me! (woodworking joke!)

So… I thought I had used ash for this sword- you guys have me wondering:

https://dickle.shutterfly.com/pictures/1852

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

495 posts in 1197 days


#7 posted 04-27-2014 06:57 PM

Hard to tell from that pic, but the block the hilt of the sword is resting on looks like ash.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1377 posts in 849 days


#8 posted 04-27-2014 08:03 PM

Birch has longer grain that’s more splintery when working it, compared to maple.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View EPJartisan's profile

EPJartisan

1060 posts in 1791 days


#9 posted 04-29-2014 04:11 AM

looks like Maple to me…. the handle of your sword shows some exposed Parychema cells and the grain is rather tight. Parychema cells are like tubes that allow fluid and nutrients to flow between other cells (rays in quarter sawn white oak), i believe almost all angiosperms have them, but not visible in all species… i think they are too small in birch and i find birch to have less distinct grain. i think ash has them, but ash has distinct open cell in the early wood and dense hard layers in the late wood… this is why ash is great for baseball bats.. the combo allows the wood to “spring”... so over all i’d say you have a maple sword. :)

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View drpdrp's profile

drpdrp

150 posts in 712 days


#10 posted 04-29-2014 08:11 AM

Thanks EP. I need to get out there and take a picture of the stock I cut the blade out of and post a better pic for you guys…

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

363 posts in 1483 days


#11 posted 04-29-2014 07:47 PM

Looks like maple or birch to me, rather than ash. But a close picture of the end grain will settle it.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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