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We have a HUGE multi-trunked silver maple on our property that we need to cut down. There is so much wood in that tree -- we want to put to some good use if possible. So, far I've found little info that looks promising for this type of wood. We'd love to use it to make a big country kitchen table or for beams in a building, or something substantial if possible. Seems like silver maple has bad properties for things like this. Is there any hope of using it for something along these lines or should it end up in the woodpile?

The folks that tell you silver maple isn't good for anything usually WANT the wood for THEMSELVES – to burn in a fireplace!

Your tree is a "Soft maple" and it has three cousins: Red, Boxelder, and Bigleaf. Soft maple is commonly used for railroad ties, boxes, pallets, crates, furniture, veneer, wooden ware and novelties. The flesh of soft maple trees – in particular silver and red maple – resembles that of hard maple, but is not as heavy, hard or strong.

For the most part soft maple is very similar to hard maple. Generally the sapwood is grayish white with darker colored pith flecks. The heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. The wood is usually straight grained. It machines well and can be stained to an excellent finish. It glues, screws, and nails satisfactorily. Polishes well and is suitable for enamel finishes. Bottom line: It is about 25 percent less hard than hard maple and takes stain more readily than hard maple does so it is not a good idea to mix soft and hard maple in a tabletop, or to have three soft maple legs and one hard maple leg.

If some of that tree is bug eaten and scared from growth, that's actually the best wood to use for a table top. My advice don't stain the wood. Finish it with amber shellac and a (beeswax) paste wax! And if that tree has any sentimental value that makes any project sweeter.


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