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Thread: Grade log maples-use for sap or save for the mill?

  1. #1
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    Default Grade log maples-use for sap or save for the mill?

    I have a slight dilemma here. I have opened up more woods for sap harvest, but several Of the trees Iím pretty sure would make grade. Most are in the 20 to 28 inch DBH rangeTall and straight. Is it more economical to harvest the log or does maple not bring enough?
    Now I have an outdoor hobby for all 12 months. Like I need anything more to do
    500+ taps on gravity tubing, MicRO2 RO, 2.5 X 8 Leader King, and a 1953 Willys Jeep to run around the maple woods with.
    http://www.gihringfamilyfarm.com/

  2. #2
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    Certainly a common problem many of us have! As a logger and an arborist, it certainly hurts putting taps into beautiful sawlogs. At the end of the day, I've always gone with my heart and I love making syrup. If these trees are in your sugar bush and easy access for tubing, I personally would tap them. If there in a section that doesn't have a lot of taps and you can do a commercial thinning in that section to take 50-100 plus trees out then I might consider that. Remember you'll only get to enjoy that sugar maple once, when the log check arrives, if you cut it down. If you decide to tap it, you can get a lifetime of enjoyment out of it and potentially the next several generations as well.
    Harding Hill Farm
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  3. #3
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    I would tap them. There is a small market for "tap hole" maple lumber. Only the bottom log will be affected and the upper logs should still be good for grade lumber.
    Russ

    "Red Roof Maples" Where the term "boiling soda" was first introduced to the maple producing world!

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  4. #4
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    Being both a sawyer and a maple producer I would judge each tree individually. If you need thinning, by all means log the best ones but only if there is not a lower grade tree of good tapping size nearby. You can likely harvest some and keep some depending on the nearby trees. Clear sugar maple logs have good value. It would take a lot of maple seasons to come close to the value of that log, if ever. While taphole lumber is gaining popularity, it still has less value than a slicer grade log (for making top end plywood). You would be wise to use a forester who deals with sugar bushes.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, doing fewer each year, about 450 planned for 2020 (and after?)
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  5. #5
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    There are so many variables here that are unstated and make it hard to advise you. Are these new never tapped trees? Assuming they are then any good grade log should be at least 16 DBH. Drilling a hole in that log will create a stain where the tap hole is, but only vertically. One or two won't matter, but many will. Some of the inner boards will still be clear. Tapped maple still has value, but the butt log (most valuable) is damaged and will sell for less. Still not a lot less. If it's new woods I would set aside my best trees for logs. These should be straight and clear for at least a 16 foot log. For me I would start at 18" DBH as timber trees, anything smaller consider for tapping. Next you need to know how Maple cuts in your area and even your woods. A lot of maple will show mineral or natural staining. If you know it cuts clear and white then you have premium logs. I see a lot of maples with bad hearts. If you don't know then sell a few and see how they cut. I faced this when I first started tapping my woods and I saved the prime trees for logs. Later I sold some timber and discovered very few of my maples cut clean and clear. So now I save them but they get tapped. when you consider the value of syrup against the lost value of the log on questionable grade logs then it evens out in my opinion. I leave all my crooked and lower grade maples for tapping and when I feel like I've got my best value I use them as thinning trees and firewood.
    100 -110 taps
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sugaringman85 View Post
    Certainly a common problem many of us have! As a logger and an arborist, it certainly hurts putting taps into beautiful sawlogs. At the end of the day, I've always gone with my heart and I love making syrup. If these trees are in your sugar bush and easy access for tubing, I personally would tap them. If there in a section that doesn't have a lot of taps and you can do a commercial thinning in that section to take 50-100 plus trees out then I might consider that. Remember you'll only get to enjoy that sugar maple once, when the log check arrives, if you cut it down. If you decide to tap it, you can get a lifetime of enjoyment out of it and potentially the next several generations as well.
    I really relate to what you said here. And all the trees I'm talking about are right in line with the tubing - very easy access. And I would imagine we'll be making syrup here at least until I'm unable - hopefully another 40 years if the Lord wills - and then the kids and grandkids after that.
    Now I have an outdoor hobby for all 12 months. Like I need anything more to do
    500+ taps on gravity tubing, MicRO2 RO, 2.5 X 8 Leader King, and a 1953 Willys Jeep to run around the maple woods with.
    http://www.gihringfamilyfarm.com/

  7. #7
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    I'm sure glad most of our trees are "no-brainers." While we have quite a few large trees, most have obvious defects that would take them out of the select or prime category. And I would imagine I've probably already made more off those trees than what they would bring at the mill.
    Now I have an outdoor hobby for all 12 months. Like I need anything more to do
    500+ taps on gravity tubing, MicRO2 RO, 2.5 X 8 Leader King, and a 1953 Willys Jeep to run around the maple woods with.
    http://www.gihringfamilyfarm.com/

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