The Wood

The woods I use are all harvested locally in the Adirondacks. Much of the wood I harvest myself and then have it milled and dried locally.

Tiger maple is a rare wood. It is not a species, it is a phenomenon. Biologists believe it occurs in certain woods, maple especially, due to stress on the tree. Tiger maple is used for special, usually high quality items, most notably the backs of fine violins and mandolins. The tiger maple used in the tap racks is very high quality hard tiger maple and came from a tree I harvested in the Chateaugay, NY area. I do not have much left. I also have some soft tiger maple on hand. The soft tiger maple or red maple is not as stunning, but still quite nice.

Spalted maple is maple that has actually started to decay (again, a phenomenon, not a species) . The black lines that form in the wood and contrast nicely with the light sapwood of maple are formed by a fungus that grows and spreads in the wood. This occurs after the tree has died and must be exposed to moisture. I make much of my own spalted maple by exposing the wood to the spores and leaving it exposed to moisture and the elements for over a year. Drying the wood stops further decay.

Brown maple refers to the brown color of the sapwood in maple. The older gnarly maples that are covered with burls and other anomalies tend to have more sap wood. The brown sap wood is similar to walnut and contrasts nicely with the light sapwood. The rough nature of the bark makes a phenomenal "live edge".

Cherry is an iconic Adirondack hardwood and prized for furniture making. It has a reddish hue and darkens nicely with age. Quarter-sawn oak is characterized by a uniquely squiggly or "rayed" grain pattern. This is done at the saw mill. The logs are quartered and boards are alternately sawn from the the quartered logs. This causes the unique grain patterns of the wood.

Yellow birch is a wood that just says "Adirondack". It is a uniquely northern hardwood and known more the golden color of the bark rather than the actual wood. The trees have a tendency to spread their roots and will grow on rocks, dirt mounds or stumps. When they take root on a usual location, their roots extend down over the obstacle into the soil making them perfect pedestals for tables.