Now that I’ve made several pieces from silver maple, I feel like I’m starting to understand its character. I compare it to a no-nonsense laborer who wears flashy underpants beneath his overalls. You know.
Based on what I’ve read recently, I can get to know this tree even better by baking. In EarthWise: American Indian Traditional Uses of Native Northeast Trees by E. Barrie Kavasch, the author quotes F.W. Waugh from 1916:
“The bark of the soft maple, Acer rubra, [Red Maple], and A. saccharinum [Silver Maple], is dried beside the fire, then pounded in the mortar, sifted, and made into bread; said not to taste badly… used also by neighboring Algonkin tribes, such as the Montagnais.”
Kaviasch adds that, “this practice is immortalized in the Iroquois word Adirondack which means ‘bark eaters.'”
Incidentally, I have been trying, slowly, to learn the art of bread making, so there’s something to try with the next fresh silver maple that comes my way. For now, I’ve got this silver maple bowl.
The above two shots of opposite corners show the difference in character found within this one log. Don’t be too quick to toss a bowl in progress if you encounter a knot or two. Most often, a tight knot is no problem. Just use very light cuts and a sharp tool for the final paring. If a small knot has a soft area, you can often save it by letting some simple liquid super-glue wick into it.
The dimensions are 16 1/4″ long, 7 3/4″ wide, and 4 3/8″ high. I’ll include a few more shots below. If you’re interested in purchasing this one, the price is $625 which includes insured shipping to you. Just email me at email@example.com. Update: SOLD