After taking a crack at a variety of wood I’ve come to the conclusion that my favorite is Douglas (or Rocky Mountain maple). I was mistakenly calling this vine maple for a long time. There are some similarities. Both have smaller leaves than our big leaf maple. Vine maple and Douglas maple both have multiple trunks but Douglas maple gets a lot bigger though not even close to the size of a big leaf maple. I prefer the Douglas maple over the big leaf maple because the wood is more interesting. Douglas is two toned with a light and dark and it’s possible to design a spoon that is half and half.
Here’s a couple examples of spoons carved to show both colors.
(The big leaf maple and another maple we have around here, the water maple, seem to be one color unless some spalting has started.
Douglas maple is a very hard, dense wood. Native Americans carved it into snowshoe frames, bows, drum hoops and ceremonial pieces. Shoots and seedlings can be eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. The tree can be sugared and will produce a lot of sap. You can find a Youtube video of a guy collecting sap from a Douglas.
So, I’m on the hunt for Douglas maple. We took one down at our place and it’s provide me with lots of spoons. If you know of one that’s coming down or that could sacrifice a limb, let me know.