Around here, Manitoba Maple (or Box Elder if you prefer the fancier name) is considered a weed tree. It grows very quickly so it produces shade in a short time. Unfortunately, it isn't very strong, and heavy parts tend to fall off regularly; particularly if your car is parked under it.
However, MM does have a couple of redeeming features. It is the one wood here which can have red in it and it is very easy to carve (someone once compared it to carving medium cheddar).
The piece shown here was cut from a neighbour's tree which had been removed after blowing down. The trunk was a mass of small burls and epicormic growths but I was able to cut a slab off the side and carve it into a wall sculpture.
The outside edges of the piece are exactly as it came from the tree; I simply refined, sanded and polished the surface. A minister friend pointed out that the overall shape and the red centre gave it a "tree of life" appearance.
That's what I love about this work; for all the sawdust and disappointment, there is the occasional "wow" moment.